May this year be different: A Yom Kippur prayer for Shalom Bayit (Peace in the home).

The Shalom Bayit tree was planted in memory of victims of domestic violence and in honor of the brave survivors who received help from our program.The following prayer of healing and renewal was created in the spirit of Yom Kippur, 16 years ago, by women and men impacted by abuse and involved with our Shalom Bayit Program.

I share these words to support survivors, to acknowledge that abuse occurs within our community, and to affirm that abusers are responsible for their actions. I invite every reader to take some action toward ending domestic violence and all types of abuse.

May these words strengthen our commitment to bringing about true shalom bayit (peace in the home) O merciful and loving G-d, as we gather together in Your house on this, the holiest of days, we feel repentant, alive, and deeply conscious of our past actions. We open ourselves to You as with sadness we face this truth: at times this past year we have acted cruelly.  Some of us have abused our power and used control to hurt our spouses, our intimate partners, our children, our parents.  Others of us too often looked away, preferring not to see or speak out against abuse in our homes or in the homes of those we know and care about.  We have been afraid to interfere.

Today, O G-d, we pledge that we will no longer allow injustice to reign in our homes or in our community. We will not stand by silently and will find ways to contain our rage and our need for power and control.  In an effort to create change, we will seek counsel from our rabbis and other trained professionals. This day, O G-d, as we pray for renewal and redemption, we promise ourselves, each other and you that we will support shalom in all homes.  May this year be different.  Amen.

If you or anyone you know is suffering abuse of any kind, please know you are not alone.  Contact Shalom Bayit at 770-677-9322 or shalombayit@jfcsatl.org for information about confidential counseling or for more information about our programs for both adults and children. Wendy Lipshutz, LCSW, Shalom Bayit Program Director

PHOTO: The Shalom Bayit tree was planted in memory of victims of domestic violence and in honor of the brave survivors who received help from our program.