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18 Harv. Women's L.J. 171 (1995)
Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: Domestic Violence in the Jewish Community

handle is hein.journals/hwlj18 and id is 177 raw text is: LIFTING THE VEIL OF SECRECY:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE JEWISH
COMMUNITY
BEVERLY HORSBURGH*
INTRODUCTION
Recently I interviewed rabbis in the south Florida area and asked them
if any of the women in their congregations were battered. Some of their
responses indicated a belief that domestic violence is virtually nonex-
istent in the Jewish community.
A Reform rabbi:
I hold discussions in the temple on domestic violence. It is a Jewish
problem as well as a non-Jewish problem. Jewish law forbids
domestic violence. It is contrary to the Jewish tradition. Some
women have confided in me that they are abused, but I really don't
know how many women in my congregation are in this situation. I
don't think battered women are comfortable talking to rabbis.
A Conservative rabbi:
Rabbis have become more aware of domestic violence among Jews.
We discuss it in our sermons. I am not aware of any particular
woman who is battered in my congregation. There is a real
problem, however, in the Jewish religious courts.
A modem Orthodox rabbi:
I know two women in my congregation who are abused. I counseled
them to leave their husbands. In one case I gave money to the
woman so that she could afford to leave. Unfortunately she re-
turned to her husband. What can you do? An Orthodox synagogue
Associate Professor of Law, St. Thomas University School of Law; J.D., University
of Miami School of Law, 1987; B.A., Smith College, 1964. I thank my colleague Peter
Margulies for all his good advice. I also thank Janice Weintraub and Joan Childs,
psychiatric social workers who helped me contact Jewish battered women in my
community. I appreciate the dedication of my research assistants, Jacki Cannavan and
Julie Shapiro, as well.

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