CJWN is a network of remarkable Jewish women who come together to share experiences, positively impact on the wider world, provide a platform and support structure and we are delighted to partner with the NCJWC Canada to invite you to a rare opportunity to meet with Dr Janét Aizenstros and network with Jewish women from across the Commonwealth.Janét Aizenstros is the Founder and CEO of Ahava Digital Group – a women-led digital consultancy working with Fortune companies to help them connect with women consumers using data and technology.
She is an award-winning Canadian businesswoman with several leadership awards – making her the first Black-Jewish Canadian woman in history to scale a nine-figure organisation!
This Shabbat the Commonwealth Jewish Women’s Network asked #Rabbis from across the Commonwealth to use the story of #Dinah for their sermons and encourage their congregants to talk about the elimination and prevention of #genderbasedviolence – an issue relevant to all our women and communities.
The United Nations has designated 25 November to 10 December 2021 as the #16DaysOfActivismAgainstGenderBasedViolence which follows on from the Parsha for November 20th is the story of Dinah and this makes a wonderful catalyst for our campaign.
The following has been prepared by JewishCare NSW in Melbourne and we include it for you to use if you wish.
This Shabbat is Parashat Vayishlach. It is very apt that this particular parsha should coincide with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.In this parsha (Torah portion), Dinah is abducted and raped: “Shechem saw her; and he abducted her, lay with her and afflicted her” (Genesis 34:1-2). Some commentaries of Dinah’s story cite her curious and outgoing nature as a contributing factor to her rape.
There is an element of blame that is eerily familiar now:
“What was she wearing? Why was she out so late? Did she provoke him?”
The 16 Days is a fantastic opportunity to have conversations about respect, equality, and the role we can play in helping to end violence.
Perhaps the 16 Days, and this parsha, could inspire a conversation at your Shabbat table this week. For instance:
• What does respect look like in a relationship?
• Has there ever been a time when you felt unsafe because of your gender?
• What are some of the expectations we have for men and women in society? How are they different? How do they relate to violence?
• What are the impacts of victim-blaming, and what is our responsibility in calling this out? How does this relate to our Jewish values?
• Do you think the world would look different if men and women were equally represented in leadership roles? In what why?
• Dinah has no voice in this parsha; in what ways are women silenced in our world today?
On the 11th February 2021, the Commonwealth Jewish Council launched a network of exceptional women, to connect and support female leadership across Commonwealth Jewish communities.
The Network is chaired by Laura Marks OBE, who shared the aspiration that CWJN respond to the universal call to support the Commonwealth’s Global Sustainable Development Goals and be a force for good in every Commonwealth country where there is a Jewish community.
The online event was addressed by The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC – Secretary General of the Commonwealth; in her speech to the network she stated: “Bless you all for the love and commitment you are demonstrating in coming together as women to help all our communities to deliver the Commonwealth Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Speakers Rahima Mahmut – UK Project Director of the World Uyghur Congress and Dr Aliza Inbal- Founding Director for Global Innovation, also shared their stories, modelling women leading the way and making a global impact.
The discussion that followed centred on how to use our resources across Jewish communities on focus areas of Women in Leadership, Jewish Education, Inter-faith Connections, Social Action initiatives, and the Environmental Climate Challenge.
Women were invited to share opportunities and challenges with one another from Jewish communities in Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Eswatini, Gibraltar, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, St Lucia, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Given the timing challenges, this launch hosted women mostly from communities in the Western Hemisphere and in the next month a similar opportunity will be taking place with Jewish women from Eastern Hemisphere Commonwealth communities.
Commonwealth Jewish Council BCM Box 6871. London WC1N 3XX