Sexual Assault Victims Afraid to Come Forward

chana banner

As almost 20 women across the country have come forward to accuse an iconic entertainer of sexual assault and many other express outrage, hundreds of people give him a standing ovation at a comedy performance in Florida. And this is not unusual. People who speak about being sexually assaulted or abused often find that the general public seem to feel entitled to pass judgment on their motivation, their character and even the truthfulness of their claim without the benefit of any knowledge of the facts in the matter. All the while the accused perpetrator is lauded and in many cases defended.

Knowing that complete strangers, who may only have a hint of information, find it acceptable to discuss these personal, intimate matters, while voicing strong, and not necessarily positive opinions about the victims, can be part of what prevents those assaulted from coming forward. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles standing between those who experienced abuse and justice.

Victims quite often blame themselves about what they could have done differently, or how they should have known the assault was going to happen. There is often fear of the perpetrator. Whether real or exaggerated, victims often are afraid of what other harm could come to them or to their loved ones.

There is also a great deal of shame for those who have had their bodies violated. When we are shamed, there is a huge urge to avoid any situation or interaction that will bring attention to what happened. So the idea of being asked intimate details and then having those answers scrutinized is just too much for many people.  When the perpetrator is famous, there is even more negative attention.

What can also be particularly discouraging for those who have not felt comfortable speaking up, is hearing friends and family criticize other victims. Many of us do not realize that 20 percent – or two out of every 10 individuals – are sexually abused. That means that when we share these comments in a group — wondering out loud why a victim didn’t speak up sooner or commenting about a victim’s clothing or choice in companions — we may be contributing to a victim’s reluctance to come forward for fear of being hurt again, Yet telling someone is the only way to start the healing process.

The Baltimore Jewish community provides a channel for victims to tell and that is CHANA.

CHANA provides crisis intervention, education, trauma therapy and consultation for victims and their families while advocating for community awareness, safety and healing.

While it is the job of the staff at CHANA to directly respond to these courageous victims, it is everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of their words and actions in the face of stories about abuse.  Let us not allow our thoughtless comments create any additional barriers for the silent victims in our presence to come forward to find help, hope and healing.

Learn more about CHANA.

 

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Filed under Families, Social Services, Uncategorized, Women

5 Things To Do This Week in Baltimore

Check out these great events for the whole family sponsored by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore or Associated agencies.

Christopher O’Riley – Out Of My Hands
Saturday, December 6, 8:00 p.m.
Gordon Center for Performing Arts
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Imagine hearing the famous rock tunes of REM, Nirvana and Pink Floyd transformed into contemporary classical masterpieces. Christopher O’Riley, recognized as one of the leading American pianists of his generation and host of the popular NPR music program, From the Top, introduces Baltimore audiences to the next generation of classical music stars. Enjoy his renditions of the music of Radiohead, Portishead, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Tears for Fears and Elliott Smith. Sponsored by the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, tickets are $28 in advance; $32 at the door. For information, go to jcc.org/Gordon-center/music/.

Priceless Dress Exchange
Sunday, December 7, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Mitchell David Teen Center
A large selection of ‘brand new, with tags’ special occasion dresses from a well-known boutique has been received and we are GIVING THEM AWAY to teen girls who are looking to save some money this B’nai Mitzvah season. Event is held in conjunction with CHANA.
For information, go to jointeens.org/priceless-dresses/

A Family Chanukah with Joanie Leeds
Sunday, December 7, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Jewish Museum of Maryland at the Herbert Bearman Campus
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It’s Downtown Dollar Day and families can get into the Chanukah mood with a rocking family Chanukah concert featuring Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights! Your family will sing and dance to the music of this gifted children’s musician, whose albums include City Kid, Parent’s choice award-winner, and I’m a Rock Star. Then create a handmade Chanukah-themed craft.
For information, go to jewishmusuem.org.

Community Screening of Beneath the Helmet
Monday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.
Beth Tfiloh Rosen Arts Center
Take yourself inside the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for the Baltimore premier of Beneath the Helmut, a documentary film that explores the intimate journey of young Israelis as they prepare to defend their country at any cost. Following the film, Lt. (res.) Aviv Regev, featured in Beneath the Helmet, will join former IDF soldiers who served in elite combat units, for a panel discussion.
Tickets are $5 for adults and free for students with ID. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Event is held in conjunction with Beth Tfiloh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn
Monday, December 8, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Edward A. Myerberg Center
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Is your child painfully shy or a tad rambunctious? Does he or she have trouble making friends? Do you need tools to teach them how to resolve an argument with a best friend?
If so, this program is for you. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, psychologist and writer, whose articles have appeared in Parents magazine and the Huffington Post, will share “5 People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn.”
Program is presented by SHEMESH. A $5 donation is suggested. Go to shemeshbaltimore.org/events for more information.

