Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kallah Classes

I am working on a curriculum for a kallah class. For those who don't know what that is, a kallah is a bride. So these are bride classes, although much of it applies to grooms as well. Kallah classes are common in the Orthodox world, but almost unheard of outside of those circles. When Sean and I were married, not only were there no kallah classes in the Conservative Movement, many teachers would have been uncomfortable, at best, or unwilling, at worst, to have a female rabbinical student in the class. I made do with my own learning, but I wish I had explored it further. It's a lack I try to fill when I work with couples. I believe in the laws of taharat hamishpacha and mikveh as a beautiful and spiritual mitzvah that can have personal and couple benefits.

So what's in a kallah class? That's one of the things I'm trying to figure out. Primarily they were given to explain the laws behind the laws of niddah and taharat hamishpacha (family purity). Exceptional teachers would likely include the things your mother never told you, aka a bit of sex ed. For couples with little contact before, and no intimate contact, it was important to prepare them both for the wedding night and beyond. Turns out, that even for couples who are intimate, this can be important. In my search for information I discovered that today many kallah classes include more sex ed. Some include anatomy. After all, it's been a long time since high school biology, and understanding you body is important for anyone. Others speak of taharat hamishpacha as some sort of war against sin or temptation. And there's the full range in between. As with anything, there are wonderful and terrible classes out there. In many ways, choosing a teacher is like similar to finding your mate. Chemistry and a shared outlook on life is important.

Kallah classes are meant to be more than premarital classes. This you can get through Jewish Family & Child. So why a kallah class? I think that one on one instruction or single gender instruction is different than working with couples. There's a different intimacy and comfort level. A good kallah teacher will build a relationship the bride can use in the future, providing a safe space to ask questions without judgement and with no one else to hear.

In doing my research, speaking both with kallah teachers and with married women, I ask these questions-

  • What do you wish you had known then (at the time of your wedding) that you know now?
  • What was the best part of your kallah class?
  • What was the worst part of your kallah class?
  • What surprised you?
So now, I put this out to you, my readers, not just the brides, not just the married folks, but all of you.

  • If married, what do you wish you had known then that you know now?
  • What was the hardest thing to learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • What advice would you give to someone getting married?
  • What was the worst advice you received?
  • What was the best advice you received?
Thank you in advance for your feedback. I'll keep you posted.

Have a good night.

No comments:

Post a Comment