Domestic Violence Advocacy

Domestic Abuse Advocacy

He was an abuser and I became an addict.  To numb my feelings, while trying to live up to his expectations, I became addicted to prescription drugs.  It was the only thing I did that he couldn’t control.

And when I finally hit bottom, people heard and believed only him.  He was a significant part of the Jewish community.  I was just “his wife, the mother of his children, and an addict.”  I lost my children and was ostracized by my community.  But now at Temple Beth El, I have support from my clergy and my friends, and shalom bayit – peace in my home and in my heart. 

Beth El Leads Jewish Community In Saying "No" to Domestic Abuse

When 19 agencies from Shalom Park and the Charlotte area joined forces to sponsor “It’s Not Kosher to Do Nothing,” it was unprecedented. But when more than 70 people came to hear Rabbi David Rose speak about Domestic Abuse in the Jewish community, it was downright amazing. And it began with an idea and some funding from Temple Beth El.

Rabbi Rose is the chair of Jewish Women International Clergy Taskforce on Domestic Abuse and the founder and director or JDiscover. He spent two days in Charlotte speaking out against domestic abuse in our communities and training people to recognize the signs.

As Jews, we are often in denial that abuse even exists in our community. Rabbi Rose himself for many years didn’t even have it on his radar. But when he heard an anonymous letter from a Jewish woman in his congregation who spoke of abuse and mentioned that her own rabbi didn’t know how to deal with it, he realized that he needed to learn more about it. He has become an expert.

Rabbi Rose began Sunday morning in a session for men only hosted by the Temple Beth El Brotherhood. He feels men, especially, need to learn the signs because 95% of abusers are men. They can, with proper information, be advocates and the first line of defense against abuse.

In the evening, the main program, “It’s Not Kosher to Do Nothing,” began with Todd Gorelick, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, welcoming the crowd. “Tonight, as a Jewish community, to the victims of domestic abuse, we offer a warm embrace.  Gorelick said, "Do not be not be ashamed.  We, your community family, stand united to help."

Temple Beth El President Adam Bernstein then introduced Rabbi Rose, reading first the TBE Resolution on Domestic Abuse which, according to Rabbi Rose, is one of only a few adopted by congregations nation-wide. “As Temple Beth El president and someone who has personally worked for many years to combat domestic violence,” Bernstein said, “I am proud of our Board Resolution and to see these programs happening as a reflection of our collective resolve and intent to address this problem in tangible and meaningful ways.”
In addition to pointing out the signs of possible abuse, Rabbi Rose showed a selection from a documentary about abuse in Jewish families, “When the Vow Breaks.”  The shocking stories mesmerized the audience. Then, to add to the power of his statement, he showed a selection from another documentary, “When Push Comes to Shove,” about Jewish teenagers who are victims of abuse. It does, indeed, happen in our community, and we cannot afford to ignore it.

The capstone of Rabbi Rose’s tenure here was a half-day clergy training session with nine rabbis and cantors from Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Winston-Salem, including Rabbis Judy Schindler and Micah Streiffer.
Marsha Stickler, chair of Shalom-Bayit-NC which, along with Jewish Family Services co-hosted the event, closed Sunday night’s program with a plea to the community to be welcoming to victims. “People won’t come forward to say ‘I am a victim’ unless they know they are believed and can be helped and protected, and that takes a concerted effort on the part of the entire community. That means developing a lifeline for people who have nowhere else to go.”
In order to formalize all Rabbi Rose has taught this community, takes you. Please call Temple or any Jewish agency where you are a member and ask how you can help end domestic abuse in our community. For more information on domestic abuse in our Jewish community or if you are in need of help, see


Myth:  Domestic Abuse doesn’t happen in Jewish families.
Fact:  Studies estimate that 15 to 20 percent of Jewish women are abused, a rate comparable to that of non-Jewish women.  It is the same among Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews.

Myth: Emotional and verbal abuse isn’t as harmful as physical abuse.
Fact:  It can be even more harmful. The victim may not be believed or taken seriously – or doesn’t take her own situation seriously - because there is no physical abuse; and it often takes longer for the psychological injuries to heal.

Domestic abuse happens in families at Temple Beth El.  If you are reading this page, someone you know is currently being abused.  If you know what to look for and the right things to say versus the wrong things to say, you can help.  At our Temple, learning about domestic abuse and helping those who are suffering is a priority that cuts across all committees and programs, just as domestic abuse cuts across all socio-economic, educational and religious groups.

In the area of domestic abuse, Temple Beth El’s mission is twofold: to be a sanctuary where people who are suffering can find support, safety, healing and justice; and, to work to end domestic abuse in our own community and the community-at-large through education and awareness-raising programs and activities.

To this end, the Board of Temple Beth El has adopted a Resolution on Domestic Abuse (December 3, 2007) which affirms that domestic abuse exists in our Jewish community; resolves to take a leadership role in making our Temple a “safe and welcoming place” for anyone in our family in an abusive situation; and commits to breaking the cycle of abuse through educational activities. A Task Force on Domestic Abuse is actively working to implement the resolutions and has developed Goals, Objectives and Action Steps for 2008-2009.


•    Take the time to learn about domestic abuse and the signs of abuse.**
•    Be aware. Someone you know is suffering from abuse.
•    BELIEVE HER (or him).
•    Learn what to say and what not to say.**
•    Train to become a TBE “buddy” who can offer one-on-one help and support for women trying to survive abusive situations.  Contact Ivy Saul or 704-321-2565.
•    Provide funding for TBE initiatives by earmarking – for domestic abuse - donations to the Susan Kramer Fund for Healing.
•    Help all appropriate TBE committees interweave domestic abuse and healthy relationship into their ongoing programming.
•    Volunteer at TBE and in the community to support efforts to eradicate domestic abuse and help those in need.
•    Donate a used cell phone at the Reception Desk to be reprogrammed to dial 911.

*For more information on TBE and domestic abuse, contact Marsha Stickler, Chair of the Task Force on Domestic Abuse, 704-756-9209 or

**For general information on domestic abuse visit, the site for Shalom Bayit of North Carolina, an all-volunteer group of Jews working to end domestic abuse in our community.