In Your Synagogue

A Jewish Response to Domestic Violence:
How congregations are making a difference

Congregations play an important role in generating a Jewish response to abuse. By offering support, programming, and education about domestic violence, congregations play a pivotal role in both prevention and intervention. Synagogues bring abuse prevention education directly to the community. Below are some ways that congregations are helping to make a difference – expanding the safety net for Jewish battered women and their children:

  • An 80-member Rabbinic Advisory Council actively engages the Jewish community to support Shalom Bayit’s mission. Rabbis publicly endorse Shalom Bayit and provide a range of support from rabbinic consultations to financial support to sustain our programs.  Rabbis meet annually to share teachings on domestic violence and brainstorm ways to continually engage the Jewish community in preventing and responding to abuse. Throughout the year, members organize activities within their congregations and organizations to increase awareness about domestic violence.

  • Speak out and spread the word. Synagogues help dispel the myths and break the silence around domestic violence in Jewish homes. Host a program, give a sermon, place bathroom post-it notes or other literature throughout the building…you’ll be letting people know that it’s OK for someone to come forward and ask for help.

  • “Shabbat Shalom”: Shalom Bayit’s Annual Sermon Campaign. Each year we ask congregations to give a sermon on domestic violence to spread the message that our Jewish communities condemn abuse and that help is available.

  • Mitzvah Projects – Many synagogue groups, b’nai mitzvah students and social action committees choose Shalom Bayit as the beneficiary of their tzedakah. Contact us for ideas on how you can help improve the lives of battered women & their children.

  • Teach the children that Love Shouldn’t Hurt!  Each year dozens of rabbis, educators, and synagogue religious schools bring our youth curriculum on dating violence prevention to their students, beginning in 6th grade – reaching an average of 1,000 Jewish youth each year with vital information on healthy friendships and tools for healthy relationships in their future. To schedule a Love Shouldn’t Hurt workshop for your students, parents, or educators click here.

  • Parent Education. Ever wondered how to talk to your teen about friendship drama? Relationship issues? The latest in technology dangers? Consider bringing one of our trained parenting education specialists to talk to parents in your congregation. Workshops for parents of teens cover topics from how to bring up the subject to using Jewish texts to teach relationship skills to teens.

  • Adult education programs. Domestic violence is not a private family matter: it is a communal problem requiring a community response. We can all be engaged in solutions and learning. Shalom Bayit provides programs tailored to your synagogue’s needs in all types of adult education settings, community gatherings, holiday celebrations, lecture series, healing services, Shabbat programming and more. Click here to request a speaker or program.

  • May our Homes be a Shelter of Peace Sukkot / Purple Ribbon campaign for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Every October in honor of the presidential declaration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Bay Area Jewish organizations, synagogues, and community leaders are asked to tie a purple ribbon on their public or personal sukkah to remember those who do not dwell in peace and safety in their own homes. Shalom Bayit sends purple ribbons and blessing cards out to the community. You can help us spread a message of peace by tying a purple ribbon to your sukkah and bringing this awareness into your holiday celebrations.

  • Professional Training – Many synagogues invite Shalom Bayit staff to train their clergy, educators, front office and program staff on how to help families that might be at risk for abuse. We are happy to tailor a training to your needs.

  • Congregational Policies & Protocols – Clergy, congregations, schools and other Jewish institutions can face complex issues when handling domestic violence situations among their members. Does your synagogue/ agency have a policy in place? Will you know what to do if there is an abuse related conflict or incident among your membership? What are the liabilities and ethical concerns for boards of directors? How can we provide true sanctuary to survivors of abuse?

  • Refer, refer, refer.  Many of our referrals come from clergy and friends. If you know someone who might benefit from Shalom Bayit support, encourage them to give us a call at (866) SHALOM-7.

  • Free consultations. Clergy, family members and friends are also welcome to call us for free, confidential consultations if you are supporting someone in need.

Thank you!