A Message from Naomi Senser, SHALVA Board President
On behalf of the SHALVA Board of Directors, I want to wish you a very happy and healthy 2023.
This year will bring several changes to SHALVA. After 9 years of service, our wonderful Executive Director Carol Ruderman will be retiring on January 15.
Carol’s tenure at SHALVA has been remarkable for helping us achieve both financial security and a strong, respected position in the Chicagoland Jewish community and among national DV associations. She has guided SHALVA with a dedicated, gentle, and understanding hand. She brought on new staff members in the outreach, administrative, and clinical departments who seamlessly meshed with our experienced staff to improve our ability to help our clients and educate the community about domestic abuse. Carol also shepherded in the programs Show You Care, an interactive virtual program to guide family and friends of those experiencing abuse, and Seven Circles, a healthy relationship program for young couples. SHALVA will be forever grateful for Carol’s leadership these past 8 years. She will be missed, and we wish her well in her retirement.
Losing an executive director is always hard, but we are very pleased and confident to tell you that our incoming executive director will be equally excellent. I would like to introduce you to Marlene Copeland Dodinval, who began as SHALVA’s executive director on January 3.
She and Carol will share two weeks working together to help ensure a smooth transition. Marlene is a Chicago native who grew up in West Rogers Park. She comes to us after an impressive career of leadership positions in the nonprofit world, most recently as Executive Director – Illinois, at Jewish National Fund–USA. She also serves as a member of the North American Board of the Union of Reform Judaism and is an active member of her synagogue, where she previously served as president. Marlene is a graduate of the University of Illinois Business School and holds a master’s degree in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.
With Marlene’s leadership, we plan to increase our outreach to all parts of the Jewish community to educate and support those affected by domestic abuse. Our Seven Circles program is strong and growing in participants. Our outreach to the wider community includes educating first responders, the legal community, rabbinic leaders, and many others.
COVID-19 was difficult for all of us as we shifted to work from home, but the silver lining was our ability to “pivot” to virtual therapy. We are back to serving clients in the office, while those who find it more beneficial to continue remotely can still do that. Additionally, our ability to do virtual therapy means we can be available to help Jewish women throughout the state of Illinois.
I want to thank you, our friends and donors, for helping make all this possible. With your continued support and under Marlene’s leadership, we look forward to being able to bring healing to many more Jewish women experiencing the anguish of domestic abuse. We anticipate a day when we all can enjoy a truly healthy and happy new year.