Jerusalem, Israel - Dec. 4, 2015 Tahel, Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children, based in Jerusalem, Israel, sponsors a hotline, training, advocacy and help for abused women and their families.

Led by Debbie Gross, Tahel offered its second international conference, "The Jewish Community Confronts Violence and Abuse" at the Ramada Hotel from November 31 - December 2, 2015.

Hundreds of health care professionals, Tahel volunteers, and international leaders in the fields of trauma, abuse and care were in the audience for opening remarks from Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau.

Among the American presenters with popular, multiple lectures were Mary Jo Barrett and Dr. Linda Stone Fish, treating complex trauma and Dr. Martha Straus, treating child and adolescent trauma.

Attorney Lawrence Braunstein, an experienced lawyer, on the faculty of New York City Police Department Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigation Course spoke to international lawyers and to participants on several topics including how to properly present evidence in court.

New York Attorney Martin Friedhandler announced the new Tahel initiative, Yashar. A new international coalition of lawyers who will work to alleviate the gett crisis by not accepting gett refusers as clients.

Dr. Michael Genovese, an expert on integrating medicine in treating trauma and addiction, and Rachel Pill, shared their endeavors to make addiction treatment centers suitable for the religious community.

New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a keynote speaker at the second morning plenary, shared stories from his politician's role in combating abuse.

Among the American and Israeli rabbinical leaders participating in the dozens of sessions were Rabbi Avrohom Union, Rabbi Zvi Gluck, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow. Rabbi Asher Melemed, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Avi Gisser, Rabbi Gidon Perl, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and Rabbi Jeremy Stern.

Participants who completed 30 hours of training over the three intense days were given special certificates after the concluding session. Among the US professionals sharing their expertise were  Lisa Twerski, Faye Wilbur, Dr. Mark Banschick, Dr Hindie Klein. Derek Saker, Adam Lancer, Dr. Rona Milch Novick, and Hillel R Sternstein

International attorneys, joined US and Israeli lawyers, including Esther Schoenfeld, Rachel Marks, Talya Faigenbaum (Australia), Sharon Stone (Canada), Dianna Levine (England), Keshet Starr, and Aliza Goldring Ginzberg. 

Martial Arts self-defense demonstrations, dramatic performances by Gil-Ad Theater of "Tzofit Has a Secret," and The Social Theater's "Strike and Stroke" at the closing session, rounded out and a packed schedule of full and informative days.

Baltimore's CHANA director of outreach and advocacy, Shmuel Fischler, attended this conference, themed "Shedding Light on the Darkness of Abuse."  Among those with Maryland connections in the photo essay: Avraham Reich, Judy Friedman, and Yael Davis.