A Jewish charity supporting women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence is launching a cross-communal, awareness-raising Shabbat on 24-25 November.
The theme of this year’s Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA) initiative is “Exploring Healthy Relationships” and the organisation is distributing a toolkit, available on its website, to 163 synagogues throughout the country.
The synagogues receiving the resource are under the auspices of official supporters of the Shabbat, the United Synagogue, Reform Judaism, Masorti Judaism, Liberal Judaism and the Sephardi & Portuguese Community. It will also be freely available online at jwa.org.uk/healthyrelationships.
The leaflet has been created to raise awareness and understanding in the Jewish community about healthy and unhealthy relationships and includes an activity to encourage discussion, questions, and change.
Also available is a ready-prepared speech or article which can be read out at shul, at home or in social gatherings. These resources are the latest additions to JWA’s popular community toolkit, which also includes conversation cards and fact sheets to help generate discussion around domestic abuse and healthy relationships.
Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis visited JWA’s offices last week in a show of solidarity and to learn more about the forthcoming Shabbat.
He said, “The work of JWA remains heartbreakingly essential for our community, offering professional and compassionate support to Jewish women and their children who have suffered the most awful abuse or violence.
“I heard firsthand from JWA’s frontline workers that the current spike in antisemitism has left some of their service users feeling yet more vulnerable and therefore less able to access the support they need. Ahead of their awareness raising Shabbat at the end of this month, it is clear that JWA’s work is sadly vital for many, who should not hesitate to use its services.”
JWA’s director of outreach and prevention, Carmel Gould, said: “This year we have chosen the theme of Healthy Relationships, drawing directly from our popular educational and training sessions, which we offer in schools, youth organisations and on campus. We wanted the focus of the Shabbat to be on prevention and presented in a sensitive and accessible way.”
Jewish Women’s Aid Shabbat is officially supported by the Office of the Chief Rabbi, United Synagogue, Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism, Masorti Judaism, S&P Sephardi Community, Jewish Leadership Council, and the Board of Deputies.
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