JWI Responds to Passage of H.R. 5578, Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016

The bill is an important step forward for sexual assault survivors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
direct: 202.464.4803 // cell: 301.529.8591

Washington, D.C. – Jewish Women International (JWI) applauds the House of Representatives for its passage of H.R. 5578, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016. 

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), with 37 cosponsors including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA-6), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3). The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and passed the Senate in May 2016 as part of the bipartisan Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act. 

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act establishes a national standard for survivors’ rights in the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of sexual assault crimes. Specifically, a survivor will have the right to have her rape kit preserved for the duration of the statute of limitations; the right to be notified in writing sixty days before her rape kit is scheduled to be destroyed; the right to request additional preservation of her rape kit; and the right to be informed of the results of her rape kit.

JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issued the following statement:

Sexual violence continues to impact millions of women and men in the United States each year, and too often, justice is not served for survivors. By passing the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, Congress has taken an important step forward in reforming and improving responses to sexual violence. 

No survivor should have to fear seeking medical attention or reporting to law enforcement; survivors should be able to trust that their dignity and rights will be respected. This vital bill helps to ensure that survivors’ reports are taken seriously, that medical evidence is collected and preserved, and that a survivor’s right to information is honored throughout the investigative process. By working together with survivors, medical providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates can create change and prevent further violence.

As we mark this progress, we also renew our commitment to our sustained advocacy and education for women and girls. JWI will continue our work to prevent sexual violence, foster healthy relationships, and change the culture for a safer tomorrow.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence. 

JWI To Launch #VoteLikeAGirl (Your Rights Depend On It!)

#VoteLikeAGirl (Your Rights Depend On It!) Launches at White House’s United State of Women Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
(d) 202.464.4803//(c) 301.529.8591

Washington, DC – Following up on the White House’s United State of Women Summit, JWI will launch #VoteLikeAGirl (Your Rights Depend On It!) on Tuesday, June 14th. This new campaign, housed on the non-profit’s website jwi.org, will be a dynamic and interactive effort to educate voters on crucial women’s issues during this consequential election. Social media outreach will be a key feature of #VotelikeAGirl, as well as regular interviews with political activists and women candidates on both sides of the aisle. The campaign will encourage voters – especially young women – to vote in November. 

#VoteLikeAGirl arrives on the heels of JWI’s June 9th Congressional letter drop that highlighted just one of the many issues which disproportionately impact women – the intersection of guns and domestic violence. Yesterday, every Member of Congress received a letter signed by nearly 500 clergy, faith leaders, and faith-based organizations. The interfaith letter calls on Congress to close the dangerous loopholes that allow people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against a dating partner or misdemeanor stalking to access guns. “Saner gun law is just one of the issues that hang in the balance of the 2016 elections,” JWI CEO Lori Weinstein says. “All voters must understand that the rights of women are in jeopardy—access to healthcare, reproductive choice, pay equity, and a life free of violence—all can be taken away. We owe it to each other, ourselves, our daughters, mothers, and sisters to be responsible, educated voters.”

JWI is proud to partner with the White House on the United State of Women Summit. JWI staff and supporters will attend and table throughout the Summit. Weinstein continues:

We are at a watershed moment. Those of us who have spent our professional lives fighting to allow women to thrive know that we have never before had a champion like this administration. Both personally and as an administration, President and Mrs. Obama and Vice President and Dr. Biden have not only lifted up but have illuminated a bright light on issues critical to the lives of women and girls. And they have followed up with action: From It’s On Us to the United State of Women, the White House has bookended its term by focusing and acting for the sake of all women. Our lives are stronger and safer for their efforts.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence. For more information, please visit www.jwi.org or call us at 800-323-2823. 

JWI’s Interfaith Coalition Unites to Protect Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims

500 clergy and faith organizations tell Congress to close dangerous loopholes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
(d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591

Washington, D.C. – On May 18, people from diverse spiritual backgrounds will call, email, and tweet congressional representatives and senators, urging them to close a dangerous loophole in current gun laws. This call to action was spearheaded by JWI’s Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence—a group of 36 faiths united in efforts to end violence against women and girls. Their letter to Congress, asking for improved protections to keep victims of abuse and stalking safe from gun violence, was signed by 500 clergy and national faith-based organizations, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Baha’i.

