Commonwealth Jewish Women take a stand against gender based violence

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?

To learn more about the 16 Days of Activism, visit…/in-focus-16-days-of-activism…

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