Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Jewish Women International (JWI) is in the midst of its annual Flower Project. If you are not familiar with JWI we encourage you to spend some time on their site. They do important and meaningful work. The Flower Project is an annual event of their which takes place around Mother's Day.
So what is it? Below is a video, a link to the site, and a short description which will explain it all:
Description - For the 35,000 women and children who will spend this Mother’s Day in battered women’s shelters, urgent needs like housing, safety and employment make the holiday just another day to survive. JWI sends bouquets and beauty products to 200 shelters across the U.S. each Mother’s Day, offering hope and encouragement to moms and their children. For every $25 contribution you make, JWI will send a Mother’s Day card to any woman you choose, letting her know that she’s inspired a gift that’s helping women in need. You can also include a card (anonymous if you would like) to women in the shelters. Proceeds from the Flower Project also support JWI’s year-round initiatives to empower women and break the cycle of abuse.
Link - go to the Flower Project site to begin the process.
These small acts make a huge difference. Here is one of many quotes from directors of the shelters who received flowers and beauty products last year:
“It’s wonderful that the women in our shelters are honored in this way— many of them come to us with nothing but hope and courage (which is huge) and your efforts help them to know that this hope and courage are acknowledged and valued. We even had enough OPI products for our second shelter, our transitional housing program, and our support groups. We LOVE JWI!”
If you are already planning to send a card to an important woman in your life, this is an incredible way to do so while supporting JWI and their outreach to women in shelters all over the country. We can help bring some joy to the 35,000 women and children who will spend Mother’s Day in a battered women’s shelter.
We hope you'll join us in this effort.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
"When Teen Dating Turns Dangerous: The Scars From Abusive Teen Relationships can Last Into Adulthood"
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
- Jewish Women International (JWI)'s Clergy Task Force has many creative prayers and blessings. One is a dedication of a cup of wine meant to be used during the seder. Print the pdf and incorporate it into your seder.
- Ritualwell is an online source of liturgical Jewish innovations. It has this reading which adds to the Pesach seder as well. The reading is from a full haggadah called A Journey Towards Freedom: A Haggadah for Women Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence.
- You can find the full haggadah here.
- This reading is also an original piece from the same haggadah and responds to the traditional liturgical component Dayeinu.
- This reading also from the haggadah is meant to speak to the 4 questions section of the haggadah.
- The Religious Action Center (RAC) has this guide for incorporating issues of justice into one's Pesach observance. Domestic Violence is one of several social justice issues discussed in the guide.
Monday, March 18, 2013
We were very excited when we heard the NFTY Study Theme was renewed for another year. Once again Jewish youth will be exploring the question that sprang from Cain's mouth in Bereishit:
"?הֲשֹׁמֵ֥ר אָחִ֖י אָנֹֽכִי" "Am I My Brother's Keeper?"
We believe that when our society is ready to answer that question in the affirmative we will begin to create a culture of Active Bystanders. That time cannot come soon enough. The incidence of teen dating violence, intimate partner violence, and domestic violence boggles the mind.
We focused both the sessions on the study theme, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” and our responsibility to intervene and act as peer leaders. We encouraged the NFTYites to explore scenarios in which they witness a form of dating violence and to brainstorm whether or not they would intervene, and if so how they could do so safely? We discussed the fact that violence need not mean physical violence. We discussed the benefits of intervening before a line is crossed in a situation. We acknowledged that it is uncomfortable to step in or to say to your friend that their behavior is problematic, but that as Jews we have an obligation to stand up for others, to challenge unhealthy behavior, and to intervene in order to prevent harm to another person.
We ended our programs discussing how NFTYites could bring these conversations and ideas home with them. Active Bystanders are not created in 1 hour sessions. However, we hope that over time we can begin to create a culture wherein we actively stand up to foster healthy relationships and challenge unhealthy behaviors, language, and mindsets. The fact that 12.7 million people are physically abused, raped, or stalked in a year is intolerable. It speaks to a fact that we have to make a cultural shift. While education is an important first step, real change can only come from peer leaders willing to act as Active Bystanders. We can work together to ensure our communities are truly sukkot shalom - shelters of peace. The change begins with us.
What is an Active Bystander? (adapted from materials on the active bystander approach created for military)
- Active bystanders take the initiative to help someone who may be targeted for violent or unhealthy behavior
- Active bystanders also take the initiative to help friends who aren't thinking clearly from becoming perpetrators of unhealthy behavior.
- Intervention doesn't mean that you only step in to stop a crime in progress; rather, these steps are "early intervention" — before a crime or unhealthy behavior begins.
- Assess for safety. Ensure that all parties are safe, and assess whether the situation requires calling authorities. When deciding to intervene, your personal safety should be the #1 priority. When in doubt, call for help.
- Be with others. If safe to intervene, you're likely to have a greater influence on the parties involved when you work together with someone or several people. Your safety is increased when you stay with a group of friends who you know well.
- Care for the potential victim. Ask if they are okay. Find way to get them out of the dangerous situation.
- Talking to a friend to ensure he or she is doing okay
- Making clear to friends that we wont tolerate sexist behavior or attitudes, even if they are "just jokes"
- Making up an excuse to help the friend get away from someone
- Calling the police
- Pointing out someone's disrespectful behavior in a safe and respectful manner that tends to de-escalate the situation
- Removing a friend from a risky situation quickly
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Project Runway host, Tim Gunn, is taking a stand against sexual assault and domestic violence by adding to the voices of the NO MORECampaign. The NO MORE campaign is aimed at raising awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence and yesterday March 13th was NO MORE Day where the campaign was kicked off. Like the breast cancer pink ribbon, this symbol represents the need to spread awareness around the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“NO MORE challenges that assumption. I believe that by using the symbol repeatedly and widely, like any powerful brand , we can convey a powerful message: We all must play a critical role in preventing assault and abuse. On March 13 we are asking all Americans to take the time to:KNOW MORE. Learn the signs of domestic violence and listen without judgment to the survivors of sexual assault. Get the facts and know the available resources.Say NO MORE. Break the silence. Speak out. Seek help when you see this problem or harassment of any find in your family, your community, your workplace, or your school.Share NO MORE. Share the NO MORE symbol with everyone you know. Facebook it. Tweet it. Pin it. Instagram it. Email it. Wear it. Help to increase awareness about the extent of domestic violence and sexual assault.Ensure NO MORE. Get involved. Volunteer in your community, or donate to a local, state, or national domestic violence or sexual assault organization.Visit nomore.org. Add your voice. Together, we can end domestic violence and sexual assault.”
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Then help us spread the message. We will be a loud voice calling for change this month! Make sure your friends and family take the pledge as well. Share this link with others and on social media. By raising awareness we make a difference! We all deserve healthy relationships. Join us in pledging to do our part.
Ari & Sari