Voiceless adds voice to domestic violence initiative

November 25, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Sydney identity Brian Sherman, a director of animal welfare group Voiceless, spoke at JewishCare this morning on domestic violence heralding the beginning of campaign involving 16 rabbis , 16 days…and 16 synagogues.

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, Brian Sherman and Rabbi Eli Feldman

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, Brian Sherman and Rabbi Eli Feldman pic: Henry Benjamin

The initiative is under the auspice of the United Nations and is worldwide and focuses public attention on the plight of those affected by domestic violence.

Sherman used his talk to show how the unpopularity of his cause against ‘violence’ perpetrated on innocent animals by mankind is paralleled by the unpopularity of the cause highlighting plight of those women who experience violence in their homes. He urged the community to stand up for those victims of DV.

The initiative will produce individual efforts from each of the 16 congregations involved including a giant version the white ribbon logo of the campaign being displayed Sydney’s Great Synagogue on the bima of Sydney’s Great Synagogue this coming Shabbat.

JewishCare domestic violence caseworkers Belinda Gold, Roberta Freedman and Lisa Shapiro remained outside the meeting which was an all male affair.

Freedman told J-Wire: “We deal with 19 cases of domestic violence each working week and take on board about two new cases in that period. On top of that we manage 60 cases where family support is needed.”

JewishCare maintains a crisis hotline for  those in its care.

Robeta Freedman, Lisa Shapiro and Belinda Gold  pic: Henry Benjamin

Robeta Freedman, Lisa Shapiro and Belinda Gold pic: Henry Benjamin

Gold told J-Wire that women are the victims in more than 90% of domestic violence cases. She added: “We appeal to men who know of cases where women are being subjected to domestic violence to let us know. Our aim is to help, not prosecute. We need to help them break the cycle.”

Shapiro told J-Wire that a training program had been held in 2007 for rabbis and teachers. She added:  “A respect for relationship course is taught to Years 10, 11 and 12 students in Moriah, Masada, Kesser Torah and the Emanuel schools. Help cards headed ‘Never in a Jewish Home’ will be placed in the bathrooms of all the participating Shuls and doctors’ surgeries.”

The participating Synagogues are :

Central Synagogue, Chabad Bondi, Coogee Synagogue, Cremone Synagogue, Emanuel Synagogue, Great Synagogue, JLC, Lindfield Synagogue, Maroubra Synagogue, Masada, Newtown Synagogue, Or Chadash, Sephardi, Shtiebel, South Head and Yeshiva.

Each one has been assigned one day of the 16 and will hold a special event to highlight the cause, including raising the topic of domestic service in their sermons.

JewishCare president Eva Fischl said: “I am very proud of the way our community has united on this issue. Each rabbi we approached enthusiastically agreed to participate.”

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