Linor Abargil, a former Miss Israel and Miss World who survived a brutal rape in 1998 and is now a worldwide advocate for victims of sexual violence, will be the guest speaker at CHOICES, the premier fall event of Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
The dinner on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6:15 p.m. at the Hilton Parsippany will honor veteran Greater MetroWest activist Barbara Drench of Verona, recipient of the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award.
Abargil’s appearance is timed with the observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In addition, the Coalition against Battered Women has declared Oct. 23 as “Purple Day.”
Melanie Roth Gorelick, director of federation’s Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest, pointed out that the program is particularly timely as it is also the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
“It is an important issue here in America and around the world,” she said. “It is important to speak about it publicly because so many women are suffering from violence. Having a public figure speak about it is a really important moment.”
“To indicate awareness of the many issues and many types of abuse directed at women, supporters are requested to wear purple ribbons — similar to the red ones indicating HIV/AIDS awareness and the pink ones denoting the fight against breast cancer,” said Shari Bloomberg, the clinical coordinator of domestic violence services at the Rachel Coalition, the local Jewish response to domestic abuse.
“Sexual assault, like the attack Linor Abargil suffered, is just one form of the violence against women, and the Rachel Coalition is committed to fighting all violence against women,” said Bloomberg.
She said Jewish communities are no different from any other when it comes to such brutality.
“People think the statistics will be different, but they are not, and they do not differ among denominations. You will see the same percentages of abuse in the Orthodox, the Conservative, the Reform, the Reconstructionist, and the unaffiliated,” Bloomberg said.
Corporate sponsors of the dinner are General Plumbing Supply, Friedman LLP, Kramer Levin, Sunrise Kitchen, and Sunrise Cellars with special acknowledgment to Allan Janoff, owner of the Crystal Plaza catering facility in Livingston.