Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Boteach’s ‘Shalom in the Home’ Featured on Oprah

“What is Oprah, anyway?” asked my youngest as I gathered both boys around the television at four p.m. yesterday.

“It’s–she’s–a popular talk show host and Rabbi Shmuley–remember him?–is on her program today,” I told them, thinking: how hard can it be to get kids to look at a television set? “They’re both going to talk about how families can get along better!” Well, that immediately killed their interest. But in the end, they got into it.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a columnist, but is perhaps most famous for being the author of “Kosher Sex,” a Jewish advice tome akin to another brisk seller, “Hot Monoganomy.” Both books advocate doing whatever it takes–sex toys, etc.–to keep a marriage frisky. Boteach was on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” yesterday to promote his Learning Channel (TLC) family therapy program called “Shalom in the Home,” a family fix-it show that appeals to anyone, not just Jewish viewers.


I like it that a rabbi in a yarmulke is seen as a potentially great family therapist, instead of the usual prim and firm British nanny. Boteach’s premise is that too many dads feel broken and detached, night after night, and that too many moms nag since they’re working outside the home and are often exhausted by their own feminine style of micromanaging. The first couple Oprah invited onstage to demonstrate Boteach’s therapeutic prowess was getting no respect from its offspring–despite the fact that the Dad was a chiropractor, and the mom was a yoga instructor! Boteach showed embarrassing video tape of the family’s dysfunctional patterns, and then sent all five out to volunteer at New York City’s Bowery Mission, where they prepared a meal for the homeless before returning to their own house sobered, grateful, and back in love with one another.


The rest of the “Oprah” show featured snippets on why it’s wrong to give your kids everything they want. “You’re creating insatiable needs in your children when you give them too much!” Boteach said. One mother who’d given her five-year-old daughter diamond earrings, seemed in desperate need of more counseling as Oprah was obliged to wrap the hour up. Oh well, you can’t heal everybody.

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posted June 28, 2006 at 3:27 pm

I saw that show and I was moved when he told the second family , they were giving too much because they wanted to be loved by there children. Boteach said a parnts’ job is to be a good parent not a popular friend to your children. they will have lots of friends in thier lives but only one mother and father. About the diamond earings. What is the big deal. Does the 5 year old really know the difference between a real diamond and crystals. If the parents can afford diamonds and want to have the child wear them, I don’t think that is spoiling them. My daughters both have diamond earrings,they were 3 months old . I don’t think I bought them to spoil them. I bought them because I wanted them to have them. End of story. If someone buys a beautiful home , does that mean they are spoiling there children because there are starving children somewhere else? NO. Are these people selfish? NO They can afford it. Teaching children boundaries and empathy and right from wrong and still letting them feel that they are deserving of nice things is raising a well rounded person. Teaching children to be thankful for what they have is very important and teach them not to focus on what they don’t have . Need is different. You do what you have to do. I came from a middle class italian family and my mom and dad gave me what I needed and always kept my brother & I in check,there were other families that had more than us, but we always appreciated what we had and thought that what they had was cool. We also had a deep spiritual belief! Good things come to those who wait and you need to work hard for what you want. Anyway I could go on and on like I am. But I wanted to comment on Boteach and say he is right on the mark and I can relate. Coming from different backrounds I am catholic and he being Jewish but it is all the same in the name of FAMILY!!!!!>

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posted June 28, 2006 at 7:34 pm

I think the motivation behind giving tells as much as the gift itself. A family that can afford to give their children diamonds is not inherently misguided or materialistic. However the family that gives their children diamonds to communicate a false superiority over others less fortunate or to illustrate their wealth is unhealthy, and sends the wrong message. Raising children to EXPECT nice THINGS is wrong. Raising children who value and contribute to humanity is far more important. A poor family squandering money on diamonds for a 5 year old, as opposed to maybe offering a nice pair of pearl earrings, clearly speaks of issues with the self-worth and self-esteem of the giver. Motivation is the issue here.>

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