Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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  Rebecca Chernin
  Domestic and Teen Dating Violence Activist
  Boston WWD Event 2004
  Born in 1984
  Initiated programs to combat domestic and teen dating violence in the Jewish community
 
Biography  up to top

Rebecca Chernin was raised in Sharon, Massachusetts in an Orthodox home. Rebecca attended the New Jewish High School and is currently a sophomore and psychology major at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Chernin became an activist against teen dating and domestic violence as a result of personal experiences during her high school years when she was involved in an emotionally abusive and physically intimidating relationship. In 2002, during her senior year of high school, Rebecca began working as an intern with REACH Beyond Domestic Violence (formerly called the Support Committee For Battered Women). The REACH staff helped Rebecca end her own relationship safely. While participating in a 100-hour training program, Rebecca became concerned that there was no specific involvement with the Jewish community. In response, she dedicated herself to an outreach effort, contacting synagogues, youth groups, and schools. Although Rebecca met with denial and resistance from the Jewish community, she persisted with her letters, phone calls, and visits. Eventually Chernin succeeded in making some inroads by initiating training programs and workshops in the Jewish community.

The summer following her freshman year at Clark, Rebecca expanded her advocacy work to include one-on-one counseling with victims of domestic violence, as well as work in the courts as a victim advocate. Chernin frequently encounters Jewish women grappling with this problem. This experience reinforced her desire to continue her outreach to the Jewish community.

Rebecca Chernin was a 2002-2003 recipient of a "Hero Among Us" award from the Boston Celtics, and in 2003, Chernin was honored at the 10th Annual "Voice For Justice Awards" at REACH.

 
What She Said  up to top
ON JEWISH VALUES
[I]t's always been a big part of my family-helping others, tzedakah-it's always been a very much talked about issue ...More 
ON FAMILY UPBRINGING
The family is 100% shomrei shabbat ...and strongly Zionist ...More 
ON ROLE MODELS
My mother, even though she does the whole Orthodox woman thing—has my Dad do Motzi—she is a very strong woman. When something goes wrong, she's the one who gets on the phone and talks to them and convinces them. I've always seen my mother take action herself. ...More 
ON BEING A WOMAN ACTIVIST
Being female means you're more likely to be a victim of abuse in a relationship. ...More 
ON TRADITIONAL ROLES
When we'd do the mother-daughter groups in shuls, the Jewish mothers would be in awe that a Jewish girl was talking about this. They'd be whispering, 'this happened to my niece.' ...More 
ON PATH TO ACTIVISM
I started using my story in the training. We'd do our whole 'Teen Dating Violence 101'—what it consists of, the warning signs, etc. And then I'd ask, 'Is this real? Does this really happen?' They'd say, 'No,' or 'It only happens once in a while to stupid people.' And I'd say, 'Let me tell you something. I'm a Jewish girl, I went to a private school.' Then I'd tell my story and they'd be totally shocked. That was definitely a very effective tool. ...More 
ON IMPACT ON WORLD
"...I have not done a single training where I have not had kids come up to me and make disclosures about themselves, about people they know." ...More 
ON IMPACT ON SELF
I've always taken on challenges, and I like challenges. Maybe that's why I've taken on the Jewish community; because it's such a challenge, and also because I'm involved in it, so it affects me. ...More 
ON CHALLENGES
There are times when you think, 'this is never going to end.' ...More 
ON REWARDS
At the end of the day I can go home and I can say that I've helped ten people today. ...More 
ON ADVICE FOR ACTIVISTS
Get into it. Get the ugly stuff. See it, so you have a motive and a passion. ...More 
 
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Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rebecca Chernin." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prchernin>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Rebecca Chernin," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=prchernin>.