by Nomi Teutsch
“On May 28 in Jerusalem, clergy of all major faith communities in Israel — Jews, Druze, Christians and Muslims — came together, gathering for
the day of learning and training, an initiative of the Interreligious Coordinating Council of Israel and Kol HaIsha, gave the religious leaders an opportunity to gain insight into the dynamics of domestic violence, and equipped them with practical skills for how to respond when they are next faced with cases in their communities.
In a country characterized by divisive, often violent conflicts and yawning gaps between communities, it was astonishing and inspiring to see these religious leaders reach across boundaries to exchange knowledge and support one another. In interactive workshops the clergy exchanged personal experiences and gave each other tips and feedback on how to identify what’s really happening in families in their communities, as well as when to intervene and how. Though there are, of course, differences in norms and practices across congregations, the clergy members were united by their powerful role in their communities, and a commitment to taking responsibility for their part in responding to domestic violence.”
“Religious leaders have a special role to play when it comes to domestic violence, both because members of their communities turn to them and because they set public norms and values. The fact that these leaders are committed to understanding the issue and using their influence to make a positive change is hugely exciting, and has the potential to be truly transformative for communities across the country.”
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