On December 4, Yeshivat Frisch held a special program for the entire junior and senior grades on the subject of abuse awareness. The first part of program included a moving performance by Naomi Ackerman in her one-woman play, “Flowers Aren’t Enough.” After the performance, students were divided into 12 smaller discussion groups led by 16 licensed clinicians from Project S.A.R.A.H. (Stop Abusive Relationships At Home), a program of Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic that provides services and resources for Jewish victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse throughout New Jersey. In these groups, students discussed the feelings that the play evoked and any personal experiences they may have had.
“As we have been seeing in the news, abuse is way too prevalent,” said Associate Principal Rabbi Joshua Wald, in his introduction to the program. “It’s something we like to think doesn’t touch our community, but unfortunately it does touch our community as well. We have been running this program for twenty years, and in light of what’s going on in the world today, it’s important that we take this program even more seriously than we ever have.”
“Flowers Aren’t Enough,” which has been translated into several languages and performed worldwide, depicts the story of an educated, religious woman from a well-to-do family who finds herself married to a volatile, violent man whom to outsiders appears like the perfect catch. The play is a composite work, compiled from stories that multiple victims of domestic violence shared with Ackerman.
“The one choice you are going to make that will affect your entire life is the person you’re going to live with,” Ackerman told the students after her performance, acknowledging Project S.A.R.A.H.’s incredible value to New Jersey’s Jewish community. “It doesn’t matter what seminary or yeshiva or school you go to, or what your grades are, or who your parents are. Every single person in this room is worthy of a good, healthy, happy relationship. Do not compromise on less than that. Everyone deserves to be respected.”