DEPUTY SPOTLIGHT: Judith Flacks-Leigh
Today we launch our Deputy Spotlight series. The first Deputy to answer our questions is Judith Flacks-Leigh from Jewish Women’s Aid.
Judith Flacks-Leigh joined JWA’s Board in 2017. She has been working in the Jewish community for 10 years and is currently the Head of Communications at Jewish Care. Prior to this, she was the Head of Communications & Campaigns at the Jewish Leadership Council working on campaigns including Enough is Enough, Balfour 100 and Cable Street 80. Judith has spent time working in Parliament and in America, and previously served on the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) as Campaigns Director, particularly focussing on strengthening the voices of young women and making the organisation more inclusive for disabled and LGBT+ students. Judith served as a trustee of Jewish Muslim Women’s Network, Nisa Nashim until December 2019 and has volunteered for a number of other communal organisations.
Jewish Women’s Aid is the only specialist organisation in the UK supporting Jewish women and their children affected by domestic abuse & sexual violence. We work with women and girls aged 16+ nationally, or 14+ in London, providing support in a culturally sensitive way.
Our mission is to:
- Support and empower women and girls who are affected by domestic violence & abuse in their intimate relationships, and/or sexual violence;
- Increase awareness, education and understanding in order to prevent violence against women and girls in the Jewish community;
- Provide client-centred support for women and children, by women.
- Every year we provide:
- Domestic abuse helpline
- Dina sexual violence support line
- NEW web chat service, launched in May 2020
- Specialist domestic abuse support & sexual violence support advisors (for 700 women)
- Counselling (for 180 women)
- Children’s therapy (for 100 children)
- Prevention work in schools and on campus (for 4,000 young people)
- Outreach & training for community professionals, including Rabbis (for 1,000 people)
- Awareness raising events and activities across the Jewish community
For more information, visit: www.jwa.org.uk
What is the most important issue for the UK Jewish Community?
Our community has a lot to contend with. Many of the things we grapple with are simply versions of issues in wider society, but I think it is vitally important for the development of our community that we take inclusivity seriously and make changes to truly reflect our diversity. Our communal organisations must become more inclusive and flexible across the board in their leadership, in their approach to working patterns, and in their understanding of differences in ethnicity, sexuality and gender. If we do this, we will achieve better representation, increase our creativity in solving many of our current challenges, and be better placed to work out solutions to future challenges.
What is your favourite Jewish dish?
My mother’s side of the family are Bene Israel Jews from Mumbai, so my favourite Jewish dish is the lamb biryani we have at Pesach for our traditional Seder meal.
What would you like our community to have achieved in 10 years’ time?
In 10 years’ time, I would love for the whole community to have reached a stage where everyone is aware of the impact that domestic abuse and sexual violence can have, not be afraid to confront it, and be proactive in changing attitudes towards it. As part of this, I would also like all our young people to be able to recognise and understand safe and healthy relationships. This is incredibly important and can be very confusing, especially with the increasing role of dating apps and social media in relationships.