Review of The Shame Borne in Silence

December 1, 2016

shameBy Daniel Stuhlman

In 1997, shortly after the publication of the first edition of this book, Rabbi Twerski, speaking at an overflow Baltimore audience, said that “True Torah observance is not conducive to any kind of abuse, physical, emotional or otherwise….” This is still his message in this revised and updated second edition.

Community members have a hard time believing that a “pillar of the community” can be a saint in public and a monster at home. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, and/or physical. Too often an abused wife is naively told to stay in the marriage and preserve shalom bayis (domestic peace). Even if the accuser is lying, we have to take an accusation seriously and try to help those involved. Rabbi Twerski, who is both a Chasidic rabbi and a psychiatrist, has many years of experience treating alcohol and other types of substance abusers. He knows that those who are sick, need professional help. Denial does not make the problems disappear.

This book is well written, but it is not a happy book. The case studies presented are sad because too often the person seeking help was not helped in the early stages by the parents, rabbis, or community members. After reading this book, you should be able to better recognize the signs of abuse and help the abused parties get the kind of help to make her or him whole. This book should be read and discussed by every rabbi, parent, teacher, and anyone else who could see domestic abuse.

It is highly recommended for every kind of library – personal, synagogue, academic, and community.

This review originally appeared in AJL Reviews.


The Silence Breakers

January 27, 2016

In an article in The Jerusalem Post on January 17, 2016 titled “The Silence Breakers,” Orit Afra writes:

In 2011, New York-based psychologist, researcher and author Dr. Michael Salamon came out with the book Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims (Urim Publications) to both community praise and “hate mail.” He felt compelled to write the book after his private practice in the Five Towns in New York received many victims of abuse from Jewish and Catholic communities alike.

Abuse in the Jewish Community

You can read the entire article on lifting the veil of silence over the issue of sexual abuse in The Jerusalem Post Magazine.