We don’t speak enough about domestic violence in the Jewish community. This is true of all Jewish communities. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, one of the foremost experts and advocates in the Jewish community regarding mental health and the issues of domestic violence and substance abuse, saw mental health issues, and relationships in particular, through spiritual care lenses.
In 1996, Twersky wrote a book “The Shame Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the Jewish Community.” It brought to light the problem of spouse abuse in the Jewish community and offered advice and direction on how to end it. The book was a wake-up call and a challenge for change.
Rabbi Dr. Twersky died earlier this month, but his work to end domestic violence lives on. In this month of love in our American culture, the Clergy Task Force on Domestic Violence of Jewish Women International, on which I am honored to serve, has a project called “Shamor L’Amour – A Healthy Relationship Shabbat” to focus on healthy loving relationships.
This annual program is designed to spark conversations about healthy relationships among couples, families, and singles. These conversations can be held anywhere – the dinner table while taking a walk, or even over your favorite conferencing website.
As Jewish Community Chaplain, based at JFS, I encourage you to check out a recent article in eJewishPhilanthrophy about the Shamor L’Amour and utilize the resources including free Shabbat conversation cards – one set for families, another for adults at www.jwi.org/shabbat.