By Danielle Cantor, JWI Design and Communications Manager
You never know who is sitting next to you at synagogue, especially during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services when attendance swells and the sanctuary is full. That’s what makes the High Holidays such a crucial time for congregations to raise awareness among members about issues – such as domestic violence – that impact the entire community. For the second year, JWI’s Clergy Task Force is encouraging rabbis nationwide to use its misheberach prayer in their High Holiday services, calling for the healing of families touched by domestic violence. The multi-denominational prayer is written in both English and Hebrew, and is particularly appropriate this year because the fall Holidays run into October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“When rabbis mention something in public, it signals that they are approachable and available to talk about the issue,” says Rabbi Richard Hirsh, executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and co-chair of the Task Force. “It may help someone who may be ambivalent to step forward.” Task Force co-chair Rabbi Marla Hornsten of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Mich., adds that “this prayer reminds us that we can’t simply sit by when people are not safe in their homes.”