For women dealing with physical or verbal abuse at home by a loved one, speaking out or finding help can be difficult. Thankfully, Bet Melech, a Fellowship-supported women’s shelter for battered women and children, is the only shelter in Israel specifically for Orthodox Jewish women, giving them a safe haven where their religious values are respected. Writing for The Jerusalem Post, Carmit Sapir Weitz tells us more about the aid provided at this lifesaving shelter.
Jenny never thought that her life would end up this way. She grew up in a normal family in an observant community. She studied at a state-religious high school, graduating with extremely high marks, always surrounded by friends. When she got married she looked forward to building a healthy relationship with her soul mate, both physically and spiritually.
“I wanted to educate our children on the basis of a love for Jewish principles,” she says. “I wanted a large and loving family.”
Then she ended up in a Bat Melech battered women’s shelter.
The organization, in coordination with the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and funded in part by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, established a woman’s shelter in Jerusalem and one in the center of the country out of a dire need to provide physical, mental and legal assistance to observant women suffering from physical and emotional abuse, sometimes in life-threatening danger.
Over the years, more than 1,000 women and more than 4,500 children have been rehabilitated and integrated back into society via the Bat Melech shelters…
“The shelter saved my life,” Jenny says. “From the beginning I felt like I was home. The warmth and love there allowed me and my children to go through a process – hand-in-hand with the social worker, caregivers and professional staff – that enabled me to examine my life with my husband and the challenges I faced. I understood that I didn’t have to live with this terror anymore. The process made me want to start a new life for my children and for myself.”