A major event took place in Tzfat this past Monday, 9 April, to educate the Charedi community about preventing and combating child sexual abuse.
The event, co-sponsored by Jewish Community Watch and a number of local groups, hosted hundreds of men, women, boys and girls participating in separate sessions to discuss personal safety, and child sexual abuse. It was the first event of its kind to ever be hosted in the community.
The event was organised by members of Tzfat’s Chabad community, with all of the children and parents of all the Chabad schools attending. Educators and parents from many other Charedi communities also joined.
For the adult participants, Rav Bistritzky, leading Rabbi in Tzfat, spoke powerfully and poignantly about the tragedy of sexual abuse. He was joined by Adi Rabroshok, director of the Mercaz Hagana (the Israeli police childrens sex crimes unit) for the Tzfat region, and other mental health professionals.
For the children and their parents, the highlight of the event was an educational puppet show by Noa Arieli, which sensitively and creatively addresses personal safety for children.
For the Tzfat community, child sexual abuse awareness is just beginning. The feedback was intensely positive, and so many parents requested further educational programming that there is already plans in the works for additional events as soon as this coming month.
Over the years, Tzfat, as a notably insular and tight-knit community, has seen more than its share of sexual abuse scandals and cover-ups. This event gives us so much hope for a continued change and growth in our communities on this issue.