A significant number of domestic violence cases, sadly, goes unreported, and Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services recently launched a program to bring that number down: Train Mikveh Ladies to identify and aid women in need of help.
Entitled “As Water Reflects the Face,” a verse borrowed from the Book of Proverbs, the ministry’s intensive training program covers anything from spotting signs of abuse to engaging the victims in a supportive and effective way. The first class, numbering 300 Mikveh attendants from all over the country, was graduated earlier this year.
A similar initiative was attempted in 2015 by the Ministry of Public Security, but the Ministry of Religious Services’ reach is more extensive, as it oversees a significant number of Mikvaot.
“We realized that there were 900 Mikveh attendants working [in Israel] who meet women every day,” Moriah Porat Grazi, the ministry’s director of human resources, told the Israeli press. “We’re giving them comprehensive training to address a number of issues, including domestic violence. The Mikveh attendants may not be professional health care providers, but they know how to treat women with sensitivity and care.”
A number of Knesset members applauded the new initiative, and called on other ministries who oversee communal services to adopt the same model. According to recent estimates, more than 200,000 Israeli women are victims of domestic violence.