A major cross-communal awareness-raising campaign against domestic violence, led by Jewish Women’s Aid and the Board of Deputies and supported by the synagogue movements, will be taking place across the country this Shabbat.
The campaign coincides with the annual UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), which falls on Shabbat 25th November.
This Shabbat, rabbis will be speaking out against violence against women, against domestic violence and abuse in the Jewish community, in their sermons. They will be sharing the message on social media and there will be posters on display in synagogues. They will also be encouraging their communities to donate to help provide JWA’s vital services, at jwa.org.uk/idevaw2017.
On Thursday (23rd November) Jewish Women’s Aid together with other local domestic violence agencies will be holding a day of action at Brent Cross shopping centre to mark the event.
JWA Chief Executive Naomi Dickson said: “It’s incredibly powerful to be working with the Board of Deputies and synagogue movements from across the community to come together and make a clear statement supporting women affected by domestic violence and abuse. I hope women affected continue to contact us for support whenever they need it.”
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush said: “I support this cross-communal initiative to raise awareness of domestic violence. It exists in our society and our community is not immune. Our eyes must be open to the scale and severity of abuse committed in the home and we have to ensure that any person who falls victim to it knows where to look for help.”
The campaign is supported by the United Synagogue, the Movement for Reform Judaism, Masorti, Liberal Judaism and the S and P Sephardi Community.
For the United Synagogue, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “There is no place for violence in our homes, where every person has a right to feel safe and protected, and it is our duty to wipe out every last trace of it. I urge everyone to take a stand against the scourge of domestic violence and to support the campaign initiated by Jewish Women’s Aid, together with the Board of Deputies.”
For the Movement for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “The language of the ketubah, the Jewish wedding contract, outlines responsibilities, but also rights. Every woman has the right to peace at home. Jewish Women’s Aid delivers its precious service when the contract between couples breaks down, whether within marriage or otherwise. On November 25th, please support this wonderful charity.”
For Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Danny Rich said: “Rabbi Danny Rich, said: “Domestic violence happens in all communities and that’s why Liberal Judaism is urging support for this special Shabbat on 25th November. Don’t close your eyes to domestic abuse in this area. Please support the efforts of Jewish Women’s Aid.”
For Masorti, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said: Emotional, verbal and physical domestic abuse is dismayingly widespread. For those who suffer such cruelty, often for long years, it is extremely frightening, humiliating, isolating and painful to acknowledge. Jewish Women’s Aid has the experience, sensitivity and professionalism to help. It is our duty to make JWA’s services known throughout our community.
For the S and P Sephardi Community, Rabbi Joseph Dweck said: “I support JWA and the Board of Deputies in their efforts to address the problem of domestic violence. It is important to speak out, identify and deal with domestic violence within our community. Jewish teaching on the issue is clear, violence or harm caused by anyone to another person is forbidden and, especially in this area of conflict, not only are there physical scars but far-reaching emotional trauma as well. These are considerably more challenging to repair. The damage caused by domestic abuse is immense and deep and affects entire families. We must empathise with victims and get involved in projects, such as this excellent venture by JWA and the BoD, to educate the public and assist those in need.