NJ Shluchim receives training to identify domestic abuse


The New Jersey Mental Health Initiative, a support resource for local Chabad Shluchim, hosted a 5-hour class on how to help a family struggling with domestic violence. Full story

by Chana Kornfeld

What is the role of a schlia’h? Some would say he is a soul igniter, and that would be true. Others would say he is a visionary and builder of Jewish monuments across the world, and that would also be true. But perhaps the most essential role of a Shliach is to provide whatever another Jew needs. And people’s needs change; with each generation new challenges arise and today, while most people’s wombs are happily full of nourishment, many feel an emptiness in their hearts and souls. As community leaders, the Shlushim are often called upon in times of need, and today more than ever, the psychological and emotional needs of the population are great.

In response to the current needs of our communities, the Rabbinical College of America has launched an innovative and robust new program: The Mental Health Initiative of New Jersey. The Initiative is an invaluable and supportive resource for the New Jersey Shluchim and the wider New Jersey community, offering professional development workshops and trainings focused on mental health awareness, programming to community scale and “kinusim” (gatherings) for the Shluchim families.

Last week at Chabad of Short Hills was one of those events. In partnership with Shalom Task Force, a Jewish organization dedicated to preventing domestic violence and promoting healthy and safe relationships in family units, the initiative has offered Shluchim, who is serious about expanding his knowledge and skills in in the area of ​​mental health, comprehensive training on domestic violence.

“The Shluchim have always been at the forefront of meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of their communities. The Mental Health Initiative, with programs like Yesterday’s Training, gives them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of mental health wellness, ”said Rabbi Mendy herson, Associate Dean of the Rabbinical College of America.

Abuse is sometimes a reality, and a family struggling with domestic violence certainly needs help. To navigate the predicament of child abuse, a rabbi must be prepared with the knowledge and ability to counsel and guide a struggling family to helpful resources. Yesterday’s clergy training on domestic violence was delivered by a rabbi, therapist and lawyer to give participants a deep understanding of the topic and to examine the essential role of the Shliach when it comes to a family. suffering from domestic violence.

During the 5-hour training, participants learned the telltale signs of abuse, the components of healthy and unhealthy relationships, the legal ramifications of a domestic violence case, and how best to support a struggling family.

“I found the training on domestic violence very informative,” says rabbi Mendy Kasowitz of Chabad from Orange Occidentale. “As shluchim and community leaders, many of us have faced some form of domestic violence within our circles. It is useful to be able to receive this training from professionals in the field.

Maybe it’s just as important to get together with our shluchim brethren from New Jersey. We are grateful to the organizers and host shluchim for sponsoring us and making this possible.

Since its inception last January, the Mental Health Initiative has organized dozens of events with a mix of vocational trainings, community events and social gatherings for Shluchim and their families.

The goal of the Mental Health Initiative is to support mental wellness in the New Jersey community in general and in community members individually through the dedicated and talented team at Shluchim. The initiative also focuses on supporting the Shluchim themselves. Nothing revitalizes the mind like human connection and therefore the initiative is dedicated to fostering meaningful bonds between Fellow Shluchim and Fellow Shluchos through social gatherings.

The Shluchim have embraced the initiative and find that progressive programming strengthens their sacred work. Not only are the Shluchim expanding their own skills and knowledge in the field of mental health, but they are also advancing the cause of mental and emotional well-being in their communities.

Looking back on the huge success of the year, the Mental Health Initiative is excited about future growth and innovation. Launching in January is an allowance program for Shluchim families to offset the cost of individual therapy.

“The mental health initiative in the NJ is unprecedented,” says Mushky Levinson, the project coordinator. “We have received excellent feedback and requests for future programming and are delighted to implement them. “

With Chabad’s ultimate goal of Eternal Peace, the Mental Health Initiative strives for inner peace and aims to support the esteemed Shluchim of New Jersey in their sacred work of meeting the inner needs of every Jew.


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