By Rachel Lev
Lev, a therapist and incest survivor, takes an innovative and sensitive approach to what has long been an unspeakable ordeal to so many. She blends her experiences with those of twenty-two other sexual abuse survivors and reflects upon their personal relationships to the Jewish community — a community that can either encourage denial or be a place of healing.
Sexual abuse occurs in all cultures, but Lev explains the particular difficulties for the Jewish community in acknowledging the problem, given its long history of victimization and its need for positive self images.
Shine the Light emphasizes healing, which Lev believes can come through self-expression, creativity, and, above all, feeling connected, not isolated. It tells survivors that they are not alone and helps everyone — from family to social workers to religious leaders — understand their role in the healing process and, ultimately, in preventing these violations from happening. The appendices include information for survivors, family, friends, professionals, and religious communities.
“Shine the Light reminds us that it doesn’t take magic to prevent violence, to help people heal, to create true community. It takes hard work and the courage of people to speak out. The moving stories and art by sexual abuse survivors put a face to the issues. It inspires us to get past our denial and silence, to work to make sure every home is a safe home. It reminds us there is work to do in our homes, schools, and synagogues and gives us some ideas about things we can do. Read it. Talk about it. Give it to your rabbi.”
-Esta Soler, President, Family Violence Prevention Fund
“The chapters of Shine the Light give sensitive, insightful, and meaningful voices to the real issue of domestic abuse in the Jewish community, voices that have been whispered, hushed, or silent for too long. This book is a great contribution toward proving that we are a better and more responsible community when we face hard issues, not when we ignore them. A book for all Jews of all affiliations and backgrounds.”
-Rabbi Mark Dratch, Congregation Agudath Sholom
Number of Pages: 240 (including appendices)