Domestic Abuse in Ottawa’s Jewish Community – A Sukkot Message

This note comes to the Glebe Shul community from Sarah Caspi, the manager of the Shalom Bayit program at Jewish Family Services of Ottawa.  Shalom Bayit is a support program for victims of domestic violence within Ottawa’s Jewish community.  The existence of such a program speaks volumes about the reality of domestic violence within our community, despite the widespread lack of awareness of its presence.  In this note Sarah explains a bit about her work, and offers two Sukkot prayers on the theme of domestic violence.  Have a look.

Dear Ottawa Rabbis and Congregations,

I would like to take this time to reintroduce myself to you. My name is Sarah Caspi and I am the manager of Jewish Family Services’ Shalom Bayit Program. Shalom Bayit provides free confidential counseling services to woman who are victims of violence. We offer confidential and anonymous services for women experiencing abuse. These include: planning for safety, counseling, advocacy, financial assistance and exploring options.

Shalom Bayit is also committed to creating awareness about domestic violence in our community. I am available to come and speak to your congregation about domestic violence in our community and about our program in particular. I have had the honour of speaking to some of your congregations in the past and I look forward to speaking to others in the future.

There is a tradition within the Jewish Violence Against Women community to ask Rabbis to consider discussing the issue of domestic violence during Sukkot. The sukkah as refuge is a prevalent theme at sukkot and seems a fitting time to let your congregation know that there are safe places they can go if they need refuge.

Jewish Women International along with its Clergy Task Force to End Violence Against Women have collected prayers on this topic and I have included a few for your consideration. I would be interested in knowing about other prayers if you have ones to share. The Shalom Task Force may have prayers for sukkot but I was unable to find one.

Sukkah of Peace

We bless the Divine Presence, whose wings shelter us with peace.  Redeemer of Israel who brought us out of Egypt, on this festival of Sukkot, our thoughts turn to those who dwell in fear and danger in their own homes.  With compassion and an outstretched arm, bring them forth into freedom, and shelter them in your Sukkah of peace.

Rebecca Schwartz & Naomi Tucker, Shalom Bayit: Bay Area Jewish Women Working to End Domestic Violence

Shelter Me

Help me, dear God, To lie down at night in peace And awaken me to life renewed. It is not the darkness outside in the night sky that I fear But the waiting space of silence inside this place in which I dwell. My house is not a shelter of peace.

Shelter me with your sukkat shalom. Please Shelter me.

Help me, dear God, to lie down this night in peace, and lift me up to life renewed.

The shadow of your wings, might they really replace this valley of death where I’ve walked alone? Oh, guard me as I journey to an open place, a sacred space where I feel safe and whole – at home.

Shelter me with your sukkat shalom.   Please Shelter me now.  Shelter me Please.

Rabbi Cindy Enger  2001,. All rights reserved.

I wish you all a Shana Tova and I look forward to continuing to work with you and your congregations.

If you have any questions about our program please do not hesitate to contact me.

For referrals to the program please note that Shalom Bayit counseling intakes are confidential and clients can call me directly at (o)613 722 2225 x246 or (c) 613 769 3597



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.