Rabbis speak up for peace in fight against family violence
Adele Horin ; 25/11/09
In the Jewish religion the family is sacred, and ”peace in the home” an abiding value. So when rabbis were asked to speak out to their communities about domestic violence, the initial response from some was that it was unnecessary to do so. ”People just said ‘It doesn’t happen in the Jewish community’,” said Roberta Freedman, of the welfare agency JewishCare. But starting today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 16 rabbis from 16 synagogues will take part in a 16-day campaign to educate their communities about domestic violence. They will speak from the bimah, or pulpit, in the synagogue to counter the culture of denial in their communities, and to direct people to help. Ms Freedman, manager of family and children’s services, said the rate of violence against Jewish women was probably no different from the rest of the community but US research indicated that due to family and community pressures Jewish women took seven to 10 years longer than average to leave an abusive relationship.