I thought I was the only one,” read the headline of the Jan. 22, 2015, edition of The Canadian Jewish News, the first of a three-part series on domestic abuse in the Jewish community. Like many, I was surprised to learn that domestic abuse occurs in our community at the same rate as society at large, and moved by the testimonials of women who had survived abuse and bravely come forward to tell their stories. The goal of the series was to raise awareness of an issue many of us might have mistakenly assumed our community was immune to, to encourage community leaders to speak out about domestic abuse instead of sweeping it under the rug, and to highlight resources in the Jewish community so that all of us could better understand what abuse looks like, and prevent it from happening.
Now, one of the groups at the forefront of educating Canadian Jews about domestic abuse is slated to close. As The CJN reported in July, Act to End Violence Against Women is expected to cease operations later this month. The organization, which has a storied history in the community dating back to 1927, “just couldn’t continue to raise the kind of money” it needed to survive, according to board chairman Mark Anshan. “I’m totally heartbroken,” the organization’s executive director, Penny Krowitz, said. Many in the Jewish community surely are, too.
Other Jewish organizations, like Jewish Family & Child (JF&CS), which has partnered with Act to End Violence Against Women previously, and the National Council of Jewish Women, will certainly try to fill the void. But even those organizations admit there likely will be gaps in the services available to victims of abuse. As JF&CS’s Monica Auerbach told The CJN recently, “there is no funding” to continue many of Act to End Violence Against Women’s unique services, including legal advice and assistance for abuse victims. That’s a total shame. If Act to End Violence Against Women can’t be saved, the least we should do is devote the proper resources to tackle domestic abuse in our community. Too many people are counting on help to offer any less.
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Newspapers usually compete for headlines, but that wasn’t the case last week when Britain’s three largest Jewish papers ran identical front-page stories. The rival publications came together to criticize English Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Under the headline “United We Stand,” all three papers published an editorial warning that there is “a clear and present danger that a man with a default blindness to the Jewish community’s fears, a man who has a problem seeing that hateful rhetoric aimed at Israel can easily step into anti-Semitism, could be our next prime minister.” The editorial added that under the party’s guidelines, “a Labour party member is free to claim Israel’s existence is a racist endeavour and compare Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany, unless ‘intent’ – whatever that means – can be proved.” Corbyn has proven that he is an existential threat to the Jewish community in Britain. Bravo to the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish News, and the Jewish Telegraph for putting competition aside to take a stand.