JWI leads critical discussion on harassment in the Jewish community

pictured from l-r) Lori Weinstein, Chai Feldblum, Sarah Wildman, Rabbi Elka Abrahamson

pictured from l-r) Lori Weinstein, Chai Feldblum, Sarah Wildman, Rabbi Elka Abrahamson

"Sexual harassment is not an isolated form of intimidating and abusive use of power, but rather, harassment, campus sexual abuse, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking are all part of a continuum. No one stands alone, no one stands apart." -- Loribeth Weinstein, CEO JWI

With these words, Lori Weinstein, CEO of Jewish Women International (JWI), began a powerful, honest dialogue about sexual harassment in the Jewish community. Sponsored by the Tikkun Olam Women' Foundation, "Revealing #Metoo as #Wetoo in Jewish Communal Life" shed light on the pervasiveness of harassment and inequity within our community.

Weinstein moderated the conversation among panelists Chai Feldblum, commissioner of the EEOC, Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, president of the Wexner Foundation, and Sarah Wildman, deputy editor, Foreign Policy. Before an audience of hundreds gathered in the sanctuary of Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, their discussion was punctuated by actors reading stories of sexual harassment experienced by women from the Greater Washington community:

 "The incidents that occurred were mostly with colleagues.  

  … with our partners.   

 … board members.   

… with donors.  

I was told:

'It’s part of the job.'"

Above all else, last night underscored our belief that the path to shifting the systemic imbalance of power is through women's leadership -- when women lead, we create workplaces and communities that are equitable, safe, and respectful. Lifted by the courage of all those who have come forward, we commit to fortifying our work strengthening Jewish women leaders and mentoring the next generation through our Young Women's Leadership Network.

Thanks to the Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation for hosting this important forum. We invite you to join us as we move into a future in which all women thrive.