June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What or Who Is S.A.R.A.H.?

Project S.A.R.A.H. (Stop Abusive Relationships at Home) is the statewide program of Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic (JFS) developed to be a resource for community members affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse. Therapy, support groups, vocational consultations and case management are some of the services offered to clients. These are provided to anyone in New Jersey who previously found or currently finds themselves in a high-conflict relationship or is feeling confused about marriage, dating, family or other interpersonal interactions. Confidentiality and anonymity are valued and strictly upheld.

Our dedicated therapists strive to help individuals develop more clarity regarding how to achieve a healthier and safer relationship by safety planning, looking at options available, processing trauma or just having a confidential place to talk. One of our clients shared: “As great as having family or friends to listen to you is, sometimes it can be too painful or hard to talk to them. Having a therapist who knows you and is there to listen and help is so empowering.”

Project S.A.R.A.H. also offers group sessions to provide individuals a supportive and safe environment to connect with others with similar experiences and to diminish feelings of being alone. One group participant expressed: “Our group facilitators showed so much devotion and commitment. The care is obvious and truly what we women need right now. The topics are picked for our needs and are about the daily struggles we face.”

With the changes due to the COVID pandemic, all of Project S.A.R.A.H.’s work has moved online. Client sessions and community presentations have been facilitated over Zoom. After seeing the success of the Zoom groups, and noting the additional stress experienced during the pandemic for those who were sexually abused when they were children, Project S.A.R.A.H. created an additional therapeutic support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This group provides education and support to promote healing, hope and comfort to those affected.

Another vital aspect of Project S.A.R.A.H.’s work is that of prevention and community awareness. This year, we have expanded our outreach to present training and information for kallah teachers, mikvah attendants, camp staff, youth group leaders, teachers, parents and students via Zoom webinars and meetings. This year’s “Many Voices, One Message” campaign increased the numbers of rabbinic and community leaders who stepped forward to help spread the message that abuse is not tolerated in our community, which wholeheartedly supports those affected by it.

We are looking forward to our annual fundraising “Virtual Breakfast,” which will be held via Zoom on Sunday, May, 2, when Esther East, LCSW, the esteemed, former executive director of JFS, will be honored along with her husband, Rabbi Michael East. In addition, Rabbi Chaim Poupko of Congregation Ahavath Torah in Engelwood, New Jersey, will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award, and longtime Project S.A.R.A.H. consortium member, Lois Kaish, of Springfield, New Jersey, will be given the Volunteer Recognition Award. Besides raising the funds needed to enable the work to continue, the breakfast continues the mission of spreading awareness and offering support to those affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse. One of last year’s breakfast attendees summed up the event by commenting, “I got emotional at times… The big thing is the recognition that women of domestic abuse need an outlet and need support.”

Especially in these challenging and uncertain times, Project S.A.R.A.H. is here for the community and for you. For more information about any of our programs, please visit ProjectSarah.org or call us at 973-777-7638, ext.643.


Shira Pomrantz, LCSW, is director of Project S.A.R.A.H.

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