Abusive behavior is not a new phenomenon. It has existed throughout the ages and is documented in biblical texts and the Shulkhan Arukh.
No one is immune from domestic violence, including the Jewish community. It cuts across all economic, educational, racial and religious liens. It affects the lives of children and adults, wives and husbands, infants and the elderly. The Jewish tradition of shalom bayit (peace in the home) is often achieved at great cost. Occurring in the privacy of the home, abuse and neglect may be difficult to detect.
Domestic violence may include physical or sexual violence, marital rape, pornographic exploitation, verbal threats, emotional abuse or destruction of property.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges its Sisterhoods to:
- Promote strong legislation to protect victims, with effective law enforcement.
- Support local safe shelters and help to establish those that provide a Jewish environment. Adopt a shelter as a Community Service Project.
- Publicize this problem wherever potential victims congregate and support the development of educational programs in schools, religious institutions, community centers and health facilities.
- Alert synagogue and religious schools to this issue and develop plans to assist the victims in coming forward for help in a safe environment. Consider the use of synagogue rest rooms as sites for printed information on local support resources.
- Create a climate of response, support and compassion for all victims.