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:: JSafe

JSafe was founded by Rabbi Mark Dratch, a respected leader in the Jewish Domestic Violence community, with expertise and experience in issues of domestic violence and abuse, and a track record of successful achievement—counseling, advising, writing, lecturing, advocating and formulating policy.

Rabbi Dratch served as a congregational rabbi for 22 years. He was a Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America, was chairman of its Task Force on Rabbinic Improprieties, and responsible for spearheading and formulating its new policy guidelines for responding to allegations against member rabbis. He was a member of the Clergy Task Force on Abuse of Jewish Women International, a member of the Jewish Advisory Committee of the FaithTrust Institute, a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Religion and Abuse, and a sought after speaker and consultant in matters of domestic violence and clergy abuse. 

Rabbi Dratch
In September, 2012, Rabbi Dratch curtailed his full time engagement with JSafe when he was named as Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America.  JSafe continues to provide resources and support to Jewish victims, as well as to communities, rabbis, and institutions seeking to help and support those victims, develop policies, and engage in activities to prevent and respond to abuse.  At the present time, JSafe has partnered with The Shofar Coalition and Project CHANAH of Baltimore to develop a JSafe Coalition of synagogues in the Baltimore area.

:: The Challenge

The problems of domestic violence and child abuse in the Jewish community are difficult to address for many reasons, foremost among them are the absence of standards and organization. Too many rabbis, principals and teachers--despite their good intentions and desire to help--are simply uneducated and unaware of how to recognize problems that exist, or how to respond to, and assist, alleged survivors.

Even when well-meaning professionals do recognize a problem, many times they go about dealing with the situation in dangerous or detrimental ways. At times, those in positions of responsibility simply do nothing, either by refusing to deal with the allegations or by denying them altogether.                  

In addition, we are increasingly aware of improper behavior by rabbis, cantors, teachers, and youth workers. At times, some of these professionals are guilty of violating appropriate boundaries between themselves and those they serve. They may also be guilty of sexual or physical assault.

While some of these individuals are held accountable by the legal system or by their communities, there are too many “holes” in the system and many are simply answerable to no one.

The problem is systemic. The Jewish community has no single hierarchy or unifying infrastructure that enables it to set standards for training or to hold professionals responsible in these areas. Thus, the response of rabbis, teachers and counselors to survivors of abuse is only as good as their training and experience in identifying and dealing with these issues. Too often, it’s inadequate.

:: The Solution

Enter JSafe, whose mission is to create an environment in which every institution and organization across the entire spectrum of the Jewish community conducts itself responsibly and effectively in addressing the wrongs of domestic violence, child abuse and professional improprieties— whenever and by whomever they are perpetrated. This mission will be achieved through the adoption of policies and prevention programs by every Jewish school, camp, youth organization, and congregaton institution.

JSafe will work to create the universal gold standard for training and policies that prevent abuse, that ensure that survivors are treated supportively and appropriately, and that will make perpetrators accountable for their improprieties. It will advance standards and policies promoting proper conduct of professionals toward the children and adults they serve, protecting the public from the violation of boundaries and the abuse of power by professionals.