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October 25, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 25, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 25, 2013 By Ben Sales BEIT SHEMESH, Israel (JTA)--It was only when her sons came at her with knives that she realized keeping quiet was not going to work. For nine years, her rabbis had told her not to speak up about her husband's verbal, physical and sexual attacks. They assured her that the abuse would pass, that if she obeyed his every wish--fold- ing his napkin just so or letting him do as he liked in bed--the attacks Would end and he would stop telling their grown sons she was a bad mother. But when her sons began to threaten her, she knew it was time to leave. " Taking her youngest chil- dren, she turned to Yad Sarah, a highly regarded Israeli charity founded by former Je- rusalem Mayor Uri Lupolian- ski. The organization mainly focuses on medical services, but it also runs a domestic abuse division geared toward Orthodox Jews. A professional there directed her to Bat Me- lech, a shelter for .battered religious women. "It was amazing," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. "I was sure that I was not a normal person and they were nice to me." The wall of silence sur- rounding sensitive domestic issues in the haredi Orthodox community has long been seen as an impediment to Breaking a culture of secrecy on domestic abuse in haredi community successfully addressing them. Yad Sarah and Bat Melech have sought to change the situation--and their efforts appear to be bearing fruit. A decade ago, haredi com- munity leaders rarely spoke openly about violence against women. Now leading rabbis are working with experts to fight abuse in the community. "We've succeeded in that they talk about it publicly," said Shlomit Lehman, a professor of social work who founded the Yad Sarah domes- tic abuse division. "There was always family violence, but they kept it secret. Our con- nection with the community and leadership is stronger. There's discretion and profes- sional care." Lehman started the divi- sion in 2000 with two thera- pists. Now there are 16 serving 150 patients a monttr, making Yad Sarah the second-most active domestic abuse center in Israel. Bat Melech, founded in 1995, runs two shelters and is expanding its Beit-Sh- emesh facility. The Crisis Center for Religious Women, which refers abuse victims to professional care, is organiz- ing an international confer- ence slated for December 2014 on preventing violence and abuse in the religious community. Until recent years, experts say, haredi rabbis would deal with cases of domestic abuse privately; only rarely would they make referrals to professionals or recommend divorce. Victims often were stigmatized and their children had a harder time finding marriage partners. "It's easier to say that's not in our community," said Eitan Eisman, a modern Orthodox rabbi who recommends Bat Melech's services and advo- cates for its work. "That's easier than looking at our sins. Some people deny reality, and some people think they can deal with the issues alone in the community. But more and more people are accepting this reality." Both Bat Melech and Yad Sarah have made rabbinic outreach a central part of their strategies. Yad Sarah launched a rabbinic commit- tee with representatives of Israel's major haredi organi- zations. Those leaders in turn instructed communal rabbis to refer battered women to the two organizations. Bat Melech founder Noach Korman says only a minority of haredi rabbis still ignore domestic violence and most support his organization's mission. Still, discretion remains a paramount concern for haredi rabbis, many of whom still refuse to" advocate publicly for the two organizations. Leading haredi papers will not run ads for Bat Melech and Yad Sarah, though online haredi publications do cover them. Haredi schools also PAGE 13A Ben Sales Bat Melech founder Noach Korman at the Bat Melech shelter in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, Sept, 12, 2013. do not permit Yad Sarah to run seminars on domestic abuse for their students. The culture of secrecy doesn't'bother Lehman, who sees an advantage in wielding the significant influence of haredi rabbis. "In the general population, public discourse is the way to deal with this," Lehman said. "In the religious community it's very different. The blessing comes from what's hidden. It's easier to deal with things in the haredi community when you talk about it quietly." Haredi couples are more reluctant than their secular peers to choose divorce. Lehman considers a battered women's shelter a last resort. Instead, Yad Sarah encour- ages abusive husbands toseek therapy in parallel with their wives. Lehman says that for every 100 women who "seek treatment, approximately 40 men come as well. "The hierarchy between husband and wife in the haredi a good excuse for the violence, but it doesn't create the violence," she said. Haredi communities"educate for respect in the faroily. The violence doesn't start in the