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Getting Closer – The Turnout with Photos

By Devorah Ascher



The moment that many had been waiting for, the second official event! Married women came together to hear Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, a respected psychologist who works with married couples on their quest to healthy intimacy. Rabbi Schonbuch’s new book, “Getting Closer”, brings up many issues that are common in Orthodox couples and he addressed some of them at the lecture.

Joined with Rabbi Schonbuch was his colleague, Dr. Rivkah Friedman, a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health and has helped many using pelvic floor therapy and other types of treatment for various issues that affect women. After the lecture, women had the opportunity to ask questions to both speakers, regarding their professional experiences in dealing with different topics and issues.

The event took place in the home of the Gutnick residence. Officiating the event, was Mrs. Fraidy Yanover, along with the founder of, Bracha Bard-Wigdor. “50 women showed up at the event itself and 58 women were signed into the live webinar, watching the lecture from all over the world, many whom were Shluchos! We got amazing feedback via anonymous surveys from the attendees…I couldn’t be happier with the turnout,” said Bracha. Three of Rabbi Schonbuch’s books were raffled off at the end of the night and healthy refreshments were served. After the lecture, forum members got to meet, socialize, and enjoy the end of a really informative event.

For the readers who want to attend the next lecture, you can subscribe to the emails on main page to be notified on future blogposts and events.















Photographs by Chana Lewis

*You can still sign up to listen to the recording. If you are interested, email Bracha at: As promised, photos of attendants are not included for privacy protection.

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Getting Closer – The Event

The second official Balaboostas lecture has finally arrived! Don’t miss out on this important subject. You can RSVP on Facebook, or comment on this blog post or message me here. Space is limited, so if you would like to bring friends, please let me know as soon as possible (but they can just show up too). Looking forward to meeting you! Presents “Getting Closer”

Mrs. Fraidy Yanover will be presenting Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in marriage and intimacy for Orthodox couples. On Tuesday, May 7, he will be presenting his new book, “Getting Closer – Understanding and Treating Issues in Marital Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Couples”, and he will be discussing its content and related topics for the benefit of Jewish married women (only). Joining him will be Dr. Rivkah Friedman, PT, MS, DPT, an alumnus of the SUNY Downstate’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Together, they will address some of the most common concerns that pertain to marital intimacy from a psychological as well as a physical standpoint.

At the end of the lecture, Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch and Dr. Rivka Friedman will open the floor to Q&A that can be submitted anonymously at the event. We will provide postcards and pens for this purpose. For more information about “Getting Closer”, feel free to visit Some of the topics included in the book are:

  • Low desire disorders
  • Internet addiction
  • Unconsummated marriages
  • Dyspareunia & Vaginismus
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fear of Intimacy
  • Infertility
  • Postpartum Depression
  • And more…

We hope to see you for this important and informative presentation on this crucial topic. Please feel free to invite your friends and RSVP immediately, as space is limited!

Date: May 7, 2012

Location: 829 Montgomery Street

Time: 7:45-9:30 pm

Admission: $12 charge, $18 suggestion.

Light refreshments will be served.

Getting Closer 3 (2)

Flyer by Miriam Hammer Design

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Getting Closer

Authors note: Exclusively on Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch along with Dr. Rivkah Friedman, a physiotherapist who specializing in sexual pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, pregnancy & postpartum related issues, will be writing a new column answering questions from readers concerning sexual dysfunction. If you have specific questions, please submit them to:

In his new book “Getting Closer—Understanding and Treating Issues in Marital Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Couples“, Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapist, aims to remove the shame and isolation felt by Orthodox couples dealing with sexual dysfunction.


In this book, Rabbi Schonbuch, who is known for his success as a marriage therapist in New York City, explores various aspects of sexual dysfunction including:

  • Low desire disorders
  • Internet addiction
  • Unconsummated marriage
  • Dyspareunia & Vaginismus
  • Sexual abuse
  • Fear of intimacy​
  • Infertility
  • Postpartum Depression and more…

The book was edited by two leading medical experts in gynecology, including Dr. Heather Appelbaum and Dr. Robin Bliss of the NorthShore Long Island Jewish Medical Center, with a preface written by Dr. Heather Appelbaum, who is also an Associate Professor of, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, Hofstra University. 

“I wrote the book because I noticed that some couples will attend several counseling sessions to resolve their emotional difficulties, but never report that they are having a sexual problem. I have worked with couples who complained about their finances, children, and their in-laws, but avoided discussing the most painful part of their marriage—their lack of intimacy”, says Schonbuch.