Under federal law, individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against a current or former spouse are prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns. Yet perpetrators convicted of misdemeanor stalking or misdemeanor domestic violence against a dating partner can still freely access firearms, despite posing a significant risk to the safety of the victim.

JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issues the following statement:

Whether she’s gone on five dates, been married for five years, or had five children with him—a woman is not safe when her abuser has access to guns. The law’s narrow definition of intimate partner relationships leaves a dangerous loophole. We know that over half of all women killed by intimate partners were murdered with a gun, and nearly half of all intimate partner homicides were committed by a dating partner. 

Faith leaders, Republicans, Democrats, and gun owners support this legislation. It’s not controversial; it’s commonsense, and we need it now. Women’s lives are depending on it.

According to Negar Abay, Representative for Gender Equality and Advancement of Women with the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs:

It is time for humanity to reject all forms of violence and the domination of one over another. This legislation offers a serious step we can take right now to limit access to lethal weapons for those who have already made harmful choices – as a protection for potential victims and even for themselves. We can also do much more to develop in ourselves, our youth and our children the moral capacities to create homes and communities not only free from violence but also characterized by peace and equality.

More must be done to protect victims of dating abuse and stalking from further violence. The Interfaith Coalition is united in support of H.R. 3130: the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, and S. 1520: the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act.

For more information, go to www.jwi.org/loophole

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Jewish Women International is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a principal leader of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally and a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security and their ability to live life free of violence. For more information, please visit www.jwi.org or call us at 800-323-2823.

Children’s Library to Open in Cape Cod Domestic Violence Agency

Library at Independence House is Jewish Women International’s 54th in domestic violence shelters nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
(d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591

Washington, D.C. – JWI (Jewish Women International), the leading Jewish women’s organization working to end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls, will dedicate a brand new children’s library at a domestic violence agency on April 26th on Cape Cod. The library, to be housed in Hyannis’ Independence House, is made possible by generous donations from the Gussack family and will be known as the Manya Kanof Gussack Library.

JWI’s National Library Initiative is working toward establishing 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country. The library in Cape Cod is the 54th to open as part of the initiative.

“JWI’s National Library Initiative puts the children front and center by providing a sanctuary where each child can find the comfort that only a good book and a safe place can provide,” said JWI’s CEO Lori Weinstein. “Our philanthropic commitment is anchored by our work across the country educating, training and advocating for the end of domestic violence.”

Independence House serves over 5,000 families throughout the course of a year and is Cape Cod’s leading resource, counseling and advocacy center to address and prevent domestic and sexual violence. The agency promotes healthy relationships and provides free and confidential services and widespread programs for adults, teens and children (ages 6 and up) who are survivors of, or affected by, domestic and sexual violence.

“The transformation of what was previously a childcare room has now been expanded to a vibrant colorful and cozy space that is a resource to all of the children and teens that come to Independence House for services,” said Donna Giberti, Independence Houses’ director of development and marketing. “We’re both thrilled to partner with JWI and enormously grateful to the Gussack family for their generosity and support.”

If press is interested in attending the event, please contact Meredith Jacobs at mjacobs@jwi.org or 202-464-4803.

Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.


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Jewish Women’s Group Dedicates Children’s Library at Tulsa Shelter

Library at Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) is Jewish Women International’s 53rd in domestic violence shelters nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
(d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
April 11, 2016

Washington, D.C. – JWI (Jewish Women International), the premier international Jewish women’s organization working to end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls, will dedicate a brand new children’s library at a domestic violence shelter on April 13th in Tulsa, OK. The library, to be housed in the Domestic Violence Intervention Services shelter, was funded through JWI’s 2015 holiday fundraising campaign. Launched December 1st (Giving Tuesday) and running through January 1, 2016, JWI committed to raising the funds needed to give the children living in DVIS, the gift of a library.

JWI’s National Library Initiative is working toward establishing 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country. The library in Tulsa is the 53rd to open as part of the initiative.

“JWI’s National Library Initiative puts the children front and center by providing a sanctuary where each child can find the comfort that only a good book and a safe place can provide,” said JWI’s CEO Lori Weinstein. “Our philanthropic commitment is anchored by our work across the country educating, training and advocating for the end of domestic violence.”

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc. DVIS, a Tulsa Area United Way agency, is the only nonprofit agency in Tulsa, Okla., and the surrounding communities to provide comprehensive intervention and prevention services to men, women and, children affected by domestic and sexual violence. Its new 32,000-sq. ft. emergency shelter can house up to 80 women, men, children and transgendered individuals. The shelter is open 365 days per year, 24 hours per day to provide those affected by domestic violence with a safe place to stay, three meals a day and clothing. And, as of April 13th, the facilities will include a children’s library.

“This library will be a safe place to encourage reading and bonding between parents and their children in the aftermath of the trauma they have experienced,” said DVIS Executive Director Tracey Lyall. “We are grateful for the efforts of Jewish Women International and look forward to seeing positive memories created for years to come.”

If press is interested in attending the event, please contact Meredith Jacobs at mjacobs@jwi.org or 202-464-4803.

Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.


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Jewish Women’s Group Dedicates Children’s Library at Detroit Shelter

Library at YWMC Interim House is Jewish Women International’s 52nd in domestic violence shelters nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
(d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591

April 1, 2016                                                        

Washington, D.C. – JWI (Jewish Women International), the premier international Jewish women’s organization working to end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls, will dedicate a brand new children’s library at a domestic violence shelter on April 6th in Detroit, MI. The library, to be housed in the YWCA Interim House-YWCA Metropolitan Detroit, is funded by Hopeline from Verizon. This grant is one in a series of grants Verizon is giving to state-wide domestic violence prevention organizations.

JWI’s National Library Initiative is working toward establishing 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country. The library in Detroit is the 52nd to open as part of the initiative.

“JWI’s National Library Initiative puts the children front and center by providing a sanctuary where each child can find the comfort that only a good book and a safe place can provide,” said JWI’s CEO Lori Weinstein. “Our philanthropic commitment is anchored by our work across the country educating, training and advocating for the end of domestic violence.”

YWCA Interim House is a unit of the YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit, serves 700 families during the course of a year and is the first and largest shelter in Michigan. The shelter was established in 1979 with a goal of helping every woman and child recover from the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing safety options for building healthy relationships. They offer services to battered women and their children in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment. The average length of stay is 60 days.

“We are so excited at the shelter to have the support that JWI is providing for our library,” said Curtis France, shelter administrator for YWCA Interim House. “The books will give the children much to read during the next year. They will be able to come into the childcare center and have an array of new materials to explore. And the two new computers will give both mothers and children access to the internet. These are incredible gifts allow for comfort and education—critical tools to allow our mothers and children the ability to move forward and build new lives.”

If press is interested in attending the event, please contact Meredith Jacobs at mjacobs@jwi.org or 202-464-4803.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.

JWI to Bring Comfort to Women Living in Domestic Violence Shelters on Mother’s Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         
April 1, 2016

CONTACT: Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
Direct: 202.464.4803 / (c) 301.529.8591

Washington, D.C. – This Mother’s Day, the women living in 200 domestic violence shelters nationwide will receive bouquets of flowers and financial literacy resources through Jewish Women International’s (JWI) Flower Project. Since 1999, JWI’s Flower Project allows the 45,000 women and children spending Mother’s Day in more than 200 battered women’s shelters nationwide know they are remembered and loved and provides financial literacy resources to help them rebuild their lives and create safe homes for their children.

“Our Flower Project gives the 45,000 women and children living in domestic violence shelters a chance to spend a moment away from the daily worries of housing, safety, employment and their health and well-being, by lifting their spirits and letting them know that people they’ve never met before are thinking about them,” says Kim Holstein, chair of Jewish Women International’s board of trustees. “These survivors strive every day to build better lives for themselves despite countless obstacles and overwhelming adversity, and a bouquet of vibrant flowers can remind them that they are loved.”

Each $25 contribution allows JWI to send a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day card to the honoree of the sender’s choosing. Proceeds from the sales of cards are used to send bouquets of flowers and specially developed financial literacy resources to domestic violence shelters. JWI has established relationships with nearly 200 domestic violence shelters across the country, which it supports through projects including its Flower Project and the National Library Initiative, which establishes children’s libraries in homeless and battered women’s shelters. The funds raised through the Flower Project sustain JWI’s programs and advocacy and educational initiatives, which empower women and girls and seek to break the cycle of domestic and sexual violence.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th.

"Gifts of this kind raise the spirits of women who are trying to move forward towards a second chance at a better life,” said Beth Burns, director of Chelsea House in Tallahassee, FL, a Flower Project recipient. “Our heartfelt thanks to JWI for the beautiful flowers for Mother’s Day."

“With a donation to JWI’s Flower Project, you are not only honoring the special people in your life by telling them they’ve inspired you to help women in need, you’re also bringing happiness to women and children struggling to move forward and build a better future,” says JWI CEO Lori Weinstein. “This small gesture of kindness helps inspire optimism and renewed faith for victims of domestic violence.”

To learn more about this important project, or to make a donation and send a card, visit jwi.org/flowerproject or call 800.343.2823.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.

 

Jewish Women International Urges Congress to Move Forward With Hearings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2016
CONTACT: Meredith Jacobs, VP of Communications
Direct: 202.464.4803

Washington, D.C. – Jewish Women International (JWI) commends President Obama on his nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, to the Supreme Court and urges Senate to move forward with hearings. Says Loribeth Weinstein, CEO of JWI: 

“The President has fulfilled his obligation and nominated a most impressive candidate to the Supreme Court. Chief Judge Merrick Garland is an accomplished and highly respected jurist who is eminently qualified to fill the vacancy on our nation’s highest court. We urge the Senate to set aside any possible obstructionist tactics and move forward with hearings. There is simply too much at stake for women and girls, and for all Americans who, in the words of Chief Judge Garland upon his nomination, 'trust[s] that justice will be done in our courts without prejudice or partisanship.'”

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence. 

JWI Responds to Tragic Shooting in Kansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2016
CONTACT: Meredith Jacobs, VP of Communications
Direct: 202.464.4803

Washington, D.C. – As the recent tragedy in Hesston, Kansas shows, domestic violence is not a private matter, but a public safety crisis that impacts millions of people every day. The perpetrator of yesterday’s horrific crime had a history of firearm violations and domestic abuse convictions. Violent abusers with guns are a threat to our families, workplaces and communities. JWI calls on Congress to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and  take immediate action to end the epidemic of gun violence that continues to claim innocent lives. We stand with the Hesston community in mourning the victims of this tragedy and pray for healing and strength for the survivors.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence. 

JWI Applauds President Obama’s Executive Actions to Prevent Gun Violence; Urges Congress to Follow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2016
CONTACT: Meredith Jacobs, VP of Communications
Direct: 202.464.4803

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Obama announced crucial executive actions to reduce gun violence in the United States. These actions include expanding and improving background checks, preventing firearms trafficking, increasing access to mental health treatment and encouraging better reporting of mental health records to the federal background check system, and promoting the development of new gun safety technologies. JWI was proud to be among so many distinguished members of Congress, members of the President’s leadership team, scores of victims of gun violence, and national advocates at the White House for this powerful announcement. Lori Weinstein, JWI’s CEO, issued the following statement: 

“JWI applauds President Obama’s strong leadership to enforce the law, prevent gun violence, and make our homes and communities safer.  The executive actions announced by the President today will keep guns out of the wrong hands, ensure that existing laws are enforced effectively, expand access to mental health treatment, spur the development of new and innovative gun safety technologies and increase focus on the intersection between guns and domestic violence. Gun violence has claimed too many innocent lives in our country, and these executive actions represent crucial progress toward a safer America for all.

JWI calls on Congress to follow the President’s lead by enacting legislation to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating abuse, and stalking, who are placed at extreme risk by abusers with firearms. The presence of a gun in an abusive home increases the risk of fatal violence by five hundred percent, and over half of all women murdered by an abusive partner are killed with a gun. It is crucial to enforce current laws that prohibit convicted abusers and stalkers from possessing guns, and to pass legislation to close the loopholes that allow some convicted abusers and stalkers to still purchase and possess guns. JWI looks forward to working with the US Attorney’s office as they carry out the President’s directive to increase their focus on the intersection between guns and domestic violence.Guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination, and JWI is committed to working for commonsense solutions to ensure that guns are kept out of the hands of violent abusers. Through our Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, we are lobbying for key legislation, educating clergy, and uniting a diverse interfaith community in support of closing the dangerous loopholes that put victims and survivors at risk.

We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration and Congress to prevent gun violence and ensure that all women, children, and families can live and thrive in safe homes and communities.”

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence. 

JWI Commends Increased VOCA/VAWA Funding in New Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2015
CONTACT: Ilana Flemming, Manager of Advocacy at JWI
Direct: 202.464.4817

JWI commends the members of Congress for their dedication to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. The new budget would increase funding for crucial victim services programs, including VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA. Many victim service programs are underfunded and understaffed, and are forced to turn victims away for lack of resources. The proposed budget provides essential funding to these programs, and increases funding from the previous fiscal year, so that service providers will be able to serve a greater number of victims and survivors in the coming fiscal year. We thank Congress, and especially Appropriators, for recognizing the importance of these services, which provide crucial support to victims and survivors of violence as they seek to rebuild their lives in safety. JWI continues to work for a future of safe homes and healthy relationships for all women and families.

While we are pleased that the proposed budget includes increased funding for VAWA, we are concerned that this money was taken from the VOCA fund. VAWA is a taxpayer-funded program that focuses on systemic responses to gender-based violence. In contrast, VOCA is funded by criminal penalties and its funds are intended to support direct service providers and crime victims. This budget maneuver sets a poor precedent for future years, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress to ensure that VOCA, VAWA, and other crucial programs receive full support from the appropriate funding sources.  

JWI thanks all the members of Congress for their hard work and dedication. We are especially grateful for the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, and for all of the Appropriators who have consistently advocated for victims and survivors of violence.

Clergy Condemn Assault on Colorado Planned Parenthood Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2015
CONTACT: Deborah Rosenbloom, VP of Programming at JWI
Direct: 202.464.4816

The recent violent assault on a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado is a cause for concern among all people of goodwill, regardless of political or religious affiliation. The staff members and clients who were killed or injured are spouses, parents, siblings, children. Their families are left to mourn, to try and recuperate and to heal, and to come to terms with the sudden violence that has changed their lives forever. As members of the clergy, we extend our condolences for those killed and our prayers for healing for those injured. 

As members of the clergy we  express our strong support for the work of Planned Parenthood and our solidarity with the professionals and volunteers who provide a wide range of medical and related services for women, children and families. We condemn the targeting of Planned Parenthood in current political discourse. We oppose the misleading and especially the untruthful accusations made against Planned Parenthood. 

Regardless of one’s personal political persuasion, we are called on to be speakers of truth. Regardless of one’s ethical convictions, we are responsible for maintaining a civil as well as lawful level of debate and dissent. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, we are obligated to recognize that others with equally fervent religious beliefs, or with none, are entitled to safety in making difficult choices that have been legally guaranteed to them.

Rabbi Marla Hornsten and Rabbi Ari Lorge
Co-Chairs, Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community

Five D.C. Area Women Named 2015 Women to Watch by JWI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 11, 2015
CONTACT: Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
direct: 202.464.4803 // cell: 301.529.8591

Tech influencer, anti-poverty advocate and kosher chef among of 10 Jewish women leaders to be celebrated at December event in Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Building on a tradition of showcasing Jewish women’s leadership, Jewish Women International has named tech leader Allyson Kapin, CEO of the American Association for Justice, Linda Lipsen; Senior Director of ONE, Laurie Moskowitz; and Jewish cookbook author and pastry chef, Paula Shoyer as 2015 Women to Watch.  Lynn Morgan, community leader and advocate, will also be honored with the Sondra D. Bender Community Leadership Award. 

They are joined by five other women, including attorney Roberta Kaplan, who represented Edie Windsor in the landmark case United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as part of the 2015 Women to Watch honorees. The annual event, now in its 15th year, will be held on December 7th at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel. The “Up Close & Personal” Symposium (unscripted question and answer session with the honorees, moderated by Meredith Jacobs, former editor-in-chief of the Washington Jewish Week and current VP of communications for JWI) will begin at 9:30. The luncheon, hosted by Ellen Stone, executive vice president of marketing for Bravo & Oxygen Media and member of JWI’s Board of Trustees, will follow at 11:30 am and will end at 2:00 pm. Close to 1,000 attendees are expected.

“Women to Watch” events will kick off on Sunday, December 6th with JWI’s 3nd annual Sondra D. Bender Institute’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference.  Approximately 200 young women in their 20s and 30s will gather to speak with and learn from current and former Women to Watch honorees. The Young Women’s Leadership Network recently expanded to New York with a successful first event attended by more than 125 women.

“This year, JWI is honoring women who have been game changers in the worlds of social justice, technology, global hunger and poverty and Jewish life,” said the organization’s CEO, Lori Weinstein. “We have selected an inspiring group of 10 women leaders and role models who represent a diverse array of fields. Each is leaving her mark on her own community, on the country and on the global community of women JWI works to better every day.

Both the Young Women’s Leadership Conference and the Women to Watch luncheon & symposium will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel.  A limited number of seats are available to press. If interested in attending or covering, please contact Meredith Jacobs.

This year’s honorees are individually profiled in the fall issue of JW magazine as well as at its website, jwmag.org. 

Selected for their unique contributions across a wide array of professions, the 2015 D.C.-area honorees are: 

Allyson Kapin, Washington, D.C.
Online advocacy expert; co-author of Social Change Anytime Everywhere; founding partner of the Rad Campaign; named one of the Top Tech Titans by Washingtonian magazine, one of the Most Influential Women in Tech by Fast Company and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes.
 
Linda Lipsen, Washington, D.C.
CEO of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America); widely honored as an influential lawyer, lobbyist and advocate for injured Americans; former director of the legislative advocacy program for Consumers Union.

Lynn Morgan, Washington, D.C. (Sondra D. Bender Community Leadership Honoree)
Co-founder and president of Morgan Language Services Corporation; member of the board of directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; co-chair of synagogue outreach for AIPAC’s Greater Washington, DC Council; JFGW’s Jerome J. Dick Young Leadership awardee.

Laurie Moskowitz, Washington, D.C.
Political organizer; senior director of U.S. campaigns for ONE, the anti-poverty advocacy organization co-founded by Bono of U2; co-founder of consulting agency FieldWorks; recently introduced a bill in Congress to provide electricity to 50 million African citizens.

Paula Shoyer, Chevy Chase, Md.
French-trained pastry chef teaching classes in French pastry and Jewish cooking in the Washington, DC area and around the world; author of The Holiday Kosher Baker and The Kosher Baker: 160 Dairy-Free Desserts from Traditional to Trendy; freelance writer for numerous news outlets.

Honorees from outside the D.C. area are:

Rebecca Alexander, New York, N.Y.
Psychotherapist, author, extreme athlete and activist; raised awareness and more than $100,000 for the Usher III Initiative, which promotes research on Usher Syndrome, the genetic disease she was diagnosed with as a teen; author of Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.

Deborah Berebichez, New York, N.Y.
Physicist, educator and entrepreneur dedicated to promoting education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields; the first Mexican woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University; currently serves as vice president of risk analysis at MSCI on Wall Street.

Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, Los Angeles, Calif.
The first female rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, now spiritual consultant to Canyon Ranch in Arizona and Massachusetts and a nationally-recognized speaker; author of We Plan, God Laughs: What to Do When Life Hits You Over the Head andThresholds: How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions.

Roberta Kaplan, New York, N.Y.
Litigator; adjunct professor of law at Columbia University Law School; represented Edie Windsor in the landmark case United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013; author of Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA.

Jane Randel, New York, N.Y.
Co-founder of NO MORE; co-president, Karp Randel LLC; advisor to the NFL and NASCAR on domestic violence/sexual assault policy, protocol and programs; and immediate past president of the board of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. 

More information about Women to Watch is available at jwi.org/wtw.

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Jewish Women International is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls through economic literacy, community training, healthy relationships education, and the proliferation of women’s leadership. JWI’s innovative programs, advocacy, and philanthropic initiatives protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes, thrive in healthy relationships, and realize the full potential of their personal strength. Learn more at jwi.org,facebook.com/jewishwomeninternational and twitter.com/JewishWomenIntl.