By Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
The Jewish Press
Recently I came across a book with a rather puzzling title: I Only Want To Get Married Once (Gefen Publishing). The subtitle helps to solve the puzzle, explaining what this book is all about: Dating Secrets for Getting It Right the First Time.
As I turned the pages, my amazement turned to wonder: how could a young woman possess so much wisdom that she was able to compile a remarkable list of advice. How could one woman help singles gain the confidence to steer through the decision-making process of dating and guide them towards a successful marriage?
In I Only Want To Get Married Once the author put her lifelong professional practice into book form, sharing her expertise with a wider audience. Until now, Chana Levitan had for over two decades through her popular lectures been educating, mentoring and enlightening candidates for marriage about ways to find true potential in their relationships. In this volume the reader will find a clear relationship guide with ten crucial questions that need to be asked before, and during, the dating process in order to spot the right marriage partner. Real-life anecdotes added to brilliant suggestions help the reader to better understand one’s self — a key item in building a lasting, happy marriage.
“There is no rule that heartbreak must be a prerequisite for good judgment!” the author cleverly points out.
Who is Chana Levitan?
Chana Zilka was born on Long Island, New York. At age twenty-five she left New York and made her home in Jerusalem. That same year, 1988, Aryeh Levitan, a refusenik from Moscow, was released and made his way to Jerusalem. Shortly thereafter, the Russian refusenik met the pretty American therapist and lecturer and the two were married.
“He’s amazing!” Chana says of her husband. “He is a computer expert and mathematician. He teaches computers in various programs in Jerusalem and he also teaches Torah to Russian Jews.”
Chana also combines her profession with Torah scholarship. She is one of the Torah lecturers at Neve Yerushalayim School for Girls where classes are taught by leading rabbis and women scholars who are also exceptional educators and role models for their students.
Chana Levitan’s book reflects the combination of a psychological approach and the teachings of Judaism. I believe this is the secret of its success.
Dr. Abraham Twerski, author and former clinical director of the Department of Psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh, calls Chana’s Levitan’s rules for dating, “Indispensable tools [for] a marriage that will withstand the hurricane-force winds of today’s culture. ‘Must’ reading for young people, older people, dating couples and married couples, parents, in-laws, clergy and therapists .”
Chana and Aryeh Levitan are the parents of two daughters, aged twenty and eighteen, and three sons, ranging in age from seventeen to seven.
“My oldest daughter is getting married,” Chana reveals with the joy of a mother who knows that the young bride had been prepared with the best advice available to ensure that her first marriage is the only one.