Posted by Elizabeth Schön Vainer

Recently, we received a call from a rabbi who was seeking assistance to help a woman who had a small child and had recently left her spouse who was physically abusive. She was Israeli and wanted to return home where she has family and a support system; in the US she has none.

Luckily, JF&CS Journey to Safety has a federal grant from VOCA (Victim of Crime Act) that provides some financial assistance for relocation. Time being of the essence, our staff needed to quickly have this vetted with the grant contact to ensure that international airline tickets would be an "allowable use" of funds.

Remarkably, we received a quick approval and this woman and her child flew out a few days later. She sent us a note to let us know she was okay, and ended with:

"Thank you so much! You are such an angel to me!"

It was wonderful to hear from her and learn that she had landed safely and was on her journey to put her life back together with her support system. Additionally, we made sure she had information about appropriate resources in Israel as we know that even when safe from an abusive partner there are many needs including emotional support and financial assistance. I know we are all wishing her well and hoping that she will find stability and safety.

Elizabeth Schön Vainer has been the program director of Journey to Safety, the domestic abuse program of JF&CS, since March 2010. Elizabeth is passionate about Journey to Safety's commitment to prevent domestic abuse. She believes that we must work at the individual, community, and legislative levels to shift our societal view that allows abusive behavior to remain so prevalent and damaging. When we focus on speaking up, listening to, and collaborating with others we can have a real impact. Prior to working at JF&CS, Elizabeth worked for 25 years in victim services at both the Middlesex and Suffolk County District Attorney's offices. Elizabeth holds a BSW from the University of Tel Aviv and a MS in organization and management from Antioch University.