fbpx
Sunday, June 7, 2020

Rochel Leah Bernstein: Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Rochel Leah Bernstein is on a mission to protect children from sexual abuse at schools, congregations, camps and after-school programs.

With the support of the Jewish community business incubator Jumpstart Labs, Bernstein has launched The Child Safety Pledge, which seeks to have funders of youth-serving organizations require those organizations to take measures to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse within their operations and programs.

“I am urging funders, philanthropists in the Jewish community and the community at large to step up,” the 33-year-old Bernstein said. “There’s so much money spent in the Jewish world on Jewish education, and Jewish education is not enough without child safety. So, to me, anyone who funds Jewish education is someone who should be — if they are not already — funding child safety.”

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is one of four founding signatories to the pledge.

Bernstein, a survivor of sexual abuse, said that Erin’s Law — legislation first adopted by Illinois in 2013 and then by 30 other states, including California, after a campaign by sexual assault survivor Erin Merryn — provided her the inspiration for the pledge. In addition to her personal experience, she also was guided by the philanthropic example set by her parents. Her late father, Zalman Bernstein, was a billionaire businessman who endowed the Avi Chai Foundation, which functions in Israel and the United States, and the New York-based Tikvah Fund, and gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli causes and other charities. Her stay-at-home mother volunteered to aid the sick and the disabled.

“At home I saw, on a small scale and on a large scale, a dedication to the community,” she said.

Bernstein, who is divorced, has three daughters — ages 4, 6 and 10 — and an 8-year-old son. She is raising them shomer Shabbos and in a kosher household, though she does not subscribe to any denomination. Although she was raised observant — “frum from birth,” she said — she has gone through many phases in her spiritual journey.

“I try very hard not to be labeled,” she said. “It’s not my thing.”

Bernstein also volunteers at Tomchei Shabbos, an organization that provides free groceries to low-income families. At Tomchei Shabbos, she has started an event that invites children to wrap gifts and make cards for children in need.

“Anyone who funds Jewish education is someone who should be … funding child safety.”

“I try to make my home and my family an environment where my kids are learning about giving,” she said.

For several years, Bernstein funded and helped implement healthy eating and nutrition programs at her children’s Orthodox day school.

“I don’t know about Reform and Conservative schools,” she said, “but Orthodox ones have issues with nutrition.”

She is confident her work can make a difference in the community.

“At the end of the day, unfortunately, I don’t know that we are able to — by ‘we’ I mean society — eradicate child sexual abuse,” she said. “But I believe if we make our institutions unsafe for predators, they won’t come to our institutions.”

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Pelosi Accuses Trump of “Acquiescence” Amid the Rise in Anti-Semitism

“He has created a climate in which this has become more accept[able],” she said.

Netanyahu Criticizes Settlement Leaders for Anti-Trump Comments

The settler leaders also reject any recognition of a Palestinian state, as outlined in the American plan.

Palestinians Accused of Piggybacking on Riots to Wreck Synagogues

A number of Los Angeles synagogues have been vandalized or even destroyed during the riots.

Is Longtime Pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel in Trouble?

With comparisons being made to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset of former Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, his job may be in jeopardy as New York voters head to the polls on June 23.

Al Sharpton and the Painful Contradictions Between Fighting Racism and Anti-Semitism

Fighting racism can sometimes involve elements of anti-Semitism.

German Halle Synagogue Shooter Attempts Prison Escape

He climbed an 11-foot fence during a walk through a prison courtyard.

Nearly Half the Jewish Sites in Syria and a Quarter of the Sites in Iraq Have Been Destroyed

Baghdad alone had more than 120,000 Jews before a series of pogroms and persecutions caused them to leave.

For Orthodox Jews, George Floyd Protests Stir Complicated Feelings

"People are just concerned about safety and everyone wants to feel that they’re safe and that their stores are safe, their communities are safe.”

Knowledge, Will and Blessings – Thoughts on Torah Portion Naso

Knowledge, Will and Blessings Thoughts on Torah Portion Naso 2020 (adapted from 2019)   I often meet with a person who is looking to change their life...

CA to Allow Bars, Gyms, Schools, Sporting Events to Reopen June 12

California will start allowing bars, gyms, schools, summer camps and professional sporting events to start reopening on June 12. The Associated Press reported the state...

Culture

For Orthodox Jews, George Floyd Protests Stir Complicated Feelings

"People are just concerned about safety and everyone wants to feel that they’re safe and that their stores are safe, their communities are safe.”

Watching ‘Uncut Gems’ Will Inspire You to Reexamine Black-Jewish Relations

Describing “Uncut Gems” as that movie that brought Adam Sandler rave reviews for playing a New York Jewish diamond dealer doesn’t do it justice.

The Israel Film Center Festival Goes Virtual this Year. Here’s What You Need to Know

With theaters closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, movie releases largely have gone virtual, allowing fans to screen the latest films at home. This...

Black Jewish Woman Speaks out on Racism She Experienced at L.A. Jewish Day Schools

"As a black Jew, I've never faced more racism in my life than I have from the Jewish community and Jewish schools."

‘Mrs. America’ Is a Love Letter to Jewish Women

Who else could stand up to a figure as formidable, organized and savvy as Phyllis Schlafly?

Latest Articles
Latest

Pelosi Accuses Trump of “Acquiescence” Amid the Rise in Anti-Semitism

“He has created a climate in which this has become more accept[able],” she said.

Netanyahu Criticizes Settlement Leaders for Anti-Trump Comments

The settler leaders also reject any recognition of a Palestinian state, as outlined in the American plan.

Palestinians Accused of Piggybacking on Riots to Wreck Synagogues

A number of Los Angeles synagogues have been vandalized or even destroyed during the riots.

Is Longtime Pro-Israel Congressman Eliot Engel in Trouble?

With comparisons being made to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset of former Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, his job may be in jeopardy as New York voters head to the polls on June 23.

Al Sharpton and the Painful Contradictions Between Fighting Racism and Anti-Semitism

Fighting racism can sometimes involve elements of anti-Semitism.

Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Assault by 4 More Women, Including Minor in New York Lawsuit

A new lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein in New York city accuses the former film producer of raping four women, including one who was...

Lil Dicky Is the Larry David of Rap in His Show ‘Dave’

If you haven’t heard of the comic rapper Lil Dicky, and you are at least tangentially interested in rap or comedy, you should familiarize...


‘Love & Stuff’ Sees Life, Death and Motherhood Through a Jewish Lens

How do you cope with both the death of a parent and the artifacts she left behind, while preparing to become a mother yourself...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 53: Are We Turning the Corner of Pandemic Times?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Morning. Reflections on how one mega-story has taken over another, and what it means moving forward. How do we manage our...

Pandemic Times Episode 52: Dealing with the Rise of Jew-Hatred

New David Suissa Podcast Every Morning. Author Severyn Ashkenazy discusses the plague of anti-Semitism and his new book, Swords of the Vatican, Reflections of a...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x