 

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Meet Ellen Jarrett

Chai Ground breaking

Twenty-three years ago, Ellen Jarrett, arrived at CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, to help the organization develop affordable senior housing. The organization had recently commissioned a study which determined a need for 1,500 units in Northwest Baltimore.

Ellen, who had recently received her Masters in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University, and had some background working at HUD, brought knowledge on the development process to make this dream a reality. The first project she worked on for CHAI was Weinberg House, which opened 20 years ago.

From the beginning, it was a huge success. “I’ll never forget opening our first senior living community. I remember we had 1,000 applications for only 116 units. The northwest community hadn’t seen anything like this project. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

Since then, Ellen has been involved with the development of CHAI’s 16 affordable senior housing projects.  We talked to Ellen about her role at CHAI and how senior housing has evolved in the past two decades.

Tell me about Weinberg House.
We wanted to provide state-of-the-art senior housing in the Jewish community. The first project we built was Weinberg House, 116 units for seniors, located near the Giant in Pikesville. We wanted to include technology so that individuals could live there as long as possible.

CHAI decided to offer a number of amenities to enable “aging in place” including implementing a congregate meal program and hiring staff to link residents to outside services. In the design of the building we decided to build public spaces so residents could socialize, and we put in showers even though that was not the trend in senior housing at the time. But we understood that having showers would make it easier for these individuals to age in place and be safe.
We also used BG&E incentives to make the project energy efficient, even before green was popular.

What else made Weinberg House special?
This was an apartment building for low-income seniors that didn’t look low income. They felt as if they were living in a market rate apartment building.

After Weinberg House, what were your next projects?
CHAI began to build senior living facilities every two years. We built Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Woods and Weinberg Gardens. We knew, overall, we needed 1,600 units, but one of our primary sources of funding – funding from the HUD 202 program – was decreasing, which resulted in us having to build smaller projects, with fewer units. We were fortunate. CHAI developed a partnership with the Weinberg Foundation, , and we were able to secure funding from them as well as from the State of Maryland, Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Weinberg Village in Owings Mills?
We built five apartment buildings on the Owings Mills campus and we tweaked the design from some of our previous projects. We realized that it would be more appealing if we opened up the kitchen and living/dining area. We added green technologies and gave seniors pendants to wear to keep them safe. As technology became more efficient, we were able to add such things as video entrance systems.

I see CHAI was involved with a project outside its core market.
Yes. Last winter, in a partnership with Park Heights Renaissance, we opened Jean Yarborough Renaissance Gardens, a 60-unit independent living apartment complex for limited income seniors. It was the area’s first new construction project in over 10 years. Although not in our core neighborhood, we believe it’s important to focus on the neighborhoods around us. If they are strong, we are strong.

What’s next?
Weinberg Manor South, a 90-unit facility for low-income seniors, located in Upper Park Heights, opens this winter. We’re also beginning to develop small-scale housing for people with disabilities, buying existing homes and renovating them for- three people. And, CHAI is continuing to investigate ways to create affordable family housing in the area. We recently purchased a small complex of 13 units which we intend to renovate and preserve as affordable housing for families in our core service area.

What have you learned?
You never stop learning in this industry. Change continues with government funding and regulations.   We’ve learned how to look for other sources of funding and partnerships as federal government money dried up.
In addition, we learned to look at each project separately to determine what would make them most effective for seniors. Some, like Weinberg House, have a grocery store nearby, so we didn’t have to worry about transportation. When we built others, like Weinberg Village, we realized we needed to build a transportation program.
Learn more about Weinberg Senior Living.

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A Great Way to Help on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday Phoneathon

By Anna and Daniel Klein
Co-chairs, #GivingTuesday Community Phone-a-thon

It’s safe to say that giving isn’t new to any of us. From helping at our children’s schools to helping in the larger community, all of us want to make the world a better place, even if that that place is a small corner, especially if that place is Baltimore. So it was with great excitement that we agreed to chair The Associated’s #GivingTuesday phone-a-thon for our community. We wanted to help.

Like the act of giving, an Associated phone-a-thon isn’t new. It’s a time-honored and effective way to reach out to donors, inviting all to help ensure the strength of our community with their gift. As chairs of the #GivingTuesday phone-a-thon, we are excited about leading a group of dedicated volunteers who will call longtime and new donors to ask for a gift to the 2015 Annual Campaign. We’re calling all day, Tuesday, December 2, during three shifts: 10 a.m. to noon, noon to 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Our goal is to raise more than $1 million to help The Associated care for people in need.

