Standing in Two Worlds-Episode 72-Witness or Footnote-What Senior Citizens attendance at Young Persons' Weddings Signifies
Recognizing that there are no events without conflicting facets, R. Kivelevitz anchors the analysis of the emotional impact of the family wedding by zeroing in on the experiences of the “older generation” at the celebration. Belying the overt joy, he argues, there is an undercurrent of “the passing of the torch” with a sense that life is passing these folks by in favor of the new generation. Though not evident in the parents of the new couple because of their immediate involvement in the nuts and bolts of the event, these feelings are more palpable for the older generation.
Prof. Juni, concurring with this stance, points out its particular salience for families of immigrants and Holocaust survivors who were self-established and then witness their children's and grandchildren’s marriages. Inasmuch as these “youngsters” had it much easier than they did and some were handed their lives “on silver platters” some disparagement and resentment is inevitable.
Conversely, R. Kivelevitz points out that the presence of the older generation at these celebrations is not truly necessary from the younger generation’s perspective. Other than perfunctory respect and adulations, the party would pretty much be just as celebratory without them. As such, the event is merely an opportunity to memorialize then into the wedding album which will outlive them in the family folklore.
Dr. Juni points out that the Western youth-centered cultural perspective actually promotes the perspective that – instead of children thriving by standing on the shoulders of our parents – they actually progress by stepping on their head as they reject their values and minimize their relevance.
R. Kivelevitz points out a revealing contrast between traditional weddings, where the bridal couple are the stars of the day, to the weddings in Chassidic courts where the main attraction is the Rebbe who is “marrying off” his descendants and the bridal couple is perfunctory at best.
Pushing the duality of the wedding experience to a tangential area, R. Kivelevitz explores religio-cultural options as he tries to come to grips with the Chasidic tradition where the bride and groom hold hands as they parade publicly from the wedding canopy – a behavior which defies Chasidic mores and even Halacha.
R. Kivelevitz challenges Juni to explain the extravagances of the typical Jewish wedding which often drive the parents into significant debt. Juni notes that – in psychoanalytic theory extreme emotion-related behavior usually indicates the presence of an underlying discordant emotion which is being repressed (as per the defense mechanism dynamics of Reaction Formation). Thus, the extreme message that “I am so happy that this is happening” is intended as a counterweight to the nascent despair of being left behind in the dust.
Prof. Juni is one of the foremost research psychologists in the world today. He has published ground-breaking original research in seventy different peer reviewed journals and is cited continuously with respect by colleagues and experts in the field who have built on his theories and observations.
He studied in Yeshivas Chaim Berlin under Rav Yitzchak Hutner, and in Yeshiva University as a Talmid of Rav Joseph Dov Soloveitchik. Dr. Juni is a board member of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and has regularly presented addresses to captivated audiences. Associated with NYU since 1979, Juni has served as Director of PhD programs, all the while heading teams engaged in cutting-edge research. Professor Juni's scholarship on aberrant behavior across the cultural, ethnic, and religious spectrum is founded on psychometric methodology and based on a psychodynamic psychopathology perspective. He is arguably the preeminent expert in Differential Diagnostics, with each of his myriad studies entailing parallel efforts in theory construction and empirical data collection from normative and clinical populations.
Professor Juni created and directed the NYU Graduate Program in Tel Aviv titled Cross-Cultural Group Dynamics in Stressful Environments. Based in Yerushalayim, he collaborates with Israeli academic and mental health specialists in the study of dissonant factors and tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict and those within the Orthodox Jewish community, while exploring personality challenges of second-generation Holocaust survivors.
Below is a partial list of the professional journals where Professor Juni has published 120 theoretical articles and his research findings (many are available online):
Journal of Forensic Psychology; Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma; International Review of Victimology; The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease; International Forum of Psychoanalysis; Journal of Personality Assessment; Journal of Abnormal Psychology; Journal of Psychoanalytic Anthropology; Psychophysiology; Psychology and Human Development; Journal of Sex Research; Journal of Psychology and Judaism; Contemporary Family Therapy; American Journal on Addictions; Journal of Criminal Psychology; Mental Health, Religion, and Culture.
As Rosh Beis Medrash, Rabbi Avraham Kivelevitz serves as Rav and Posek for the morning minyan at IDT. Hundreds of listeners around the globe look forward to his weekly Shiurim in Tshuvos and Poskim and Gaonic Literature
Rav Kivelevitz is a Maggid Shiur for Dirshu International in Talmud and Halacha as well as a Dayan with the Beth Din of America.
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