Stories of Recovery

Ivanna and Jacob's Story

Offering a Fresh Start and Safe Future.

Domestic violence, also known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), doesn’t discriminate. For many in New York City’s Jewish community, there has been a lack of services that specifically address their cultural and spiritual needs. In response, The Jewish Board launched the Lev Initiative in partnership with UJA-Federation of NY, providing holistic and integrated supports for victims of IPV and their families. The Lev Initiative was crucial for Ivanna*, who came to us when she needed to make a fresh start.

Leaving a Violent Abuser

When we first met Ivanna, she was feeling helpless and desperate. She had just spent the night huddled in a corner to protect her 11-year-old son Jacob, fearful of what their intoxicated abuser might do next. Ivanna only spoke Ukranian, which made it harder for her to find someone she could even speak to about her experiences. That’s when she reached out to her local Jewish community center, who referred her to our team at Lev.

Creating a Support Team

Through crisis and individual support sessions, support groups, psychotherapy, emergency housing, and more, the social workers, housing, and vocation specialists at Lev are there to be a shoulder to lean on. They connect those in their care to immediate services so they can start a safe and supportive beginning for themselves and their loved ones. Fully licensed and trained in trauma-informed care to address clients’ specific cultural needs, we were able to assemble a team immediately and reach out to Ivanna in her native language.

After assessing Ivanna and Jacob’s immediate needs, the team reached out and collaborated with the domestic violence shelters in our agency’s network, so Ivanna and her child could be quickly – and safely – moved to housing equipped with everything to begin their journey toward recovery.

Once in our domestic violence program, Ivanna continued her journey toward a fresh start. While supporting Ivanna and Jacob in overcoming their trauma, we also worked with them to find transitional housing, to give them a higher level of privacy and independence as they worked toward finding long-term private housing. And, once they were ready to leave our shelter program, we provided continued outreach, engagement, education, and support through our program located in the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. Our team also made sure Ivanna and Jacob had access to translation services so they could get the most out of the many supports available to them.

Hope for the Future

Thanks to the Lev Initiative, Ivanna no longer needs to shelter her son from abuse, and she has been able to build a new life for them. Ivanna reached out to the staff who supported her through Lev to say: “In my moment of despair, you were like an angel from heaven. I was terrified until you came along and treated me with such respect and care. I don’t even know how to express how much I appreciate everything that The Jewish Board did for me. You give me hope for the future and the ability to work on my goals and provide for my child. God bless you.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.

Our Continued Support

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Ivanna and Jacob's Story
A Fresh Start and Safe Future
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