web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



In Israel’s Haredi Community, Breaking A Culture Of Secrecy On Domestic Abuse

Share Button

BEIT SHEMESH – It was only when her sons came at her with knives that she realized keeping quiet was not going to work.

For nine years, her rabbis had told her not to speak up about her husband’s verbal, physical and sexual attacks. They assured her the abuse would pass, that if she obeyed his every wish the attacks would end and he would stop telling their grown sons she was a bad mother.

But when her sons began to threaten her, she knew it was time to leave.

Taking her youngest children, she turned to Yad Sarah, a highly regarded Israeli charity founded by former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski. The organization mainly focuses on medical services, but it also runs a domestic abuse division geared toward Orthodox Jews. A professional there directed her to Bat Melech, a shelter for battered religious women.

“It was amazing,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “I was sure I was not a normal person and they were nice to me.”

The wall of silence surrounding sensitive domestic issues in the haredi community has long been seen as an impediment to successfully addressing them. Yad Sarah and Bat Melech have sought to change the situation, and their efforts appear to be bearing fruit.

A decade ago, haredi community leaders rarely spoke openly about violence against women. Now leading rabbis are working with experts to fight abuse in the community.

“We’ve succeeded in that they talk about it publicly,” said Shlomit Lehman, a professor of social work who founded the Yad Sarah domestic abuse division. “There was always family violence, but they kept it secret. Our connection with the community and leadership is stronger. There’s discretion and professional care.”

Lehman started the division in 2000 with two therapists. Now there are 16 serving 150 patients a month, making Yad Sarah the second-most active domestic abuse center in Israel.

Bat Melech, founded in 1995, runs two shelters and is expanding its Beit Shemesh facility. The Crisis Center for Religious Women, which refers abuse victims to professional care, is organizing an international conference slated for December 2014 on preventing violence and abuse in the religious community.

Until recent years, experts say, haredi rabbis would deal with cases of domestic abuse privately; only rarely would they make referrals to professionals or recommend divorce. Victims often were stigmatized and their children had a harder time finding marriage partners.

Both Bat Melech and Yad Sarah have made rabbinic outreach a central part of their strategies. Yad Sarah launched a rabbinic committee with representatives of Israel’s major haredi organizations. Those leaders in turn instructed communal rabbis to refer battered women to the two organizations.

Bat Melech founder Noach Korman says only a minority of haredi rabbis still ignore domestic violence and most support his organization’s mission.

Still, discretion remains a paramount concern for haredi rabbis, many of whom still refuse to advocate publicly for the two organizations. Leading haredi papers will not run ads for Bat Melech and Yad Sarah, though online haredi publications do cover them. Haredi schools also do not permit Yad Sarah to run seminars on domestic abuse for their students.

Though growing numbers of women have sought treatment in recent years, Korman and Lehman say work remains to be done. Bat Melech at times has to turn women away, in part because of the high number of children who sometimes accompany them. The shelters have served 800 women and, Korman estimates, more than 3,000 children.

“People aren’t waiting,” Lehman said. “They come when they’re dating or in the first year of marriage, so there are more options. Their entire lives are ahead of them.”

(JTA)

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “In Israel’s Haredi Community, Breaking A Culture Of Secrecy On Domestic Abuse”

  1. Yechiel Baum says:

    with the holy books teaching us how to live our lives, if the Haredi doesn't abide, then they are phony Jews. It is time the Gedolim set up a judicial panel to have abused Jews come to them to seek assistance from their abusers. Judaism is a beautiful way of life and these scum should be excumunicated from it to keep us untarnished and pure.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest News Stories
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.

Carole Zabar, longtime supporter of BDS promoters, is now in a pickle – Zabar’s is a BDS target.

Rav Bina, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh has sent the following letter out to alumni of the Yeshiva: Dear Alumni, This Wednesday one of my grandchildren will be undergoing crucial surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his leg. I ask all of you to please recite tehillim for him during the surgery, […]

Naftali Bennett speaking in the Knesset

PA president Abbas, who is about 9 years late for democratic elections, has threatened to dismantle the PA and annul the Oslo Accords. Sounds good to us…

Hamas supporters marching on the Temple Mount, waving Hamas flags.

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and his family’s visit to the Temple Mount was cut short when violent rioting once again broke out on the holy site.

Anti-semitic attacks have escalated with the firebombing of a synagogue in the Ukraine. Watch the video of the attack…

A surprised group of hikers stumbled across human bones in a Gush Etzion cave. But what they actually found was even more astounding.

Many Pakistanis consider bin Laden a “hero of Islam.”

Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally.

A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported.

On Friday afternoon, Syrian fighter jets hit opposition/rebel targets and villages on the Syrian side of the Ramat HaGolan (Golan Heights), in the Quneitra region. Large pillars of smoke are seen rising from struck areas. Quneitra is the site of an official crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan. IAF jets were sent out […]

As Rabbi Stav said, “You’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew?”

Chimpanzees and Orangutans eat Matza, unleavened bread traditionally eaten during the Passover holiday, at the Ramat Gan Safari on Thursday, April 17, 2014. I hope they can digest it. On Passover no leavened bread (Chametz) is allowed in Jewish possession, and that includes food we feed our animals.

Following intelligence reports of further expected Arab rioting and violence on the Temple Mount today, the police have placed restrictions on Muslim entry to the Jewish holy site, according to a report on Arutz-7. Entry will be limited to Muslims over the age of 50, and women, also they must be Israeli citizens or residency […]

PA President Abbas’s refusal to publicly condemn the terror attack that killed Baruch Mizrachi is putting a damper on the parade.

The Shas political party, founded and run by the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, has a appointed a new spiritual leader, according to a Galei Tzahal report. The rabbi chosen to replace Harav Ovadia and be the new president of the party’s Council of Torah Sages is Rabbi Shalom Cohen. Aryeh Deri is the political leader […]

In 1941, the Jews of Kiev received a similar leaflet. When they showed up the next day, more than 34,000 were murdered.

More Articles from Ben Sales
Yair Lapid

On Monday, Lapid told JTA that he would sooner agree to freeze settlement growth than free Palestinian prisoners, as Netanyahu has done previously in an effort to advance the process.

Mina Yuditskaya Berliner in the Tel Aviv apartment purchased by her former student, Vladimir Putin. 
Credit: Ben Sales

“He was like everyone else,” she said. “He was serious. He wouldn’t mess around. He would do what I said. He was quiet a lot and thought a lot. He did everything well.”

More than having a hand on the wheel, the year since the formation of the new government has seen Jewish Home and the coalition’s other smaller parties driving much of the government’s agenda. Netanyahu’s Likud party has taken a back seat on everything besides security affairs.

Saddled with nearly $370 million in debt and an annual deficit exceeding $85 million, Hadassah Hospital struggles to chart a course back to solvency.

JERUSALEM – To be married in Israel, immigrants must prove their Jewish ancestry to the country’s Chief Rabbinate.

TEL AVIV – The disclosure last week that American intelligence spied on former Israeli prime ministers has given new momentum to the effort to secure a pardon for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

BEIT SHEMESH – It was only when her sons came at her with knives that she realized keeping quiet was not going to work.

TEL AVIV – Following reports of what was almost certainly a chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House has made moves indicating it may be inching closer to military intervention in the civil war there.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/in-israels-haredi-community-breaking-a-culture-of-secrecy-on-domestic-abuse/2013/10/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: