JCS Shalom Bayit offers a full spectrum of short- and long-term compassionate assistance and confidential services to help domestic abuse survivors and their children transition to a new life free of fear and intimidation.

If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, please contact the JCS Shalom Bayit Hotline at 305.576.1818. All calls and assistance are handled in the strictest confidence.

In response to this widespread but unspoken crisis of domestic abuse in the Jewish community, JCS Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) was founded in 2006. With your donation we can continue to provide healing and hope to those in need. Please Consider Making a Donation Today.

Stories of Abuse

Arguments became frequent. He had a temper. He yelled and insulted me and my family. He threw objects and broke them.

We stayed with his parents for a while, and I saw an unhealthy family relationship. Still I stayed. I never spoke to my parents about my problems. I was still in love with him and now we had a child. We moved out of town. By the time we had our second child, he had threatened to break my arm. He was making obscene phone calls to other women, had thrown many objects at me, some missing me by a hairsbreadth, and some finding their mark.

Still I stayed. I felt like I was caught in a trap. How would I manage without him, what would people say, how would my family feel? I never told anyone about my personal problems.

 

He came highly recommended by a rebbe of a well-known yeshiva. He was good looking, intelligent, even had a master’s degree. His family was well known in their community.

The rebbe forgot to tell me about his history of personality problems. It was not until we were married for a while that disturbing parts of his personality became visible. He lied to me and insulted me for whatever I tried to do. The house was never clean enough, my cooking was never good enough, I was a lousy mother, and even his bad temper was because of me.

 

Every time she hurt our children, I thought I needed to do something about it, but then I thought about the Shanda it would bring to my family. I convinced myself that by acting as a bullet vest between her and them, I was protecting my children and my family.

The need to do Shalom Bayit was more powerful… I remember the time when we were at the counselor’s office and she got mad at me and tried to hit me but missed and instead hit the therapist. Still I did nothing, thinking that by tolerating her behavior, I was trying to create Shalom Bayit.

My wife comes from a prominent family and retained the services of an attorney everybody fears within my community. It is said that this attorney loves to kill her opponent. Now I feel totally helpless; she wants to take the children away from me. With the help of her attorney, she created this case against me. Ironic as it is, being always the aggressed, I am sitting in this court as the perpetrator. I don’t have money, I feel desperate, and my entire world is falling apart.

 

I had been feeling bad for quite a while, non-stop migraines that would put me in bed for days, non-stop vomiting, and a rash I had developed that started in my neck and traveled down my body. I had panic attacks that made me feel like I was losing my mind and was going to die. I felt so hopeless, like the end of the world was upon me.

The doctor had ordered many tests to find the cause of my symptoms, and after asking many questions, he suggested that I call the Shalom Bayit hotline. I thought it was a mistake. My husband had never laid a hand on me. Quite the opposite, he was over solicitous with me. He never let me go alone out of the house. Even when I needed to go grocery shopping, he would come with me. When I wanted to go clothing shopping, he would accompany me and even choose what looked good on me. He was all ears when I had to make decisions and would always “help me” make the best decision.

 

He started playing games with my mind to make me feel crazy and stupid.

I found myself, at 48 years old, feeling like a helpless girl with no skills. My husband had convinced me that I was no one without him and that I could not survive alone.

By now, I had nothing that I could call mine. No friends, no job, no children, no properties, not even a bank account. I had lost the self-esteem I once had and had lost all belief in my abilities.

 

I started dating my husband when I was 17 years old. I remember those days as happy times. I felt like a princess. He wanted to be with me all the time and got sad whenever I went out with my friends. He insisted on accompanying me when I went shopping. My friends were so jealous of me as none of their boyfriends wanted to go shopping with them. He loved choosing the dresses for me and “helped” me to stay on a diet. I wanted to study but he discouraged me saying that he would provide for me.

I saw what I wanted to see. After the honeymoon things started to change. He would not accept any birth control as he wanted to have a family right away. But when our son was born, he could not tolerate his crying and would shout at me if I could not quiet him. I did not have access to our bank account and had to ask for money every time I had to buy groceries. I felt humiliated. I had to show him the receipt to make sure I received the correct change. He got upset when he came home and I was on the phone talking with my mother.

After 6 years of marriage and 4 children, and being completely isolated from my family and friends, I could not tolerate the living hell I was in, and I did not know how to escape from it.

 

When I could not tolerate the suffocation and control anymore, I started looking for help in the Shalom Bayit program. Working with my therapist and the case manager, I felt empowered to find my own voice. He did not like that and the control and the abuse escalated. One day I gathered the courage to ask for a divorce…

Things escalated even more. He made sure the community knew how “crazy” I was. He presented himself as a tsaddik, always giving tzedaka to the synagogue. He even called my job to try to make them fire me. He threatened me with whatever he could to frighten me and put an end to the divorce. It is not that he cared for me, it was that he wanted to portray the perfect family picture. He used our little children to punish me, brainwashing them, humiliating me in front of them. After I finished cleaning the house, he would make a mess of it and take pictures to prove what a horrible housewife I was. He took away the car so that I could not go to work. I received a scholarship for summer camp for the children, but he would not allow the children to go. It forced me to stay home and finally lose my job. Anything that challenges his control is furiously attacked by him.

People believe him – he is handsome, presents with a charming personality, and is an expert manipulator. I am concerned that he will be able to fool the judge. He wants to take the children away from me.