The Confusion Of Incest

Originally published in Neshamas. My adoration for him was the moon and sun, The sky and earth. Even after my my blocked memories resurfaced, And my seething anger ceased, I still saw him, Through those bright blue eyes, And blue Bais Yaakov uniform. He was still my special brother, The one who protected me. The […]

A Letter to myself as a little girl – מכתב לילדה הקטנה שבליבי

כואב לי שכואב לך. כואב לי שההורים שלי לא ידעו כואב לי שהרס והחריב את החיים שלי כואב לי שאני חיה אותו כל פעם מחדש כואב לי שאני חושבת עליו כואב לי ששלט בי כואב לי שנגע בגוף שלי כואב לי כואב לי שלא נוח לי בגוף שלי כואב לי שאני “קשה” על עצמי כואב […]

Is There An Exit? A Survivor’s Poem

Songs of hope fail me. Dance of faith walks away from me. Left alone, In the shadows of darkness. Left to be, In the mercy of light.   For light of day so far, Do I see.   For dark of night, Not only near, Yet, Within me.   Escape this death of, Abuse. My […]

I want to talk about the pain

I want to talk about the pain. It comes back now and it’s just as intense and as stabbing as it was then. It is amazing how imaginary pain can feel so real. But it isn’t the imaginary pain I want to talk about. I think that will disappear when I can finally deal with […]

Words of advice from one survivor to another

Last month JCW Israel finished its first women’s survivors support group in Jerusalem. At the end of the group we asked the amazing participants to share their words of wisdom and advice to survivors.   Here is the last of a series essays we have shared over the past month. *** PLEASE don’t ever judge […]

I was abused when I was 12, here’s why I’m publishing my story.

I was raised ultra-orthodox (Chabad) in a large wonderful family right in the middle of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY. I attended the popular elementary school Oholei Torah and during summer breaks I was generally at a Chabad sleep-away camp. For high school (yeshiva) I attended Chabad schools in Europe and Israel. I was sexually abused […]

We are survivors of the night

I put on my pajama pants. Tie the draw strings real tight. I then put on my second pair. Tie the draw strings real tight. Again, I put on my third pair. Tie the draw strings real tight. Next, I move my dresser and chair to barricade my bedroom door. Lastly, I wrap my blanket […]

You Will Be OK

Last month JCW Israel finished it’s first women’s survivors support group in Jerusalem. At the end of the group we asked the amazing participants to share their words of wisdom and advice to survivors who are early on in their journey of healing, a place very familiar to every one of them from not that […]

A mother’s Eicha

Admin’s Note: Yesterday we posted a letter from a mother whose child had been abused by a cousin, here is a personal version of Eicha she submitted to JCW. Photo for illustration purposes only. איכה ישבה בדד העיר רבתי עם How is it possible that me, a family person, one who has kept my family […]

Am I putting my son in danger?

By Pattie Fitzgerald,  child safety educator, founder of and prevention education adviser to JCW. When our kids are very young, it’s often easier to control who they play with and what they’re doing.  As they grow up, we often question when to let go or what types of relationships are safe or healthy.  A […]

Incest survivor: I don’t know where I would be without JCW

My first encounter with JCW was at an event in my hometown. I had long suppressed my sexual abuse, which had been perpetrated by a family member. I struggled to cope and go about living my life normally. It was hard. I was affected daily, but I couldn’t risk sharing what I was going through, […]

Camp JEM Summer Experience Rebrands as Camp One Lev

The JEM Summer Camp in Beverly Hills, which has come under scrutiny in recent years for its affiliation with convicted child sex abuser Mendel Tevel, has rebranded as Camp One Lev. Rabbi Hertzel Illulian, the founder and director of the JEM Youth Center in Beverly Hills, hired his son-in-law, Mendel Tevel, as youth director in […]

Daddy, I hate you and I hate that I hate you!

You can’t be who I want you to be. No matter what I tell myself, no matter what I try so hard to believe, no matter what I see or don’t see, you can’t be the daddy of my dreams. You can’t be the man who comforts me in the middle of the night when […]

I’m a survivor: on pesach, redemption is what I need

It’s 2015 and I was sitting at the seder table, Hearing the story of my ancestors being freed, I began to cry in silence, Because redemption is what I need. The Jews in Egypt went through hell, Burying each other because it was too much to survive, I think of days I am falling apart, […]

Preventing Abuse in Jewish Organizations that Serve Youth: Ten Policies to Create Safer Environments

By Shira M. Berkovits It is critical for leaders of youth-serving organizations (YSOs) to adopt child-protection policies proactively, before they are faced with a problem. Policies clarify acceptable and unacceptable behaviors that guide adults to model safe interactions with children. When a policy is well communicated, it becomes integral to institutional culture and its violations […]

JCW Responds To Rabbi Rosenfeld

On March 8th in response to a Newsweek article that details multiple incidents of alleged physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by certain staff members of Oholei Torah, including two who currently teach there, Rabbi Sholom Rosenfeld addressed a letter to Oholei Torah parents promising and giving his word that the yeshiva is safe. He stated […]

The scars of my past

By Bracha Braun Summer is coming. It’s a time when I always get stares for the scars of my past. People cannot understand why someone would want to physically harm themselves and I understand that there’s not even a way for me to explain it because you’ve had to have gone through something that made […]

Seeing You In An Orange Jumpsuit

Seeing you in orange is the last image in my head Replacing the ones where you control my life instead Keeping me silent for over a decade and then some Holding me hostage to the fear, all numb Well I’m not a bad person for outing you You are cruel for having done what you […]

15 Unmeasurably Painful Things Said To Me and Other Victims Of Abuse

“I don’t believe you” “Just get over it” “i don’t know why you are so caught up with this. It happened so many years ago” “Let it go. The past is in the past” “He/she was too young to have abused you” “Do you even know what abuse is?” “Shhhh… It’s Loshon Hara” “That isn’t […]

A survivor Writes To Her Therapist

Over and over you ask me what I’m feeling. I want to scream in frustration, “I don’t know!” I don’t know how to describe what’s going on inside. There is turbulence, my stomach rolls, everything shakes. My head is full of things that I want to say, but I can’t seem to get my mouth […]