BETRAYING THEIR SACRED TRUST ¾ Section 5
In this electronic age, with instant access to the World Wide Web, there are sources available to those who would learn more about the subject of those Jewish clergy (rabbis, cantors, and chaplains) who would betray their sacred trust through sexual boundary violations.
Victoria (Vicki) Polin is the Executive Director of "The Awareness Center" which is located in Baltimore. "The Awareness Center is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). Its purpose is to help educate our community (mental health professionals, rabbis, legal and law enforcement officials, medical professions, parents, friends, etc.) on the issues and ramifications of childhood sexual abuse, and to remind survivors of sexual violence that they are not alone."21 Another area of concern for The Awareness Center is women and men who have been abused by rabbis, cantors, chaplains, and other trusted officials in the Jewish community as is explained on its website.
The Awareness Center has a web page: www.TheAwarenessCenter.org. On a regular basis the Center publishes news articles about sexual boundary violators reported in the press. The web page lists over eighty rabbis, cantors and other religious figures accused and/or convicted of sexual boundary violations. Of this list, about half already were convicted of these crimes.
It also has links to agencies and websites that work in a similar area such as Jewish Women International, which has a rabbinic manual and guide; and the previously mentioned FaithTrust Institute, formerly known as the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (CPSDV).
FaithTrust Institute is a non-profit organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1977 by the Rev. Marie M. Fortune, FaithTrust Institute is an interreligious educational resource addressing issues of sexual and domestic violence. Its goal is to engage religious leaders in the task of ending abuse, and to serve as a bridge between religious and secular communities.
The FaithTrust Institute's mission is described as "Working together to
end sexual and domestic violence." It continues to be a leader in providing
training and educational resources for clergy, lay leaders, seminary faculty,
chaplains, policy makers of religious institutions, and community advocates on
the faith aspects of sexual and domestic violence.
The Institute has a director of Jewish Programs, Rabbi Cindy Enger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Coincidentally the FaithTrust Institute has an amazing video for clergy dealing with the topic of Sexual and Domestic Violence.
Still another organization that deals with violence against women is Jewish Women International. Founded in 1897 as B'nai B'rith women, it honors the concept of tikkun olam – repairing the world-through education, advocacy and action.
Jewish Women International provides a resource center for information on domestic violence in the Jewish community. It has available a Resource Guide for Rabbis on Domestic Violence.
In addition, through this group one can access a Bibliography of Resources on Sexual and Domestic Violence in the Jewish Community compiled by Marcia Cohn Spiegel.
Further, Jewish Women International sponsors the Shalom Task Force, which is
a free Hotline providing information on rabbinic, legal and counseling service
for anyone in the Jewish community in an abusive situation (888-883-2323).
© 2004 David J. Zucker
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