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The Shofar Coalition

Visit the Shofar Coalition's website at http://www.shofarcoalition.org.

The Shofar Coalition has been ceded to Chana, A program of The Associated. To reach the current program, click here

For generations, the Jewish people have fought to end injustices inflicted upon them by others. But sometimes they have remained silent about the injustices they inflict upon each other—especially regarding the issue of abuse and neglect that occurs in Jewish families and in communities.

The name Shofar was chosen as a symbol of a community-wide call to action to recognize and address the traumatic effects of abuse in the Jewish community, and especially on Jewish children and adolescents. Shofar’s vision is to create a strong coalition of diverse talents and to foster the development and implementation of a truly collaborative campaign to address the needs of Jewish families exposed to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect.

THE NEED FOR A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
The elements of a successful collaboration—leading to real change for the better—exist at the heart of the Shofar Coalition, and are central to Sidran’s programming philosophy. Sidran uses the Wilder Foundation definition of collaboration:

A mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more partners to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone.

Because the long-term effects of abuse and neglect can be both wide and deep they require a multi-disciplinary response to support affected individuals and families while they heal. Communities are clearly more likely to achieve real sustained change toward ending abuse and healing its victims by working together collaboratively. Collaboration lightens the burden of difficult work by allowing partners together to recognize and address common challenges, vulnerabilities, and barriers. It also allows participants to support one another as peers, whether their colleagues in the effort are fellow survivors of abuse, clergy or synagogue leaders, service providers, community activists, or advocates for loved ones.

OBJECTIVES
    
• To improve the understanding in Baltimore’s Jewish Community of the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social effects of abuse and neglect on children, adolescents, and adults.

     • To more effectively address the multidimensional needs of Jewish victims of interpersonal abuse and their families.

     • To promote and foster respectful and nurturing relationships between parents and children and between all family members.

Facing issues of abuse and neglect within one’s own family and community, like any honest introspective effort, is very difficult work—for the families involved, the helping professionals providing services to the families, and for the larger community in which abusive dynamics can hide and fester. Typical effects can include:

     • Alienation from Judaism and the Jewish community
     • Psychological/emotional issues (depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias, etc.)
     • Medical concerns (including heart disease, pulmonary disease, digestive disorders, gynecological and obstetrical problems, and more)
     • Alcohol abuse and other addictions
     • Failure to thrive in school
     • Dangerous risk-taking
     • Self-injury
     • Sleep disorders
     • Eating disorders

 STRATEGIES

     • Educate professionals, parents, and the general public about the effects of trauma on children, including:
     •  recognizing children and families who need help
     •  how to safely intervene to prevent children from being harmed
     •  where to turn for help
     • Partner with synagogues, schools, caregivers, and child-serving organizations to
     •  identify and effectively refer children/families dealing with abuse and neglect to community resources
     •  build sensitivity and skills for responding to traumatized students, and
     •  provide prevention education to parents and young couples
     • Partner with clergy and congregations to develop
     •  understanding of the issues, including the effects of abuse on Jewish spirituality and how Jewish spirituality can help heal trauma
     •  knowledge of and comfort with referring to community resources
     •  tools for congregational leaders speaking out on the topic and
     •  awareness of workshops, speakers, and parenting programs available from the Shofar Coalition and elsewhere
     • Create professional cross-training partnerships to foster collaboration, holistic service provision, and referrals on topics including domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, addictions, mental health, etc., for
     •  Jewish organizations and agencies
     •  secular agencies which serve Jewish families
     •  Rabbis and congregational leaders
     •  school personnel
     •  primary care providers

ACTION STEPS
The Shofar Coalition’s first big task is to develop a “Jewish Plan for Awareness and Response to Family Abuse” for the Baltimore Jewish Community. There is a clear consensus about the need for such an approach. Ample ability and talents exist in the excellent social services within the Baltimore Jewish community. What has—so far—been missing is a detailed, organized, culturally sensitive, and agreed-upon plan for a coordinated response by willing partners.

Funding for a planning period has been secured to:

     • Assess the strengths and needs in the Baltimore area for holistic services and supports for abused individuals and their families.
     • Recruit and cement collaborative partnerships among:
     •  health, service, and community support providers
     •  congregational leaders
     •  religious and day-school personnel
     •  Jewish civic organizations
     •  Jewish abuse survivors and their families
     •  Leaders of the Jewish business community
     •  Jewish media
     •  Plan a public awareness campaign
     • Write, distribute, and publicize an action plan for a communitywide Jewish response to abuse and neglect among our own
     • Plan a parallel coalition of funders to support implementation of the “Jewish Plan for Awareness and Response to Family Abuse”

COLLABORATIVE PARTNERS (AS OF AUGUST 2006)
The ASSOCIATED
     Baltimore Board of Rabbis
     Baltimore Child Abuse Center
     Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office
     Bikkur Cholim
     CHANA
     Etz Chaim Center
     Hadassah of Greater Baltimore
     Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
     House of Ruth
     Hopkins Hillel
     Jewish Addiction Services
     Jewish Big Brother League
     Jewish Family Services
     JSafe (The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment)
     Jewish Women International
     Jews for Judaism
     Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center
     Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence
     MD Healthcare Coalition against Domestic Violence
     Mid-Atlantic JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others
     National Council of Jewish Women
     Office of the Attorney General of Maryland
     Rabbinical Council of Greater Baltimore
     Shleimut, Jewish Community Center
     Sidran Institute
     Sinai Family Violence Program
     Tova House
     TurnAround
     University of Maryland School of Social Work

Individual members:
     • Psychotherapists in private practice
     • Adult survivors of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or domestic violence in childhood or adulthood
     • Family members of survivors
     • Individual rabbis
     • Community leaders and advocates

PROJECTS
About Sidran Projects
Spirituality and Victims Services Initiative
Risking Connection
Faith in Health
The Shofar Coalition
Healing Self-Injury
Sidran's Speakers Bureau
Archived Past Projects
 
 
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"We help people understand, recover from, and treat trauma and dissociation"