As the broader world has learned over the past few months, abuse of power within institutions (what we call “institutional abuse”) is both systemic and potentially overwhelming. Sacred Spaces is the brainchild of a group of Jewish professionals frustrated by witnessing an ongoing cycle of abuse, cover-up, and superficial reforms made only in response to media exposure of longstanding institutional abuse. In 2015, we sat in a room, closed the door, and asked ourselves the following questions:
Our answer is Sacred Spaces, a cross-denominational initiative to systemically address abuse of power in Jewish institutions. At the center of our actions is the biblical call in Exodus 25:8 to construct a sanctuary: “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them” (ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם). When we create safe and sacred communal spaces, we invite God’s presence to reside in our midst.
Our vision is no less than creating new standards for abuse prevention and response in every single Jewish institution; and we cannot do that alone. Many of you have been with us on this journey from our earliest days while others have joined us only recently. Whenever you got here, and whatever your reason for being here – we’re so glad you are.
Stay tuned for our next newsletter to learn what we’ve got planned for the year ahead.
Shira Berkovits, Esq., Ph.D.
Founder and CEO