We cannot think of a better day than #GivingTuesday to raise these funds. Part of a massive, now-global day of giving, #GivingTuesday exists as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now in its third year, #GivingTuesday has become a day devoted to collective giving … inspiring everyone, everywhere to give to favorite organizations and causes.

Our ask to Jewish Baltimore? Become involved on #GivingTuesday. Here are three ways:

  • Phone-a-thon: Whether you’ve made calls before or are a newbie, help raise funds for our community. We’ll show you how.
  • Book Donation: Bring new or gently-used books for pre-K to eighth graders at Cross Country Elementary Middle School, where the Jewish Volunteer Connection and CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., engage volunteers in the Bookworms reading program and in tutoring opportunities. Drop off your books at either the Weinberg Park Heights JCC or Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC lobbies.
  • Give: Strengthen, nurture and care for others with a gift to The Associated. Your gift – of any amount – matters. Plus, every gift increase and every new gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the #100DayChallenge.

Learn more: associated.org/givingtuesday.

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Eating Seasonally: The Farm-To-Table Movement

delicataroasted

Delicata Squash Dream Boat
(courtesy of Pearlstone Farm)

Cut two medium sized delicata squash lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and dispose. Put squash upside down on rimmed cookie sheet; add 1 cup of water to the sheet. Bake at 350 for half an hour.

Turn squash boats over and put a pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of real maple syrup in each cavity. Roast at 450 for an additional 10-15 minutes or until browned and soft. Remember that the delicata’s skin is tender and not bitter so eat whole!

It’s no secret that the farm-to-table movement is growing all over the country. From proliferating farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, to specialty restaurants like Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, people are taking a new interest in where their food comes from and how it is produced. The Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD is leading the charge on the farm-to-table movement in Baltimore’s Jewish community.

The farm to table movement is just what it says—a movement to bring food directly from the farm to your table. Restaurants that hold themselves out as being a part of the farm-to-table movement are ones who source their food from a farm, usually one close enough to visit.  And if you can visit the farm, speak with the farmer, see the animals grazing or the crops growing — there is a good chance the farmer has nothing to hide.

Farm-to-table restaurants are putting in the extra effort to source ingredients that might cost a little more because it is more expensive to produce crops when the workers are paid reasonable wages and animals are treated ethically. But the increased costs may be partially offset by lower delivery costs due to local sourcing.

The Pearlstone Center is proud of its growing farm-to-table program. Pearlstone’s perennial crops include divers fruit orchards, brambles, perennial herbs, asparagus and gourmet mushrooms on just over two acres of land. For the past four years, Pearlstone’s onsite farm has been gradually supplying more and more of its own kitchen’s seasonal produce. This year was also the first year Pearlstone began working with other small, local farmers to source more ingredients from nearby for its own kitchen.

Pearlstone also supports local restaurants in their efforts to join the farm-to-table movement.  Pearlstone’s farm supplies specialty items such as culinary herbs and log-grown shiitake mushrooms to some of Baltimore’s top restaurants. Pearlstone’s farm also makes weekly donations of fresh produce to a local homeless shelter during the growing season.

In 2014, Pearlstone’s educational programming included opportunities for guests to participate in the preparation of a farm-to-table meal, and then to enjoy a meal comprised of ingredients harvested from our farm that same day.  By all accounts, the meals were superb.

Also in 2014, Pearlstone started creating in-house jams, jellies and preserves to support year-round local offerings. During the shmitah year, when Pearlstone plans to take a step back from production farming, we hope to vastly increase our purchasing of other area small farmers’ produce. Putting dollars in the pockets of small local farmers is one of the best things we can do to support the local food industry.

Stay tuned for more exciting farm-to-table developments at Pearlstone, such as seasonal outdoor farm feasts, sustainable simcha offerings, and a line of home-made locally sourced products for sale in our gift shop.

Enjoy this winter side dish:
collard greens

Steamed Collard Greens
Wash one bunch collards and cut into one inch strips – you can trim the base of the leaves but keep the thick ribs intact.
Place in large covered pot with one inch water in bottom.
Steam  covered for 20-25 minutes or until center ribs are tender.
Drain liquid and add butter, lemon, maple syrup (optional) and salt and pepper to taste.

 

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A Precious Resource

resource library

By Melissa Cordish
As Jews, we understand that the concept of a covenant is central to our tradition. From Abraham and Sarah to our collective experience at Sinai, the theme of Brit appears over and over again. Striving to understand what is expected of us and working to fulfill these expectations is part of the essence of being a Jew. This concept is also key to the relationship between volunteers and the organizations for which they serve; A clear mutual understanding is critical the achievement of a meaningful volunteer experience. Members of boards or committees accept responsibility for their work and, in return, expect a level of respect and enrichment from their experience.

