Monday, February 09, 2009

Conference On Sex Abuse In Jewish Communities Sunday In Brooklyn

Speaking the Unspeakable:
Sexual Abuse in Jewish Communities in the US and Israel

When:  Sunday, February 15, 2009 
             1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Where:  Congregation Beth Elohim
        274 Garfield Place
        Brooklyn, NY 11215

       Pre-Registration: $10.00 Per Person (Payment received no later then Feb. 12, 2009)
       At the Door:  $15.00 (SAVE 50% by registering early!)

RSVP: The Awareness Center, Inc., P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

Make checks payable to : The Awareness Center, Inc.  A credit card payment can be used by clicking on the donation button on our web page.  Send us a note stating that the funds were for the registration fee for this event.

Call us at: 443-857-5560 or  e-mail:

Sexual abuse and assault reverberate physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds; and carry numerous clinical, legal, ethical, and societal implications. Jewish communities face specific challenges in addressing these issues; and educating and increasing awareness to those challenges is key to helping identify and treat those who have been harmed, and to preventing any additional victims from being hurt.

The workshop will offer the expertise of professionals from varied fields, perspectives, and knowledge; and is geared to helping educate and heal our communities.

Panel members will each present about the topic as it relates to their field of expertise; and an open discussion (including question/answer session) will follow.  This event will be held in English.

Speakers include:
  • Judge Hadasa Asif  - Criminal and Civil Court, Israel; as well as teaches law courses in Haifa University
  • Leah Marinelli, RN, CNM, NP - Founder/Director, Homebirth With Love
  • Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC - Founder/Director, The Awareness Center, Inc.
  • Ruth Rozen-Zvi - Clinical Child Psychologist; adjunct professor in Bar-Ilan University in Bar-Ilan University in Israel
  • Rabbi Nochem Rosenberg - Advocate for orthodox children in Borough Park and Williamsburg, New York
  • Michael J. Salamon, PhD, FPPR, FICPP - Director, Adult Developmental Center, Hewlett, NY
  • Na’ama Yehuda  -  MSC SLP TSHH, Speech-Language Pathologist with specialization in trauma, is on the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Board of Directors and Chair of the ISSTD's Development Committee

Speakers’ Bios:
Judge Hadasa Asif was born and raised in Israel. She currently lives in Ra’anana with her husband and five children. She attended and graduated the Ulpana in Kfar-Pines high-school for girls, after which she served her National Service. Hadasa completed her Bachelorette and Master degrees in Law in Bar-Ilan University, and became a licensed Attorney at Law in 1987. She worked as a lawyer till 1998, when she was appointed as Registrar at the Rehovot Magistrate’s Court and headed the Execution Office. In January 2002, Mrs. Asif was appointed as a Magistrate Judge for the Magistrate Court in Hadera, where she’s been serving to this day; presiding over and ruling in both civil and criminal cases. In addition to her work as a Judge, Mrs. Asif taught in the Law Faculty of Haifa University and for the last five years have been teaching Law in Netanya college and in “Sharei Mishpat” college in Hod Hasharon. Judge Asif also teaches “Execution of Judgments” in the Israeli Bar, and is a sought after presenter in continuing education programs ran by the Israeli Lawyers Association, where she presents annually.

Leah Marinelli, RN, CNM, NP is a partner in IMA Homebirth Midwives & Integrative Women Care.  She received her Nursing Degree at Rockland Community College, her B.S. in Women's Health at SUNY Empire State College, and her certificate degree in Nurse-Midwifery from the University of Medicine and Dentistry.
Leah has more than 18 years experience as a childbirth educator and labor support doula, and also provides doula-training workshops. She brings a wealth of home birth expertise together with clinical hospital training, using both alternative and conventional healing arts in caring for women throughout the life cycle.

Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC  is the founder and executive director of The Awareness Center. Vicki is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the state of Illinois and is a Board Certified Art Therapist.  She has an undergraduate degree in Women's Studies from Roosevelt University, and a Masters Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Vicki also attended Neve Yerushalayim School of General Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel and The Etz Chaim Center For Jewish Learning, Baltimore, MD.
Vicki has been working in the trauma field (specializing in sexual violence) for just under twenty-five years. Her experience includes working with individuals, families and groups who have experienced emotional, physical, and sexual abuse/assault, domestic violence, survivors of violent crimes, survivors of political torture, holocaust survivors/children of holocaust survivors, chemical dependency and other addictions, and bereavement issues. She has worked with both adults and children using a broad approach, which includes verbal, art, play, and other creative therapies.
Vicki served on the Family and Sexual Violence Coordinating Council of Howard County, Maryland from 2006 - 2007.
In the past Vicki has qualified as an expert witness and provided testimony in juvenile court on cases related to childhood sexual abuse and neglect. She has presented educational and experiential seminars to community groups, universities, and at professional conferences on both a local and national level.
Vicki's past volunteer work has included being a Rape Victim Advocate in Chicago, Disaster Mental Health Worker for the American Red Cross, a Volunteer Speaker in conjunction with a rape crisis center, hosted several chats on AOL in the Jewish Community Online, Jews for Judaism and for Etz Chaim Center for Jewish Learning in Baltimore.
Back in 2000 - 2002, while living in Jerusalem, Vicki founded and director of CNN-WATCH (originally called Boycott-CNN) -- a news media watch group that dealt with biases against Israel.
Vicki served as a board member of several different not-for-profit organizations, which included VOICES in Action, Inc and Alternative Behavior Treatment Centers: For Juvenile Sex Offenders and Sexually Reactive Youth). Vicki also served on the planning committee of Jewish Women International (JWI) 2nd International Conference on Domestic Abuse.
Vicki was the editor of "The 1997 - Chicagoland Area Sexual Abuse Resource Guide for Care Providers and Consumers"; and also contributed to the book -- Art Therapy Practice: Innovative Approaches with Diverse Populations, by Harriet Wadeson.

Ruth Rosen-Zvi - Clinical Child Psychologist, was born and raised in Israel. She currently lives in Givat-Shmuel with her husband, Dr. Rosen-Zvi, and their three children. Ruth is a clinical psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents, and adults. For the last decade, in addition to her private practice, Ruth has been teaching theoretical and clinical courses in various departments (e.g. Music & Movement Therapy, Special Education, Early Education) in Levinski college in Tel-Aviv. She is an adjunct professor in Bar-Ilan University where she teaches courses on providing parents with therapeutic guidance. In addition to teaching, Ruth’s academic work involves supervision of beginning clinicians. Ruth combines individual psychodynamic therapy with family-system interventions and cognitive-behavioral techniques; and applies them to both theory and clinical work.
Ruth completed her graduate and post-graduate work for a BA and MA in the Faculty of Psychology in Bar-Ilan University, and is currently involved in PhD research in that department.
Ruth Rosen-Zvi is experienced in working in educational psychology, developmental disabilities, and trauma. She worked for several years for ELI—The Israel Association for Child Protection—a leading Israeli organization committed to increasing awareness to, prevention, and treatment of abused and maltreated children. Since that time on she has been very involved with working with children and adults who’d been through traumatic experience, including trauma within the family. Ruth has worked with sick children in the Oncology unit in Tel-Hashomer Hospital, and in the Psychiatric child and adolescent clinic. She also worked with children who presented with post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms, but were misdiagnosed as suffering from learning disorders and didn’t have their trauma taken into account. These children led her to collaborative work with speech-language-pathologists on the interrelations of traumatic states, learning disabilities, language, attention, behavior, and development. Ruth is tuned into the impact of trauma on the psychological and relational development of children, and approaches trauma work with sensitivity as well as awareness to the social and cultural background of the family. She believes that the therapist’s job is to create an environment that allows the client the safety to search, understand, expand, and process their internal world. As part of her clinical interventions, Ruth often works extensively with the parents, as they are the most meaningful people in the child’s life and often have the most impact on the child’s environment. So that in order to allow the child to make internal changes, often times the parents’ functioning needs to change as well.
Ruth worked in the Educational-Psychology Services of the municipality of Bnei-Brak, and as a clinician in private practice in the Charedi (ultra-orthodox) special-education schools ran by the “Sulam” organization. Her work in the education system honed her expertise in understanding the variations in parent-child relationships and the interpretation of trauma in different cultures. Ruth is well known in the Charedi community, and several Charedi bodies and organizations such as “Ezer Mi-tzion” refer families to her for are in need of counseling and therapy.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg is an orthodox rabbi living in an ultra orthodox community in New York City.  For the last few years he has been a lone voice for children and adults living in his community who have been sexually abused. He initiated a hotline for children and teens to call for support and to educate parents.
Unfortunately, his commendable conduct and tireless work to save children from harm, has been 'repaid' by members of his community by attempts at bullying him into silence.  These attacks have included, attacking him psychologically and emotionally, portraying him as a public enemy, there was even an atttempt on his life.  
The rabbis of his community are actively encouraging this bullying by posting letters condemning his efforts to assist survivors of sexual abuse, using disparaging language against him and his conduct, warning the populace not to allow him into their shuls and or homes, not to speak to him, and effectively shunning him in his community. All for doing the right thing.
In spite of this persecution, Rabbi Rosenberg continues to be a vocal advocate for healing the wounds of those who experienced sexual abuse in the Jewish community by raising awareness to the problems. For recognition of his important work, dedication, and risking his life to help those who have been sexually abused Rabbi Rosenberg was presented with The Awareness Center’s "Rape Victim Advocate of The Year Award" for 2008. Senator James Brochin (or Maryland) and Vicki Polin, Founder/Director of The Awareness Center, Inc. presented Rabbi Rosenberg with the award in November 2008.

Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FPPR, FICPP  received his doctorate in psychology from Hofstra University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America's Behavioral and Social Sciences Section and a board certified Diplomate-Fellow Prescribing Psychologist Register.
Dr. Salamon is the founder and director of the Adult Developmental Center, Inc. (ADC), a comprehensive psychological consulting practice in Hewlett, NY. He empowers individuals and families to cope with the various psychological challenges that arise throughout the life span. Among his areas of specialization are substance abuse and alcoholism counseling, crisis management, child, family, and marital counseling, therapeutic interventions, and gerontology.
Dr. Salamon has worked as the Director of Psychology at St. John's Episcopal Hospital and Nursing Home, the Chief Psychologist at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, and the Chief Psychologist at the Gustave Hartman YM-YMHA. He is presently on staff at North Shore University Hospital. He has taught psychology at C.W. Post College of Long Island University, Touro College, and the New York Institute of Technology.
Dr. Salamon is the author of hundreds of articles, many assessment tools including the Life Satisfaction Scale and the Addiction Dependency Scale, and several books, including, Home or Nursing Home: Making the Right Choice. He has presented more than 50 papers at national and international conferences. He is listed in Television and Film Consultants, the American Psychological Association's media directory, and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows.

Na’ama Yehuda, MSC, SLP, TSHH was born and raised in Israel, and is currently residing in New York City. She is a Communication Disorders Clinician of 20 years, with extensive experience in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, scientific research, and teaching. She was involved in child development research in Tel Aviv University; Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, CT.; and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. Na’ama was elected to and served on the board of the Israeli Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, holds Bachelors and Masters degrees (Cum laude) from Tel-Aviv University, and was the recipient of the Rubinshtein Award for Excellence in Masters studies. She is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped in New York State. She specializes in working with pediatric populations, and has specific expertise in Oral-Motor disorders, Autism, Hearing loss, Cochlear Implants, Auditory Processing, Retrieval issues, ADHD, medical issues, and Emotional and Trauma-based Disorders. Na’ama consults to public schools in Harlem and the Bronx, providing speech services to struggling children, many of whom experienced maltreatment and were traumatized by witnessing or experiencing abuse.

Na’ama is a trained clinician in both Hebrew and English, and is experienced with the particular developmental issues complicated by exposure to both Hebrew and English. She often consults to parents, teachers, doctors, and other professionals in Israel and the USA about ways to optimize a child’s communicative and general development. In all of her work, Na’ama stresses a holistic view of the child; their optimal development and connection to their family, environment, and other children; and their ability to keep up with social and academic demands. 
As part of her experience in the trauma field, Na’ama attends professional workshops and teaches health and mental health professionals, parents and teachers of sick and severely handicapped children, as well as survivors of traumas and childhood abuse about trauma, communication, and dissociation. She served as a volunteer practitioner at a center that provided free services for disadvantaged populations in New York City. She attended New York State Office of Mental Health courses about post-traumatic problems in children, and took part in workshops and outreach programs to homeless shelters for runaway teens and mentally disabled women—many of whom experienced sexual abuse and other trauma—where she assisted both residents and caregivers. She was called to assist with the healing efforts post September 11th in the emergency room of St. Vincent’s Hospital in downtown Manhattan and provided support to the medical and rescue personnel. She led “Moving from Trauma to Meaning” support groups for people affected by the disaster and/or previous traumas.
Na’ama is an active advocate for healing, internationally. She is an elected professional on the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), chairs the ISSTD’s Development Committee, participates in the Child and Adolescent Task force, and holds various other volunteer positions within the organization and its component groups. She is a member of local professional groups, and remains a member of the Israeli Speech, Language and Hearing Association. For more than five years she volunteered on the support team of an international e-group for trauma survivors and their families; as well as founded and ran a not-for-profit psycho-educational support group for people with post-traumatic disorders. Na’ama wrote and published articles in her various areas of expertise, and was asked to review books, publications, and studies. She was invited to contribute to the “Critical Issues” column in its official newsletter, and her article “The Language of Dissociation” was published in the 2006 Journal of Trauma and Dissociation—the first article in the journal of its kind and the first by a non-mental health professional. Among colleagues in the Communication Disorders and Mental Health fields, Na’ama is considered a pioneer in bridging gaps of information and collaboration between disciplines and advocating on behalf of children everywhere. 

Registration Form:
Make checks payable to The Awareness Center, Inc., Send registration form and checks to: The Awareness Center, Inc., P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209
 A credit card payment can be used by clicking on the donation button on our web page.  Send us a note stating that the funds were for the registration fee for this event.  Call us at: 443-857-5560 or   e-mail:

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