New Book Helps Frum Couples Navigate Tough Choices

Talking Divorce, a new book released by popular author Rabbi Zalman Goldstein, provides rare clarity for couples going through marital difficulties and contemplating divorce or having already divorced.

In what appears to be times when marriage breakdowns and divorces in the frum community are occurring frighteningly more frequently than ever before, Talking Divorce, a new book just released by popular author Rabbi Zalman Goldstein, provides rare clarity for couples going through marital difficulties and contemplating divorce or having already divorced.

Demystifying this fraught and complex topic in easy-to-understand, comprehensible form, as Rabbi Goldstein has successfully done with his many other titles such as Jewish Living Simply Explained and Going Kosher In 30 Days!, he delivers here exceptionally.

As he writes in the introduction to the comprehensive 304-page book, many intuitively know that the journey from married couple to divorced is fraught with challenges and much uncertainty, starting with the basic question of whether to divorce in the first place or continue to try to preserve the marital relationship. Yet what is not always clear is knowing when does one cross over from trying one more time, to deciding that divorce is the only option? And if divorce is found to be an appropriate and necessary course of action, how does one head off potentially damaging emotional, psychological, and financial consequences for themselves, their children, and extended families during and after the divorce process?

Talking Divorce sets out to help couples make sense of these quandaries by clearing up many misconceptions, illuminating relevant halachic and civil processes, while arming them with the knowledge needed to make sound decisions at every crossroad.

The plethora of essential and practical information gathered, along with down-to-earth Torah-based guidance covering relationship breakdowns, reconciliation considerations, separation, divorce, and life thereafter, including remarriage and blending families, serves as a much-needed anchor for couples who find themselves in any of these stages.

As for the impetus for writing the book, Rabbi Goldstein explained that it was to fill a desperate need for an accessible resource for accurate information and Torah-based, positive-focused guidance for couples facing the pain and confusion related to marital crisis and divorce.

“When I was approached by Kalman Wolchok and Rabbi Shais Taub to research and write the book, I wholeheartedly agreed with them that people on either side of the divorce chasm—either leaning towards reconciliation or divorce—are in need of clear and accurate guidence and information so they can approach these consequential matters with open eyes and a rational mind, at a time when clarity and realism are often most elusive,” he said, adding that the topic is also one that is close to his heart and home, holding special meaning for him.

Grounding his work based on months of conversations with numerous rabbis, attorneys, mediators, and mental-health professionals specializing in these areas, Rabbi Goldstein has created a remarkable resource—probably the first of its kind in the Jewish world.

The svelte, well-designed and easy-to-hold 6×8 hardcover book sits comfortably in the hand; its layout is pleasant and well presented. Opening with topics such as “Thinking About Divorce,” “Coming Back From the Brink,” and moving on to “When a Decision to Divorce Has Been Made,” “The Divorce Process,” “When There Are Children,” “Rising From Divorce,” “Parenting as a Single Parent,” and “Remarriage,” among other compelling chapters—including dozens of relatable real-life vignettes from couples throughout the book—the extraordinary repository of useful information concludes with a collection of inspirational writings and reflections from parents, children, and mental-health professionals, capping an overall moving and extremely eye-opening read. (View the complete Table of Contents).

While beneficial to anybody experiencing a relationship crisis, divorce, or its aftermath, Talking Divorce speaks particularly to frum couples with its focus on representing, as best as possible, the Torah’s views on these issues. And the many passionate endorsements and haskamas from top rabbis and professionals in the field reflect this as well.

Rabbi Avraham Kahan, Rosh Beis Din of Vaad Hadin V’Horaah in New City, and distinguished Halachic expert on marriage and divorce-related matters, expressed that Talking Divorce should be required reading for anyone going through a relationship crisis or divorce. “Not only does it offer a treasury of solid, Torah-based, practical information for people contemplating divorce, in middle of a divorce, or already divorced, it does so in an extremely organized, captivating and effective manner guiding toward the best outcome in each situation,” he wrote in his approbation.

Sarah Chana Radcliffe, noted psychologist and author of many columns and book on marriage and child psychology, suggested in her endorsement that couples not divorce until they’ve read the book from cover to cover, adding that Talking Divorce “will guide you through every step of the process, from your first thoughts on the subject to life after divorce, from all of the practical, emotional, financial, and legal issues affecting you personally to all those affecting your children and extended family. This uniquely comprehensive manual will hold your hand, answer all your questions, and provide the expert advice that will prevent unnecessary suffering for you and your family. Ideally it should be thoroughly digested by both you and your spouse so that the two of you can make in-formed decisions and work together for the healthiest and most peaceful path forward.”

Renowned lecturer, mentor, and author, Rabbi Shais Taub, has written admirably as well about how Rabbi Goldstein’s book does a remarkable job in dealing with what is a sad and unpleasant topic. He articulated how there is, unfortunately,  a real need for this kind of book, and commended Rabbi Goldstein for tackling the job. He ended his endorsement with a prayer that, “B’ezras Hashem this work will bring much clarity and comfort to those who are navigating this very painful and confusing time in their lives.”

Other prominent people who have given haskamas and endorsements for the book include Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Breitowitz, Rav of Kehillat Ohr Somayach, Yerushalayim,  Rabbi Dr. Dovid Fox, Ph.D., Forensic and Clinical Psychologist, Director of Crisis Intervention, Trauma and Bereavement department of Chai Lifeline, David J. Lieberman, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author and international expert on interpersonal relationships, David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., ABPP, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and founder of Center for Anxiety in New York, M. Gary Neuman, L.M.H.C., New York Times bestselling author, creator of the NeumanMethod.com, and author of Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way, Professor Ari Wasserman, Esq., Harvard attorney, author and noted Jewish lecturer, Ed Yisroel Susskind, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, therapist, lecturer, and noted author on marriage-related issues, Miriam Adahan, Ph.D., Clinical Psychotherapist, prolific lecturer, and author of I Thought It Would Be Different, Living With Difficult People, and From Victim To Victor, Lisa Twerski, LCSW, author and noted lecturer on dating, marriage and domestic violence, and Rabbi Shimon Gruen, acclaimed relationship expert and author of Get Along with Everyone.

“If even just one family is walked back from the brink, one couple has a less acrimonious divorce, one child has a better childhood because of the information provided in this book, it would be worth all the effort,” concluded Rabbi Goldstein.

There’s no question that many will be helped by Rabbi Goldstein’s efforts, including those professionally involved in the field as well. And if you don’t need a copy for yourself, consider getting a couple for those you know who may benefit from the information inside—they will certainly benefit significantly from it. As David J. Lieberman, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author and international expert on interpersonal relationships wrote of Talking Divorce, “This book is smart, clear and eye-opening. A must-read education for those who are either personally or professionally involved.”

Talking Divorce is available at Jewish bookstores and at www.JewishLearningGroup.com. It is also available as an audiobook on Audible (free for new users), and Amazon Kindle and Apple Books. Special case-price available exclusively at www.JewishLearningGroup.com.

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