Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis urges abused women to turn to JWA

His intervention follows a report in the JC on the sharp decline in referrals to the charity after the terrorist attacks in Israel


LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis speaks at a National Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on January 26, 2017 in London, England. The commemorative event, attended by religious leaders, heard testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust, in which millions of predominantly Jewish people were killed. National Holocaust Day on February 27 marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The Chief Rabbi has urged women who are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence “not to hesitate” to contact Jewish Women’s Aid.

Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis made his comments following a report in the JC on the sharp decline in referrals to the charity following the terrorist attacks in Israel, the ensuing war and the huge rise in antisemitism.

After a visit to the JWA offices, he said: “The work of JWA remains heartbreakingly essential for our community, offering professional and compassionate support to Jewish women and their children who have suffered the most awful abuse or violence.

“I heard first-hand from JWA’s frontline workers that the current spike in antisemitism has left some of their service users feeling yet more vulnerable and therefore less able to access the support they need.

“It is clear that JWA’s work is sadly vital for many, who should not hesitate to use its services.”

The Chief Rabbi’s visit marked the launch of the JWA cross-communal Shabbat on 24 and 25 November, which will take the theme “Exploring Healthy Relationships”.

Jewish Women’s Aid is delivering its toolkit for the Shabbat to 163 synagogues of all denominations across the UK in advance of the weekend. The toolkit will also be freely available online at

It includes a leaflet to raise awareness and understanding in the Jewish community about healthy and unhealthy relationships, a discussion activity and a ready-prepared speech or article, which can be read out at shul, at home or in social gatherings.

The toolkit is in addition to already available resources, such as conversation cards and fact sheets to help generate discussions around domestic abuse and healthy relationships.

JWA’s director of outreach and prevention, Carmel Gould, said: “This year we have chosen the theme of healthy relationships, drawing directly from our popular educational and training sessions, which we offer in schools, youth organisations and on campus.

“We wanted the focus of the Shabbat to be on prevention and presented in a sensitive and accessible way.”

The Shabbat is supported by the Office of the Chief Rabbi, the United Synagogue, Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism, Masorti Judaism, the S&P Sephardi Community, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies.

In the first half of 2023, Jewish Women’s Aid ran more than 1,000 counselling sessions.

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