18Forty Podcast
18Forty Podcast
May 24, 2022
Shira Berkovits: Creating Safe Spaces [Abuse 3/3]
Play • 1 hr 33 min
In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, we talk to Shira Berkovits, president and CEO of Sacred Spaces, about institutional abuse awareness and prevention.

Shira is an attorney and psychologist, as well as the founder of Sacred Spaces, which partners with Jewish institutions to prevent and respond to sexual abuse and other abuses of power. Shira explains how Jewish institutions can better respond to and prevent abuse.

- What preventative measures can a Jewish institution take against abuse?
- Does religious affiliation make responding to incidents of abuse easier or harder?
- How do we begin to heal following incidents of abuse?

Tune in to hear a conversation about protecting our safe spaces.

Interview begins at 20:17.

Shira Berkovits is President and CEO of Sacred Spaces. A behavioral psychologist with a research background in creating large-scale organizational change, and an attorney specialized in criminal law, Shira has spent years studying the intersection of psychology and law as related to sexual offending in faith communities. Shira partners with Jewish leaders to build healthy and accountable institutions, working with a uniquely Jewish lens to foster sacredness and reduce the risk of harassment, abuse, and other interpersonal harm. Shira joins us to talk about creating and cultivating safe spaces in our communities.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please get help.

If you are in immediate danger or need emergency assistance, call 911.

Shalom Task Force Hotline: 718.337.3700; Toll Free: 888.883.2323

Jewish Board Of Family And Children’s Services Domestic Violence Services: 212.262.7655

New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG): 212.613.5000


The Apostle
“Crisis Change and the Continuous Art of Individual Interpretation and Negotiation: The Aftermath of Clerical Abuse in Newfoundland” by Marion Bowman
“God is at Stake: Crisis Communications Following Religious Leadership Crises” by David Bashevkin
Sin-a-gogue: Sin, and Failure in Jewish Thought by David Bashevkin
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsk
The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoevsk
Sacred Spaces
“Institutional Abuse in the Jewish Community” by Shira Berkovits
Center for Court Innovation
The Innocence Project
The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center
2013 Resolution: Preventing Sexual Abuse in our Community
Aleinu Safeguarding Children Campaign
Keilim Policy Toolkit
The Office: "Search Committee" (Season 7, Episode 24)
“The 10 Best Practices”
“Institutional Child Sexual Abuse—Not Just a Catholic Thing” by Kelly Clark
Leviticus 18
Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
“I Was Shamed and Shunned for Revealing My Abuse” by Ruth Krevsky
Mishna Torah - Hilchot Teshuva by Maimonides
Stop It Now
What's OK?
Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Genesis 27
The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide by Shira Berkovits and Basyle Tchividjian
“Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures”
“Debunking Common Myths”
Moed Katan 17a
Malachi 2:7
Kiddushin 54a

Additional Resources:

“Preventing Abuse in Jewish Organizations that Serve Youth: Ten Policies to Create Safer Environments” by Shira Berkovits
“Vayikra as a Model for Transparent Communal Governance” by Shira Berkovits, Esq., Ph.D. and Rabbi Steven Exler
“Closing the Gap in Best Practices for Prevention and Response to Sexual Abuse of Minors in Jewish Organizations”
“A Conversation on Safeguarding Youth in Jewish Communities” by Shira Berkovits and Daniella Pitkoff
Sacred Spaces Protocols for Safeguarding Children and Teens in Online Communication Training
Cheshbon Hanefesh Guide
Protocols for Safeguarding Children and Teens in Online Communications
“An Assessment of Menlo’s Church Report” by Zero Abuse Project and Sacred Spaces
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