Responding to the revelation that there were women in the Orthodox community being victimized in their own homes, Nechama Wolfson, along with a group of women, created the Shalom Task Force Hotline in 1992. This was a revolutionary and monumental feat at a time when the problem of domestic abuse was not acknowledged. The groundbreaking confidential hotline, dedicated to Orthodox victims of abuse, was the very first of its kind. Since then, more than 21,000 callers have benefited from the advice and support of the hotline’s highly trained responders. As Rav Pam, z’l, said at the inaugural rabbinical conference, “… previously, these women had no address. They now have a place to turn.”

Please join Shalom Task Force on Sunday, November 4, at 9:30 a.m. at our annual brunch, to be held at the Sephardic Temple, 775 Branch Blvd, Cedarhurst, New York.

It became clear that if Shalom Task Force was to effect a change in the community, the focus must be on prevention. With widespread rabbinic support, the Bertha Kaufmann Preventive Education Workshops for Young Men and Women was developed. Educators trained by Shalom Task Force present programs in yeshiva high schools, seminaries, and universities. They conduct interactive workshops that teach young women and men about forging healthy relationships and avoiding abusive ones. The program reaches over 3,500 students annually in the U.S. and Israel. The goals of Shalom Task Force are further achieved through community outreach and education for rabbanim, lay leaders, professionals, and parents. Recognizing the cultural diversity among our communities, Shalom Task Force established Beit Shalom to serve the Bukharian community and Ohel Shalom to serve the Persian community. The Shalom Workshop program was developed to assist engaged and newly married couples in forming and maintaining healthy relationships.

Fulfilling another critical need, Sarah’s Voice was created to provide free legal services to victims of domestic abuse. Since 2010, Sarah’s Voice has provided more than 1,000 survivors with free comprehensive legal services, including assistance with orders of protection, divorce proceedings, and custody negotiations.

Guest of Honor: Shani Traube. Shani is a chesed superstar who has volunteered her time with several community organizations; however, over the past 18 years it is Shalom Task Force that has captured her heart and her focus. She is involved in many aspects of the organization, including chairing the annual brunches with her special flair. She lives in Lawrence with her husband, Dr. Charles Traube, a well-respected cardiologist. She is the proud mother of Dr. Chani Traube and Mark Goldman of Jamaica Estates, Dr. Eli Traube and Ilana Eidelman of Woodmere, and Adeena and Dov Kerner of West Hempstead.

Community Leadership Award: Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, rabbi emeritus of the Young Israel of Queens Valley. Rabbi Steinberg is a longtime resident of Kew Gardens Hills. He learned in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and Beis Medrash Elyon, and received semichah from Rav Moshe Feinstein. Rabbi Steinberg has been a supporter and adviser of Shalom Task Force since its inception. The organization benefited often from his profound understanding of the delicate issues involved in marriage and divorce, and his vast experience in these areas.

Professional Leadership Award: Rachel Hercman, LCSW. Rachel is a psychotherapist with expertise in relationships, intimacy, and trauma. She is in private practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a noted speaker in communities, universities, and professional trainings throughout the tri-state area and beyond. As a consultant for Shalom Task Force, Rachel has partnered in creating new programs and conversations in the Jewish community and in shifting the way sensitive topics are addressed. A native of Woodmere, she lives in Riverdale with her husband and children.

Dedicated Service Award: Frady Kess, LCSW. Frady is a longtime resident of Flatbush. She has been a devoted STF volunteer for the past 15 years. Frady is a trained presenter of the STF Healthy Relationships workshop, and has facilitated the program in numerous Brooklyn high schools. After witnessing the far-reaching impact of the Shalom Task Force on individuals and communities, Frady decided to take her training one step further. In 2010, she graduated with a master’s degree in social work. Frady is currently a social worker in private practice where she specializes in treating victims of domestic abuse and relational trauma.

Hakarat Hatov Award: Dr. Sarah Chana Silverman, PhD. Dr. Silverman is the director of program development and evaluation at Shalom Task Force. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and received her doctorate in social anthropology from the State University of NY at Stonybrook. Dr. Silverman directs Shalom Task Force’s grant program, composing, managing, and evaluating grants from foundations as well as federal, state, and municipal government departments. Dr. Silverman has a role in financial management for STF, and she works with community partners to expand services for victims and preventative education programs. She lives in Lawrence, NY, with her husband, close to her children and grandchildren in Far Rockaway.

Shalom Task Force is the only organization of its kind in the Orthodox community. Abuse thrives in silence. Please join us and our honorees on November 4 and help us break the silence.

For reservations or to make a donation, please visit ShalomTaskForce.org. For more information, call 516-773-3399 or email stfbrunch@gmail.com.

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