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Domestic Violence 1998  
Policies Headlines

WHEREAS, Shalom bayit is a fundamental value of Torah life, so much so that "even God's Name is erased for its sake"; and

WHEREAS ain adam dar im nachesh bchfifah, the Talmud understands that people cannot and should not live with feelings of danger and insecurity; and,

WHEREAS, in the United States, a woman is beaten every fifteen seconds;

WHEREAS, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined; and

WHEREAS, battering is not a momentary loss of temper, but the establishment of control and fear through violence and other forms of abuse; and

WHEREAS, women of all cultures, races, occupations, social strata, income levels and ages, including women in the Jewish community;

WHEREAS, studies estimate that 15-20% of Jewish women are abused, a rate comparable to that of non-Jewish women, without regard to level of observance or denominational affiliation; and

WHEREAS, the denial that "it doesn't happen in Jewish families"; fear of shanda, shame to the community, the family and the individuals involved; a misplaced sense of the parameters and responsibilities of shalom bayit; and general misunderstanding and ignorance of the issues surrounding domestic abuse in the Jewish community have created great difficulty for victims of abuse to acknowledge their situations and to seek and obtain proper help and support; and

WHEREAS, Jewish women stay longer in abusive situations than do non-Jewish women, by an average of five to seven years,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Council of America calls on its member rabbis to educate themselves in the recognition and counseling of abused women, to develop programs which educate their communities as to the existence of the problem within the Jewish community, to work with local law enforcement and social service agencies to sensitize them to the specific needs and concerns of the Jewish community, and to develop such counseling and support services necessary to provide safety and hope to those in our community who live in fear and whose physical, emotional and spiritual well-beings are endangered.

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