A group of representatives from Shalom Task Force presented at an international conference in Israel, for the second year in a row. Hundreds of religious professionals and laypeople from all sectors of the global Jewish community traveled to Jerusalem to attend the conference, “Shedding Light on the Darkness
of Abuse,” which was organized by Tahel - Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children.
The three-day event, from Nov. 30-Dec. 2, featured informative and thought-provoking sessions and training given by experts on a wide range of topics relating to domestic violence and abuse, with specific tracks geared toward rabbis, educators, lawyers, therapists and others in the field. The conference also provided a certificate training on the topic of violence and abuse in the Jewish community.
The Shalom Task Force contingent included Erin Bistricer, attorney for Sarah’s Voice Legal Services; Rikki Davies, MSW, Shalom Task Force’s Director of Education in Israel; and board members Surel Goldfinger, Aviva Hoch and Rachel Marks, several of whom presented at the sessions.
Bistricer presented on two intriguing legal topics. One of her sessions focused on how to identify and address false accusations that are alleged against a client in the matrimonial/family law context. Her second presentation centered on how domestic abuse particularly impacts clients who are experiencing severe financial hardships. Understanding the dynamics of abuse and poverty and the potential financial relief available is vital when representing these clients.
“The conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet individuals from a broad range of professional and geographic backgrounds who are all involved in this difficult line of work,” Bistricer said. “It was fascinating to hear the different approaches and perspectives within the Jewish community. I’m excited to apply the knowledge I gained from the conference as I continue my work on behalf of Sarah’s Voice clients for Shalom Task Force.”
Marks presented on the topic of the New York Get Law, alongside attorneys from Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, who each spoke about get legislation in their jurisdictions. “The conference was a unique opportunity to network with people from around the world and exchange ideas to better service our clients and survivors of abuse,” said Marks.
For Goldfinger, the legal sessions were particularly stimulating, as she gained a new perspective on the get issue and how it can be handled in civil court. “I learned about lawyers using civil rights as a defense for getting their clients a get, and how they can argue that not giving a get is akin to domestic violence,” she noted.
Participants benefitted from the opportunity to meet with other organizations who have similar goals to Shalom Task Force, sharing success stories and swapping tips on how to improve certain programs or services.
“We met social workers from London who started a hotline for child abuse and they were thrilled to hear from us about how we run our hotline,” said Hoch. “Everybody was able to learn something new because of the amazing synergy between the attendees. I gained some insights into several topics I hadn’t known about before, and it was also encouraging to see that the community is making progress on the issue of child abuse in Israel.”
Founded 23 years ago, Shalom Task Force promotes peaceful family resolutions and healthy marriages for Jewish families. STF offers legal services and maintains an anonymous domestic abuse Hotline (718.377.3700) that has received thousands of calls. The organization also sends staff members to speak about relationships to Jewish high schools across America and seminaries and yeshivas in Israel. Your support enables STF to provide quality programs at no cost to participants. Please donate at www.ShalomTaskForce.org. For additional information about our programs, please call 212.742.1478.