New Program/Website Targets Jewish Children, Teens, and Adults Suffering from the Impact of Childhood Maltreatment

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 General News
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BALTIMORE, June 3 A new website( provides background on the issue of physical,sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect of Jewish children. It helpsidentify, advocate for, respond to, and provide specialized services forchildren, adolescents, and adults who are suffering from the impact of childmaltreatment. Although the Shofar Coalition is a Baltimore-based group, theinformation on the website is applicable to any Jewish community.

"Nobody really wants to face the fact that physical, sexual, or emotionalabuse could be happening in our families, in our schools, in our synagogues,in our community, and that's really the biggest issue -- helping peopleunderstand that putting it on a shelf and ignoring it doesn't make it goaway," said Esther Giller, president and director of the nonprofit SidranTraumatic Stress Institute of Baltimore.

Sidran Institute convened the Shofar Coalition, a collaborative of 31Jewish and secular organizations to address the effects of abuse and familydysfunction in the Jewish community. "Last year, revelations about rabbinicalabuse came up in the local Jewish newspaper and in other cities as well.Increased awareness of these problems dovetailed with Sidran's objective fromthe very beginning," Giller said. The name Shofar was chosen as a symbol of acommunity-wide Call to Action to recognize and address the traumatic effectsof abuse in the Jewish community, and especially on Jewish children andadolescents.

The new website also provides resources and links, survivor testimony, anda connection to the Sidran Help Desk (, which provides, at nocost, general information about trauma, treatment resources and names ofindividual therapists nationwide, reading recommendations, and individualizedself-advocacy education for survivors of trauma.

The Shofar Coalition is made up of service agencies (both Jewish andsecular), rabbis (all denominations), Hebrew day schools, private practicetherapists, survivors and family members, advocacy organizations, and laycommunity leaders. Rather than "reinvent the wheel," the approach is tobetter coordinate the rich programs already in place by Coalition partners andbuild new programming only when gaps are identified. Coalition activitiesalso include professional training, public awareness, and survivor support.

The Coalition's target populations include: child and adolescent victimsof physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse (both intra- and extra-familial);children exposed to domestic violence; children of alcoholic, addicted, ormentally ill parents; and adult survivors of childhood trauma.

"Perhaps there was a time we wished to pretend these issues didn't occurin the Jewish community, but that time has long passed," states Rabbi AmyScheinerman of Carroll County's Beth Shalom Congregation, noting that childabuse is interwoven with problems such as drug and alcohol abuse and rabbisneed to learn how to confront that and to educate their community effectively.

The Shofar Coalition is a program of Sidran Institute(, a national nonprofit providing education, advocacy,and resources on healing the complex effects of traumatic stress. TheCoalition Director is Elaine Witman.

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information,visit contact: Esther Giller 410-825-8888 ext. 207

SOURCE Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute

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