According to Schonbuch, there is not only a lack of understanding of how common sexual dysfunction actually is, but also that it is a very common issue for young women. “It has been found that sexual dysfunction is highest among younger women, with 21 percent of women aged 18 to 29 reporting physical pain during intimacy. Twenty-seven percent report experiencing non-pleasurable relations and 16 percent reported anxiety relating to intimacy. Additionally, many couples struggle with intimacy after pregnancy, internet addictions, sexual aversion, or infertility issues, and they don’t know who to turn to for help.”

In Getting Closer, the author provides couples with a powerful roadmap that shares compassion, deep insight, and proven interventional strategies that have helped hundreds of couples to resolve issues in marital intimacy that may have been left untreated for years. The book also examines the connection between personal attachment styles and intimacy.

“I base my work on something called Attachment Theory created by Dr. John Bowlby. It describes why some couples have an easier time getting closer, while others tend to fight a lot”, explains Schonbuch. “There are three types of attachment: secure, anxious, and avoidant. Secure individuals are comfortable with affection and giving to one another. Anxious individuals tend to crave closeness but may overwhelm their spouse with their fear of not being loved. Avoidant individuals are not comfortable with closeness or intimacy, and tend to avoid talking and close contact.”

The book includes a quick attachment style questionnaire that helps readers identify their own attachment style and how this may be affecting their relationship with their spouse.

“In my book, I aim to normalize the issue of sexual dysfunction by explaining that problems in the bedroom are very common and need to be treated, since they can have a lasting impact on the quality of the marriage. For example, even if a man had PE once or twice, or a woman found relations to be painful, it can create distance between the couple who may spend years avoiding closeness or fighting about secondary issues that have nothing to do with their real problems”, says Schonbuch.

The book is divided into three sections: “Emotions, Desire, and Intimacy,” “Guide to Sexual Dysfunction” and “Finding Solutions”. Throughout its pages are detailed descriptions of dysfunctions and disorders, interweaved with real case studies of how Schonbuch helped couples through Emotionally Focused Therapy. By relaying case studies of couples dealing with sexual dysfunction in their marriage, he illustrates how through focusing on the emotions a couple is feeling when they’re quarreling, they come to realize what they’re truly feeling.

“I trained with one of the most successful marriage therapists in the world, Dr. Sue Johnson. She was the cofounder of Emotionally Focused Therapy which helps couples expand and reorganize important emotional responses, creates secure relationship bonds, increases intimacy, and shifts each spouse’s position towards positive interaction”, say Schonbuch. “During each session I help each person express what are called primary emotions such as fear of being alone, being unlovable, or not measuring up to their spouse’s expectations. I also created a highly empathetic environment where spouses turn towards one another and learn to validate what they are both experiencing.”

Schonbuch believes that individuals may feel ashamed or live in isolation when dealing with sexual dysfunction. He therefore wrote “Getting Closer” as a form of “Biblio Therapy,” where couples can read the book, reduce their discomfort on the topic, and allow them to further discuss these issues with or without a therapist.

Getting Closer is available in Jewish bookstores,, in ebook formats and is recommended to couples, chosson and kallah teachers, therapists, and rabbis and rebbetzins, who encounter these problems frequently and now have a resource to address those difficulties effectively. For a free preview of the book, click here. This book was released only yesterday, you heard it first here!

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializes in marriage counseling for Orthodox couples. His relationship-based approach to counseling has helped hundreds of couples improve their marriages and resolve issues in marital intimacy. His new book, Getting Closer, explores various aspects of sexual dysfunction. You can view more about his work at:

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Every Wedding Night

I wanted to write about this topic for a long time. Mikvah is something that we can all relate to as a Jewish women and it is a topic that is often discussed between us. There was a recent thread on the forum, “Is your wedding night really that hard?“, that got me thinking and I decided to scratch my other notes on Mikvah and write this one. An anonymous poster wrote that the “wedding night is supposed to be the best night of your life”. It does not matter in what context it was written in, although I am sure you all know (or you can go read). But that sentence really got me thinking.


Every observant Jewish woman knows about Niddah. She knows that there will be times as a wife that she will not be able to be affectionate toward her husband. She will not be able to kiss him, hug him, or even pass him a plate of food. Forget about being intimate. Sometimes it will last two weeks, other times, three, and at times, like post partum, about six to ten weeks. It is hard. No one would deny that. You love the person you are living with, yet you cannot physically express it.

