By Naomi Taffet
Assistant Director, CHANA
Our rabbis teach us that the current Jewish holiday, Tisha B’Av, is a day of mourning. We remember the destruction of the first and second temples, as well as countless other tragedies that have occurred during this time of year throughout our history as a people. This is the one time during the year when synagogue lights are dimmed, the mood is somber, and tears are commonly shed as we read prayers and prose from the Book of Lamentations.
Yet, in many ways Tisha B’Av is not so unique from any other day. Just as the temples were destroyed, Jewish homes and lives are being destroyed every day of the year by domestic violence and sexual abuse. 22 percent of American women and 7 percent of American men report being physically abused by an intimate partner over their lifetimes. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in our country. These statistics hold true across all parts of society, including our own Jewish community.
As the Israelites struggled tirelessly to rebuild the broken pieces of their temples, so do victims and survivors work to rebuild safe and healthy lives for themselves and their children. Our community must continue to band together to support survivors so that they never feel the need to rebuild alone. Our goal at CHANA is to empower individuals, families and the community at large with support, strength and hope as they navigate through the rebuilding process. We must continue to meet individuals where they are in the process and give them the tools they need to find peace and safety. Our restoration cannot end until all the members of our community can live in peace without fear of future destruction.
It is customary on Tisha B’Av to recite the Kaddish. Jewish Women International has created a customized misheberach for survivors of trauma.
The misheberach reads:
“May the One who blessed our ancestors Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, provide protection, compassion, care and healing for all those who have known violence and abuse within their families. May those who have been harmed find pathways to understanding and wholeness and those who have caused harm find their way to repentance and peace. May our community be a source of support for those who have suffered in silence or shame. May those whose homes have become places of danger find their way to a sukkat shalom, a shelter of safety. Amen.”
If you, or someone you know, is in need of help, please contact CHANA or the Shofar Coalition at -410-234-0030, or visit chanabaltimore.org.