It is an honor to serve as SHALVA’s president. I follow an impressive group of people who have shepherded SHALVA to its current place of strength. We are blessed with a caring, hands-on board, generous donors, and dedicated staff members. If only we could manage ourselves out of business! Sadly, ending domestic violence in our community is an ongoing endeavor.
Over the next few years, we hope to extend our marketing efforts to educate more community members and professionals about domestic violence, and to reach all those suffering from abuse. Prevention is key! We would also like to significantly grow our newly established Legacy Fund, so that for generations to come, those in need of our services will have a specialized place for help, especially during challenging times.
I wish you all happy, healthy new year.
Amy Brown Tuchler
On June 20, more than 400 people attended the SHALVA annual luncheon at The Standard Club. The featured speaker, Cara Brookins, escaped an abusive marriage with her four children and then devised a big plan to rebuild their lives. With no one to turn to but herself, she built a house from watching only YouTube videos.
Reflecting on the event, board member and luncheon co-chair Stacy Halpern was thrilled with the results: “I was so happy to see so many people come out and support SHALVA at the luncheon. Domestic abuse needs to end and our donors are helping to make that happen.”
Thank you to the community, our guests and event sponsors for raising $200,000 for victims of intimate partner violence. Special thanks to sponsors CIBC, Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, G&M Electrical Contractors, Gutnicki LLP, Andra & Irwin Press, Viki & Tom Rivkin and Terry Schwartz.
Domestic violence happens at all ages. At SHALVA, we have always had a few older clients, but recently more women over 70 have been coming for counseling. #Metoo has been a big reason for this trend. “Those girls were so brave. It gave me the courage to pick up the phone and ask for help,” said one client.
Why does someone stay in an abusive relationship for so long? As another survivor stated:
“It’s hard to leave the relationship because you’ve invested so many years…And you just don’t give up something like that and admit that you failed…You thought you were going to reform him in all these years and you didn’t. So giving up is a heavy thing. It can leave an older person feeling really bad about herself…”
Sue* has been married to an abusive man for 35 years. Years of abuse destroyed her confidence and she blamed herself for her unhappy life and her children’s problems. After hearing so many #Metoo stories, Sue knew she didn’t want to do this for the rest of her life. At age 72, she picked up her phone and called SHALVA. “If not now, when?” she asked herself. Now, she is working weekly with her SHALVA counselor to rebuild her self-esteem, understand why she stayed and learn to forgive herself. “It has been a tremendous help to have your support. Thank you!”
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Do you know what to say or do when someone you care about may be in an abusive relationship?
The best thing you can do is to listen, judgment free. There are many ways to help:
- TALK WITH THEM PRIVATELY and in person, if possible. Assure them that your conversation will remain confidential and live up to that promise.
- TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED for their welfare and why. Be specific about the behavior that you think is abusive.
- ASK IF THEY ARE AFRAID for themselves or their children. Remind them that domestic violence is a crime.
- HELP THEM plan for their safety.
- LISTEN, believe and affirm their feelings. This may be the first time their feelings have ever been acknowledged. “You don’t deserve this”, “This is not your fault” and “I believe you” are all helpful things to say.
- ASSURE THEM that they are not alone, and that they are important to you. “You are such a good friend to me. You are such a kind parent.”
- REMIND THEM that shalom bayit (peace in the home) is everyone’s responsibility.
- SUGGEST PRACTICAL RESOURCES such as SHALVA, social service agencies, therapists, rabbis, and school counselors.
- OFFER HELP that you can realistically deliver. You may not be able to offer a safe place to stay, but you could store their important documents or care for a pet.
- LET THEM MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS and respect their choices even if you don’t agree. Be a safe and supportive person in their life.
SHALVA was honored to be recognized at the Create a Jewish Legacy Annual Celebration on July 31 at The Standard Club. As one donor said so beautifully, “because SHALVA was such a lifesaver to me personally, I wanted to insure its continuity and ability to help other women by leaving a legacy gift.”
A wholehearted thank you to members of our Legacy Circle, listed below. Their leadership and commitment will help Jewish survivors of domestic abuse get the support and services they need for generations to come.
To learn more, please contact Carol Ruderman, Executive Director, by phone 773- 583-4673 or e-mail [email protected]. If you have already included a legacy gift in your will or estate plans, kindly notify SHALVA so we can thank you.
Want to see Dear Evan Hansen, the award-winning musical? Join SHALVA on Sunday, March 3, 2019 for the 2 pm performance at the Oriental Theatre.
SHALVA has loge and side orchestra tickets available. Ticket information can be found online at shalvaonline.org/dear-evan-hansen/