After the bleeding, there is a process. There is the checking, the 7 clean days, the preparing for the Mikvah and finally, the dipping. Mikvah. You prepare for 7 days for 3 (or in some cases 1, 2 or 9) dips in holy water. There are many reasons why the water is holy and special, but the main reason being, is that it makes you Tahor, spiritually pure. This water that covers your body from head to toe, renders you Halachically permissible for your husband.

There is that feeling of euphoria as you walk out of the Mikvah. Bag in hand, spotlessly clean, fresh makeup, and in some cases, wet hair. You have to talk to your feet to walk and not run as you make your way home so that you do not get hurt on the way. And whether or not you actually get to see your husband right away or two hours later, you run into each other’s arms and that feeling is exhilarating. No one can deny it. However tired, moody or stressed you are, your husband’s arm around your waist melts everything around you and all you want is him. Suddenly, you can have each other again, romantically. You can pass him a cup of water after two weeks of not being allowed to. Suddenly, the most mundane little action seems like the only thing you want to do. Kissing and hugging and finally, being intimate.

So is that not really the best night of your life?

Of course your life is so long Baruch Hashem, and you have many many best nights. Your wedding is a fabulous, fun night. The night your child is born, the night you go on an amazing date to the Eiffel Towers, the night your child comes home from school with top grades…and Mikvah night.

I am sure many of you will agree that the more you get to know your husband, the more you live with him and spend time with him, there is more to love and more to cherish. No one can disagree that however long you dated, however long you spoke and touched and kissed when you were engaged, the longer you are married, the more real your love gets for him.

A psychologist by the name of Elaine Hatfield said there are two kinds of love – passionate and compassionate. Passionate is that burning crazy fiery feeling of lust, longing, attraction and desire. Eventually that leads to compassionate love. The kind where you have a mutual feeling of respect and understanding for each other, inner and deep feelings of wanting to protect and care for one another.

The longer you are married, the longer you are together, the more compassionate you will get, the more real your love is…a deep down carved-on-your-heart feeling of love. And who can say that making love to your husband, compassionate, honest, attracting real caring love, after two weeks of being apart, is not going to be the best night of your life?

As Jewish women, we get that every month, assuming you have an average cycle. Look at the rate of divorce and separation in the secular world, and their excuses “we got bored”, “he forgot about me”, “she found someone else”. We (usually) cannot say that. Of course there is divorce, but these are hardly ever the reasons. We cannot get bored. G-d made sure of that. He made sure that once a month, a Jewish man and woman will have their real wedding night all over again.

So yes, I guess I am saying that the wedding night is the best night of your life, but not the one where you are all dressed up in a white gown. It’s the one where you count down the days, go to the Mikvah, and then come home to your husband – to hold and to love.

Authors note: there may be women whom this article is not applicable to for various reasons. Please do not take this blogpost personally if it doesn’t apply to you. Thank you!

Photo by Rivka Bauman Photography

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After the Kallah Class – The Turnout with Photos

By Devorah Ascher

The first official event, “After the Kallah Class“, took place Thursday evening in the Crown Heights community. It was a lecture on intimacy by psychotherapist, Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C. The crowd of 70 women listened on intently, as she spoke about issues and topics that concern married Jewish women.

The sensitive and crucial topic of intimacy was discussed from a psychological, as well as a physiological standpoint. Starting out with basic information on healthy intimacy, and ending with frequently asked questions in the Frum community, Rivka Sidorsky was engaging and comfortable to listen to. After an hour and half of lecturing, women got to ask questions, discuss, and mingle around the refreshment table. “The lecture was conducted in such a modest manner. For the subject content, that was really impressive”, said some women who attended. “There should definitely be more events like this!”, others added.

“This was an exciting moment for the Balaboostas community. For its first official event, the feedback from the women who attended was superb and it was a great success! I hope that this is a start of many more in the future”, said Bracha Bard-Wigdor, creator of Introducing the event was Mrs. Fraidy Yanover, a certified LifeCoach and it was hosted in the Gutnick residence.

For the readers who want to attend the next lecture, you can subscribe to the emails on main page to be notified on future blogposts and events.

Photographs by Chana Lewis

*As promised, photos of attendants are not included for privacy protection.

This article was also published on COLlive and

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After the Kallah Class

First official Balaboostas event has finally arrived! Don’t miss out on this crucial topic. You can RSVP on Facebook, or comment on this blog post or message me here. Space is limited, so if you would like to bring friends, please let me know as soon as possible (but they can just show up too).  Looking forward to meeting you!

Flyer by Miriam Hammer Designs