The health of the Jewish family was on the docket this week at a conference sponsored by S. Petersburg, Russia's Great Choral Synagogue and the city's Jewish community. The event, held at the local Lechaim kosher restaurant, drew some 25 married couples for a discussion about family life, the health and prosperity of loved ones and the Torah view on loving relationships.

Two dynamic speakers from the community, ritual bath director Sara Pewzner and Chabad-Lubavitch educator Dina Pinsky, opened the event by discussing the Jewish laws of family purity and the centrality of the mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath, in keeping those laws. Esther Segal, a popular Israeli television host and mother of six children who hails from S. Petersburg, emphasized the importance of upholding Jewish traditions in the home.

For the men, Rabbi Zvi Pinsky, director of the Jewish community center, answered questions about peace in the home, or what Judaism terms shalom bayit.

A raffle offered up mezuzahs – scrolls containing verses from the Torah that are placed on a house's doorways – silver kiddush cups, candlesticks and plaques containing a traditional blessing for a home. All attendees received a copy of The Secret of Jewish Femininity, a digest of family purity laws written by Tehilla Abramov.

"This is the start of something beautiful," commented Pewzner. "We will continue to arrange such encounters that serve as a match that gives light to our Jewish families."