web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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

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)

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest News Stories
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.

A Reuters poll shows that America is increasingly polarized, especially about President Obama.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued to lash out at a possible “bad deal” with Iran Monday and said, “The agreement being formulated in Lausanne sends a message that there is no price for aggression and on the contrary – that Iran’s aggression is to be rewarded.” Netanyahu said in a statement: The moderate and responsible […]

Jerusalem resident and Israeli citizen Khalil Adal Khalil arrested for joining the ISIS.

Release of a gag order reveals that the Israeli citizen and a friend traveled to Syria last year.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.

Lausanne has become the center stage of act that would put the world’s best novelist or Broadway producer to shame.

Inspections of Iranian nuclear sites won’t uncover possible nuclear activity in North Korea, or even China.

Colel Chabad and IFCJ have made sure thousands of Israelis will celebrate Passover with good food this year.

Former Secy of State Hillary Clinton says she wants to see US-Israeli relations on a “constructive footing” and Israel negotiating with the PA.

A rocket launched from Gaza landed in the Sinai, in the Egyptian half of the town of Rafiach (Rafah).

Rami Levi’s operating and net profit suffered from a 12% increase in the costs of selling, marketing, general and administrative expenses.

Matzah baking isn’t all just hard work. Sometimes it can be fun too.

Today on the Hebrew calendar is the 10th of Nisan – the day the People of Israel crossed into their new Land.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found guilty of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial in the ‘Talansky Affair.’

Iran suddenly refuses to transfer its already enriched uranium, despite prior agreement.

The PA chose practical self interest (survival) and is backing down from its unilateral threats.

A man makes his cooking pots kosher for Passover by dipping them into boiling water, in a process called Hagala.

Israel’s Government Building Becomes ‘Greenest Parliament’ in the World

More Articles from Ben Sales
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

IDF soldiers rush injured Israelis to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva after a mortar fired from Gaza exploded at an army staging area near Kibbutz Nirim, close to the Gaza border. The attack occurred shortly before a cease-fire went into effect on Tuesday. Three Israelis visiting the area were hit; two of them died of their wounds.

After a month, should the quiet hold, Israel and Hamas will restart indirect negotiations in Cairo on easing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip and disarming the enclave.

Shlomy Zachary, an Israeli human rights lawyer, noted that Israeli cooperation with previous UN investigations has helped mitigate criticism of Israel – for example, in a 2010 UN investigation of the so-called flotilla incident.

Smart bombs: Israeli war technology isn’t limited to the home front.

“The values I learned from my parents are probably the same values I hope Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists teach to their people.”

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.

“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.

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: