Florida Jewish Women’s Funds and Hillels to partner with JWI to address sexual assault at South Florida colleges

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September 27, 2018


Meredith Jacobs, JWI direct: 202.464.4803 // cell: 301.529.8591

Dahlia Bendavid, Greater Miami Jewish Federation 786.866/8445 

Jewish Women’s Funds in Florida and Florida-area Hillels to partner with national Jewish women’s organization to address sexual assault on college campuses in South Florida

Washington, D.C. – The University of Miami Hillel and the Hillel of Broward & Palm Beach are partnering with Jewish Women International (JWI), to educate and engage students in social

change to end sexual assault. The initiative is made possible by a collaborative grant from four South Florida Jewish Women’s Funding Network members, and will be brought to students at the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, and Florida Atlantic University.

Change the Culture was created by JWI, the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls. The multi-faceted project includes healthy relationship education, peer-led workshops, film screenings, and public awareness campaigns to empower Jewish students to tackle the epidemic of campus sexual assault. JWI has implemented the program on multiple campuses in New York, Atlanta, Minnesota and Maryland. 

"The unfortunate reality is that sexual assault is an issue for young adults and on our college campuses,” said Adam Kolett, executive director of the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. Kolett notes that while the Hillel provides a safe and nurturing environment, and staff and board members serve as advocates, educators and mentors for our students, they believe this project will bring additional training and support needed to tackle this difficult issue.

His words are echoed by Igor Khokhlov, executive director of the University of Miami’s Hillel. “Our students are looking forward to partnering with the University, student and greek communities in building an inclusive, respectful, safe, and proactive environment at the U,” said Khokhlov. “University of Miami Hillel proudly supports JWI and is excited to launch a sexual assault prevention and awareness initiative on campus.”

“This partnership with the South Florida Jewish Women’s Funds and the Hillels will allow us to foster conversations and create meaningful programs with Florida college students to make a real difference in their everyday lives while changing the culture on their campuses,” said JWI CEO Lori Weinstein. “We know that campuses are experiencing record numbers of incidences of sexual assault and unsafe dating practices. But by educating students and giving them tools to become active bystanders, supportive allies and advocates, we will create a positive change that will make our campuses safe for all students to learn and grow.”

The four Jewish Women’s Funds include the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Women’s Impact Initiative, the Jewish Women’s Foundations of South Palm Beach County, Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches, and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Broward County. “On behalf of the four South Florida Jewish Women’s Funding Network’s members, we are excited to be collaborating to support Jewish Women International’s critical program to address the pervasive issue of campus sexual assault. Empowering women and engaging men as allies will lead to necessary culture change for college students today and into the future. We know this will have a positive effect on our college students,” said Dahlia Bendavid of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

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Jewish Women International is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girl through prevention programs, advocacy, and awareness. 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. Through its National Library Initiative, JWI builds children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters nationwide. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and a principal leader of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally. JWI’s Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community provides resources and training for Jewish clergy created by members representing every denomination. For more information, please visit www.jwi.org or call us at 800-323-2823.

JWI is the leading Jewish organization working to end gender-based violence. As a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, and convener of the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, JWI supports this bill as it builds on VAWA’s previous successes and adds enhancements to ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Press ReleaseDanielle Cantor