Jewish Women International: 7 Years Later
When Jewish Women International opened the doors to its first International Conference on Domestic Abuse on July 20, 2003, there was optimism… there was ambition… but nobody knew for certain what would become of the work we were starting that day. Or rather, the work we were continuing – JWI had already been working in domestic violence (DV) for nearly a decade by then, since we had changed our name from B’nai B’rith Women to Jewish Women International, and focused our mission on aiding and empowering Jewish women and families – especially those suffering from abuse.
Four conferences and seven years later, the DV community’s work to break the cycle of abuse has come a long, long way. What began as a call to action in 2003 has given rise to three more conferences, featuring cutting-edge trainings headlined by some of the top experts in the field. Collaboration initiated at the first conference has expanded across agencies, state lines, faiths and continents: DV programs now exist in Argentina, Australia and Israel where they didn’t before. And the work has branched out beyond the Jewish community, helping law enforcement, attorneys and the legal system, as well as leaders of other faiths, more effectively serve and protect abuse victims – within their communities, and within the law.
Inside JWI, the advancements have been profound: A number of groundbreaking initiatives sparked at our conferences are having huge impact in communities worldwide.
We developed a popular suite of healthy relationship programs for tweens, teens and young adults – curricula now at work in schools, camps and youth groups all over the world. In a similar vein, we’re training young women and teen girls to manage their own money – and ensure their personal safety in the future – with our Life$avings® financial literacy program.
Our voice on Capitol Hill has been dramatically amplified, thanks largely to the advocacy of our Interfaith Coalition. And the National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse has become the premiere training program for DV professionals.
Seven years ago, JWI led several hundred clergy, social workers, abuse survivors, artists and activists in a “Call to Action” against domestic violence. Today, we are a leader in the global mission working to end violence against women.