• “I heard that your event was an unbridled success. Mazal Tov!”
  • “Kol hakavod! It was absolutely an amazing evening! May you continue to inspire Klal Yisrael.”
  • “The crowd was just so impressive. You have struck a cord in Anglo-Israeli community.”
  • “If I can only succeed in implementing the advice of a most educational, encouraging and uplifting evening.”
  • “Looking forward to a fruitful year of parenting until next year’s lecture!”
Rabbi Zeff Leff, Dr. Ronald Wachtel & Dr. David Pelcovitz

Rabbi Zeff Leff, Dr. Ronald Wachtel & Dr. David Pelcovitz

These are just a few of the many reactions to our 7th Annual Kav L’Noar Conference on Promoting Healthy Family Relationships  that participants shared after they joined a standing room only audience of over 500 men and women on Monday evening, January 17, 2011 at The Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. The conference, entitled Empowering Solutions for Today’s Parents, represented Kav L’Noar’s annual yahrzeit lecture dedicated to the memory of Chezi Goldberg, HY”D. Our featured speakers included Rabbi Zev Leff, Chairman of Kav L’Noar’s Rabbinical Advisory Committee and respected talmid chacham and Dr. David Pelcovitz, Professor of Education and Psychology at Yeshiva University and a member of Kav L’Noar’s Consulting Board who has served annually as our yahrzeit lecturer.

(The following paragraphs are excerpted from an ar­ticle written by Sharon Katz, Publisher of Voices Magazine, which provide highlights of our speaker’s presentations.)

image: Rabbi Zev Leff

Rabbi Zev Leff

Rabbi Leff told parents that although people are always looking for simple and quick solutions, “life is complicated and it’s supposed to be. G-d wanted us to earn our olam haba (world to come) by being committed an putting in effort.…………. Every child is a world to himself and the way you relate to one child is different from the way you to relate to others……… Have great expectations but deal with the reality that is. Don’t push a child to the point where you’ll push him over the cliff……. We have to teach a child who he/she is or isn’t. A child without an identity is off the derech (path) to begin with because he/she has no derech. You can’t make everyone the same…..The biggest bracha you can give a child is teaching him what his talents are and what they are not (what they shouldn’t strive for).”

image: Dr. David Pelcovitz

Dr. David Pelcovitz

Dr. Pelcovitz agreed. Parents must try “to find each child’s unique voice. The power of every parent lies in the ability to bring out this unique song in their children…….. It is very important to accept, acknowledge, love and feel gratitude for your children’s differences.” Dr. Pelcovitz cited Rav Yerucham Levovitz who said: “If you give a bracha to your child, and it’s based on what you want, it’s like taking a watering can and watering a plot of earth with no seeds. In order for a bracha to take hold, there has to be a match between your dreams and wishes for your child and his abilities and potential.”

Dr. Pelcovitz also discussed the fact that kids need face-to-face time with their parens. Number one, he noted, “Avoid the email voice…………. Part of the disease of our generation is that we are at the mercy of our cell phone, blackberries and technological interruptions. When you talk to your children, they can tell from your email voice if you are reading your messages and not concentrating on them.”

While identifying warning signs of at-risk behavior, Dr. Pelcovitz told parents that they must differentiate between normal adolescence – distance from parents, being embarrassed by being with parents – and real problems. “If for the most part, your child is able to connect and be with you despite your conflicts, if what dominates is the ability to communicate with you, then there’s less to worry about. If there’s a major change in your child’s taste of music and clothing, if he’s hanging out with different kids, if he’s sleeping more, asking him/her what’s going on. Call the monster what it is. Then get help if you need it from professionals like Kav L’Noar.”

Most important, Dr. Pelcovitz said, “hold on to them. Eventually they will come back. The key to bringing back an at-risk child is that you never stop holding his hand.”

* * * *

Kav L’Noar would like to thank Board member Norman Blaustein for serving as Event Coordinator whose leadership assured the smooth running of every aspect of the program. Thanks also to Vicky Mannis, Board Co-Chairman and to Board member Lizzie Rubin for assembling a wonderful group of volunteers who registered all of our guests, to Gail Bodenstein (and her many volunteers) for serving as Community Coordinator and to Board member Marlene Werner for coordinating the sale of Kav L’Noar’s raffle tickets. We would also like to thank Harvey Douglen, Ramada Hotel Owner/Manager for all of his assistance in making the program a success. Last, but certainly not least, a special yasher koach to Sharon Feifer, Kav L’Noar’s Office Manaager, who shouldered much of the administrative responsibility and behind-the-scenes activity.