April 8, 2024
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Project SARAH: Empowering Mikvah Attendants

(Courtesy of Project SARAH) In Jewish tradition, the mikvah serves as a sacred space for ritual immersion and renewal. As keepers of this space, mikvah attendants hold a special role within their communities. Along with ensuring proper tevila, they serve as compassionate listeners and promoters of Jewish women’s emotional, physical, intimate and spiritual well-being. They are also uniquely positioned to notice when things are not well for someone who visits the mikvah.

In the spring of 2024, the Mikvah Initiative will offer dedicated mikvah attendants education about various forms of abuse and how to recognize signs of each. The training, which was developed in collaboration with the Eden Center in Jerusalem, emphasizes proactivity while facilitating early detection and intervention. Project SARAH’s skilled presenters bring a keen understanding of the holiness of the ritual. Mikvah attendants can expect to finish their training and practice sessions feeling empowered and inspired with a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities and limitations in responding to abuse.

Ozer Herzog, executive director of JFS, said, “This is a natural extension for Project SARAH, a division of JFS, which has been a cornerstone for 29 years in providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive support to survivors in the Orthodox Jewish community.”

The program regularly teams up with schools, shuls, camp staff, and other community leaders to promote healthy relationships and abuse prevention. For trauma survivors and their families, Project SARAH’s clinical staff has been the go-to for psychotherapy, legal services and clinical care coordination to help address urgent housing and other material needs.

“For the Mikvah Initiative, Project SARAH seeks to partner with every community’s mikvah administrator in New Jersey to ensure that the program aligns seamlessly with local customs and rabbinic directives,” shared Yael Baldinger, program coordinator. This means engaging in conversations and incorporating protocols that prioritize privacy, modesty and overall safety resulting in a positive and secure experience that preserves the holiness of the mikvah immersion.

This initiative epitomizes Project SARAH’s unwavering commitment to providing comprehensive support services and nurturing a culture of safety, respect and sanctity within the Orthodox Jewish community. For more information about education and partnership call (973) 777-7638, ext. 300 or email [email protected].

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