November 9, 2020

Responding to Continued Domestic Violence with the Jewish Women’s Collective Response Fund

 On November 9, the Hadassah Foundation and the Jewish Women’s Collective Response Fund hosted leaders of the three grant recipients to learn about their cutting-edge programs and campaigns designed to support survivors of violence.

Presenters included:

Debbie Gross, Founder and Director, Tahel: The Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children
With 85 percent of its clientele coming from the Haredi population, Tahel provides emotional support, advice, and referrals for women and children in times of crisis.

Tamar Schwartz, Executive Director, Women’s Spirit
Women’s Spirit provides tools, knowledge, and support for the economic independence and personal development of women survivors of violence.

Noam Shmallo, Resource Development Coordinator, MASLAN: The Negev’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center
MASLAN, one of nine crisis centers in Israel, offers emergency services and counseling for people located throughout the Negev region.


In order to address the sharp rise of domestic violence in Israel during the COVID-19 pandeic, the Jewish Women’s Collective Response Fund was created. Convened and facilitated by The Hadassah Foundation, the Response Fund is comprised of:

  • Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Women’s Amutot Initiative,
  • Israel Lion’s of Judah,
  • Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago,
  • Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta, and
  • The Hadassah Foundation.


Debbie Gross, Founder and Director of Tahel – Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children:
Debbie made aliya to Israel in 1978 and since then has been a trailblazer in the religious community in the areas of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. She has been an activist in helping communities throughout the world set up protocols to protect their children and women, and has set up training programs for rabbis and religious professionals.

Among Debbie’s many awards, in 2016 she was honored with the Israeli Knesset award for “Women Who Are Changing The World” and in 2017 “The Award for Recognition for Fighting the Battle Against Violence Against Women” by the Minister of Social Equality of Israel. In 2020 Debbie was the recipient of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize”. Debbie lives in Ashkelon and is the proud grandmother of seventeen sabras.

Tamar Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Spirit:
Tamar served for 10 years as an Organizational Consultant and HR Officer in the IDF’s leadership development school. When she completed her time at the Army, Tamar was appointed CEO of Mesila, Tel Aviv’s Special Unit for Refugees and Migrant Workers.

Over the years, Tamar has won several prestigious awards for her unique work – IDF’s Education Corp Award, Joint-Ashalim Award, Keren Shalem Award and the Presidential Award for human trafficking fighters. Following her time in Mesila, Tamar was a fellow in the Mandel Leadership Institute where she developed a unique intervention model of Boarding School Rehabilitation for Parents and Children. Tamar holds a BA in Social Work from Ben Gurion University and a MA in Interdisciplinary Art Therapy with specialty in Holistic Healthfrom Leslie College (graduated Magna Cum Laude).

Noam Shmallo, Resource Development Coordinator of MASLAN – The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center:
Noam, a granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors, was born and raised in Ashdod, Israel’s southern port city on the Mediterranean. After graduating High School she served in the IDF Teleprocessing Unit.

Noam is a graduate of Ben Gurion University in Beersheva with a degree in Brain Science and Psychology. Since 2018, Noam has worked for Maslan, an organization offering emergency services and counseling for the entire Negev region, from Kyriat Gat to Eilat.


Recent Events

Educational Program in Seattle

Virtual Program on December 19

A Conversation with Nadine Epstein and Donna Orender

Preventing Gender Based Violence: New Initiatives in the North American Jewish Community

The Hadassah Foundation does not have any scheduled upcoming events.