Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Mark Rosenberg, director of operations at Jewish Community Watch, delivered a presentation at the largest child welfare event in Florida, the 2016 Child Protection Summit, sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The annual event, which began September 7 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, drew over 2,800 child welfare professionals.


Jewish Community Watch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating child abuse, specifically child molestation, within the Jewish community. Founded in 2011, it has quickly established itself as the leading organization dealing with this issue, having had much success educating the public about the prevalence of child abuse and how to prevent it. It has also acted as a support system for victims throughout the healing process, including working with law enforcement and investigators to report abuse.

In addition to his role at JCW, Rosenberg is a long time chaplain to multiple law enforcement agencies and the director of Chesed Shel Emes (CSE) Florida Division. Well aware of the unique struggles survivors in the frum community face, Rosenberg’s presentation educated the gathered professionals about the intricacies of his community and how to best help victims and their families. His in-depth talk covered the rich familial and communal culture of religious Jewry as well as the sensitivities often involved in reporting abuse.

The summit was attended by attorneys, case managers, child advocates, child protective investigators and supervisors, child protection team staff, child welfare trainers, court staff, DCF staff, relative and non-relative caregivers, foster and adoptive parents, guardians ad litem, judges, law enforcement, juvenile justice professionals, educators, service providers, and youth.

“I am blessed to have had the opportunity to bridge the gap between child care survivors, investigators, law enforcement and the Jewish community,” said Rosenberg. “Thanks to Jewish Community Watch, as well as many other organizations and individuals, the Jewish community has taken tremendous strides toward understanding and combating child abuse. I hope that as a result of our presentation on the intricacies of our community, these professionals can do their job with an increased sensitivity, creating a fluid relationship between all parties that can result in ridding the community of this horrific issue.”

The groundwork for the presentation was put in place during a March meeting in Tallahassee between Florida Department of Children and Families secretary Mike Carrol, chief of staff Jane Johnson, Rabbi Schneur Oirechman, and Chaplain Mark Rosenberg. Secretary Carrol suggested that Rosenberg prepare a presentation for the investigation community on the various needs and circumstances of the Orthodox community.

“Florida is the state with the second largest Jewish population in the U.S and the secretary saw this as an important endeavor,” said Rosenberg. “On behalf of the Jewish community, we graciously thank Secretary Carroll for having devoted his entire career to protecting vulnerable children and for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to participate in the summit.”


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Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.