To facilitate this mutually beneficial relationship, The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership (CCEL) has developed a Brit Avodah, a covenant of service, between board members and the organizations they serve. CCEL works both within The Associated system and in the general Jewish community to ensure that those who generously give their time and talent come away from the experience feeling good about the work they have done and also enriched by their interaction with the organization.

This is no small feat. To achieve this goal, CCEL has developed the tools organizations need to keep volunteers engaged in their board or committee experience and works with organizations to help them put these best practices into action. A robust resource library covering everything from writing a D’var Torah to ice breakers for meetings to Jewish values is featured on the Associated’s website and is available to the community.

CCEL professionals and ambassadors also work directly with volunteers in The Associated system to ensure that their communal role is well-suited to their wants and needs. By meeting individually with each person and exploring his or her strengths and areas of interest, CCEL is able to match volunteers to the right leadership opportunity. Some people pursue involvement which utilizes their particular talents; others may choose an area of need which resonates with them. No matter what they seek, CCEL can help connect an interested volunteer with the right opportunity.

CCEL’s commitment to this mission reflects important elements in Jewish communal life in Baltimore – the effective use of the time and talent of our volunteers and the cultivation of a cadre of active leaders for tomorrow. These dedicated volunteers are an incredible asset to our community. The decisions made by these boards and committees have the potential to impact countless lives. And the stronger and better trained that cohort of leaders is, the stronger our community will be.

Baltimore is unique among Jewish communities. Many struggle to engage leaders and lack a plan for succession among their boards. The Associated has been training future generations for many years and benefits from a robust cadre of volunteers who are poised and prepared to lead our community for years to come. Every committee or board member working in our community has the ability to lead from any chair. These leaders move our communal agenda forward and take care of our community. Thanks to them and their willingness to learn and grow in their roles, our community truly is in good hands.

Melissa Cordish is chair of The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership.

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A Picture of Maryland/Israel Trade

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By Barry Bogage

There has been a flurry of comings and goings between Maryland and Israeli businesses recently. Next Tuesday, November 18, the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC) is hosting its fourth annual Showcase of Maryland/Israel Business. The Showcase, taking place at the Silver Spring Civic Center, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m., provides an opportunity for the over 20 Israeli companies that have offices in Maryland to show their products and technologies to the Maryland business and Jewish communities. Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at both the Department of Defense and the CIA will give the keynote.

Two weeks ago the MIDC hosted a delegation of Israeli cyber security companies for the CyberMaryland conference — Safe-T, RadiFlow, NextNine and Portnox – as well as Israel’s leading cyber security venture capital investor, Yoav Tzruya of Jerusalem Venture Partners. Yoav gave an amazing talk about Israel’s emergence as a cyber-security leader, using the country as a case study Maryland can emulate. He described Israel’s confluence of market need and customer base, innovators, investors and supportive government policy, such as incubators, that provide over a half million dollars in startup capital to entrepreneurs.

This week the MIDC’s Director of Business Development, Peter Telem, is participating in the Israel Homeland Security 2014 Conference to meet companies with the potential to do business in Maryland. Accompanying him is Nate Lesser, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Cyber Security Center of Excellence (NCCOE), a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg. NCCOE brings together consortia of entrepreneurs, corporations and government agency to address emerging cyber security threats. Israeli innovations can solve many of these problems. RadiFlow (mentioned above) is participating in an NCCOE “use case” project.

The MIDC is partnering with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) to recruit and host a delegation of Israeli companies to participate in the mHealth Summit the week of December 8 at National Harbor, the new Gaylord development across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. mHealth is the new word for mobile medical devices and smart phone applications, “apps,” that provide mobile healthcare, medical treatments and monitoring.

In business, you know you’re doing a good job when you have repeat customers. Telesofia Medical of Tel Aviv is returning again this year. Founded by a team of medical doctors and Internet industry veterans, Telesofia is answering the challenge of healthcare literacy and patient engagement by making medical information and instructions clear with interactive, personalized patient education videos. For example, the platform describes the proper use of medication, post-surgical procedures, discharge instructions and more. The fully branded videos are sent to patients via text or email or embedded in patient portals and apps.

There will be more exchanges during the first half of 2015. The MIDC is recruiting a delegation of Maryland companies to attend the Israel CyberTech Conference in March and Mixiii, a biomed and IT innovation conference, in May. We’ll host another delegation for an Israel Institute of Security Studies cyber security policy conference to be held at George Washington University in Washington, DC, in April. For information on any of these activities, please see marylandisrael.org.

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