hierarchy or the biblical verse." Though growing numbers of women have sought treat- ment in recentyears, Korman and Lehman saywork remains to be done. Bat Melech at times has to turn women away--in part because of the high num- ber of children thatsometimes accompany them. The shelters have served 800 women and, Korman estimates, more than 3,000 childrer. "People aren't waiting," Lehman said. "They come when they're dating or in the first year of marriage, so there are more options. Their entire lives areahead of them." industry, dispute that notion. Writing recently in Food Safety News, Regenstein and Lytton say a likelier explana- tion ties in the kosher method of feather removal. Most poultry is placed in scalding water before plucking, but kosher poultry is dry plucked or soaked in very cold water due to restrictions prohibiting any form of cooking before the meat has been soaked and salted. "Immersion in scalding water prior to plucking of nonkosher poultry produc- tion reduces microbial load, by either washing microbes awayorby kflhng them,whxch might account for differences between kosher and other pro- duction methods," Regenstein and Lytton wrote. Millman, 17, who does not keep kosher, told JTA in an interview between classes at the prestigious Horace Mann School that he was "?ery surprised" by the findings. The Manhattan resident first became interested in kosher issues a few years ago during a family trip to Israel. "W.hile we wire there, we were eating a lot of kosher food, and I was interested in whether kosher is healthier," he said. Interested in exploring the question, Millman ap- proached his uncle, Bruce Hungate, a biology professor at Northern Arizona Univer- sity. Hungate, the director of the university's Center for Ecosystem, Science and Soci- ety, connected him to Price. Together they designed an experiment to test 10 brands of chicken in each of four categories. Millman did not perform the actual lab tests, but he collected the samples, visited the lab and took the lead in writing up the results. He also presented the findings .at the American Society for Microbiology conference in Denver this year. Millman and the profes- sional scientists with whom he partnered acknowledge that the study, with its relatively small sample size, is not in- tended to offer the final word on the topic. "This was big enough for a pilot study, and the finding was dramatic and consistent enough to indicate a problem," Price told JTA. "Of course there's a need to follow up .with a larger study and larger sample." Price said that because the drugs used by companies to raise chickens are "considered a trade secret" in the United States, provided they use FDA-approved antibiotics, it is difficult for researchers to track. He noted that 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics are used each year in meat production, compared to 7.7 million used for human medi- cal purposes. Millman said he isn't sure whether more research with raw chickens is in his future, though he remains concerned about the overuse of antibiot- ics in meat productiorand its implications for consumer health and the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. Havingvaried interests, the high school senior has yet to decide whether he will major in the sciences in college. "I guess the most impor- tant skill that I learned is the importance of asking good questions and being willing to follow where your curiosity takes you," Millman said. ESTATE BUYER Silver. Coins. Gold. Diamonds Daniel Montesi 407-831-8544 NEW YORK (JTA)--For several months during the spring of his 10th grade year, Jack Millman had an unusual Saturday ritual: He and his mother would ride around metropolitan New York and buy up vast quantities of raw chicken. Millman and his mother, Ann Marks, didn't cook the poultry. Instead they put it on ice and shipped it overnight to a lab in Arizona, which tested it for antibiotic-resistant strains of the E. colt bacteria. The study, which included 213 samples of raw chicken purchased at 15 locations in the New York area, found that kosher Chicken has nearly twice the frequency of antibiotic-resistant strains as nonkosher. The reSults were first published in the journal F1000 Research in July. The findings a'e perplex- ing. Kosher laws contain no requirements about how chickens are raised, and the only difference between ko- sher and conventional poultry is in the slaughtering and de-feathering. Lance Price, a microbiolo- gist with Translation Genom- ics Research Institute in Phoenix who helped design the study, suggested that kosher companies might be sourcing from producers or hatcheries that use more antibiotics. But Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University, and Timothy Lytton, the au- thor; of a recently published book on the kosher food By Julie Wiener High school senior Jack Millman is the lead author of a study that found kosher chicken twice as likely as non-kosher to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Plucky N.Y. teen gets surprising lowdown on kosher cnxcken