Baltimore, MD - July 4, 2017 - As humans, we do not like pain and tend to take the path of least resistance with minimal discomfort whenever possible.  Thursday, June 29th was testament that there are times when discomfort, even a significant amount, is necessary.  It was a day that was spent addressing the topic of abuse that occurs within the community both with community members and leaders alike.  Spearheaded by CHANA, an indispensable local organization that provides services for victims of different forms of abuse and trauma, they partnered with The CJE and local rabbonim to help develop the day’s events. 

During the day, over 25 local rabbonim spent 3 plus hours hearing from 3 experts in the field of abuse and trauma; Dr. David Pelcovitz, Ms. Debbie Fox, and Ms. Lisa Ferentz. (Bios below.)  In the evening the social hall at Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion (BJSZ) was filled with community members intending on building a safer Baltimore community who heard from the same 3 speakers.  Shmuel Fischler LCSW-C and Director of Outreach for CHANA, acknowledged the complexity of the issue.  He stressed that while no one night will make the problem of abuse go away, each step we take together as a community will get us closer. “Let’s look at tonight as an investment.  An investment in the building of a better informed, better educated, better prepared community that is willing to respond to situations of abuse and addressing both the victim and perpetrator.”

Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Rav of Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion, closed the evening by thanking all those who came and strongly encouraging us all to be approachable and supportive to our friends and family when it comes to discussing this sensitive and complex topic of abuse so that we can continue developing our response together as a community.

As encouraged by professionals and Rabbonim alike, please make some time to watch the video of the night’s presentation, below.  You are all essential members of this communal effort.

(Video Credit: KF Productions)



Dr. David Pelcovitz

Dr. Pelcovitz is a noted psychologist whose career over the past 35 years has focused on clinical practice and research efforts in areas related to trauma, child abuse and parenting.  He is currently the Straus Chair in Psychology and Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education at Yeshiva University.  Before assuming that position, Dr. Pelcovitz was Director of Psychology at North Shore University Hospital and Clinical Professor of Psychology at the NYU School of Medicine.


Debbie Fox

Ms. Fox is the founder and creator of the internationally recognized Safety Kid program. She is a licensed social worker and has facilitated unique partnerships between schools, families and children to create a safer world for our community’s youngest members at home, school and at camp. She established Magen Yeladim Child Safety Institute in 2013 and currently serves as its director, consulting throughout the world on abuse prevention and intervention. Her work as a consultant has been utilized by county and state agencies in the areas of child, family and cross-cultural sensitivity training, for which she has received letters of honor and recognition.


Lisa Ferentz

Ms. Ferentz is a recognized expert in the strengths-based treatment of trauma and has been in private practice for 32 years. She presents workshops and keynote addresses nationally and internationally, and is a clinical consultant to practitioners and mental health agencies in the United States, Canada, and the UK. She has been an Adjunct Faculty member at University of Maryland School of Social Work, University of Baltimore at Maryland, University of Maryland Department of Family Medicine, and is the Founder of The Ferentz Institute, formerly known as The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education, now going into its tenth year of providing continuing education to mental health professionals and graduating over 800 clinicians from her two Certificate Programs in Advanced Trauma Treatment.  She is a valuable local resource.