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Moving on

18 May 2016

IMG_5950We recently moved to a new head office. It was a pretty seamless move, as they go: well organised, good-humoured, with an excellent removals consultant and very obliging removal men. We spent many days packing and archiving, so that by the time we left we had seriously downsized our files and thrown out a huge amount of the “just in case” things we had kept for years. In the process we also found some wonderful JWA memories: documents, photos, minutes of meetings – a whole history.  We left the old office at 12.00, and by 4.00 we were at our new desks answering emails…. Of course there were then weeks of little annoying teething problems (and we’re still finding glitches) but mostly we’re settled.

Seamless as it was though, it was still quite a wrench. The old office had become a bit scruffy, and the layout no longer worked for us, but it was still home. So much history there. We invited founder members in to say goodbye to the place – it was quite emotional, especially removing the mezuzahs.

But if moving offices was unsettling and emotional, how much more painful is it for our clients having to leave their own home, to escape an abusive partner? A home which was once a place of solace but which has now become a place of living hell, unsafe, terrifying. To have to leave a place with all those memories – in the very walls and very fabric of the building?

Rooms where children were nurtured, took their first steps, tables where they did their homework and made their first fairy cakes… Kitchens where meals were created with love, where tea towels matched the splashback, where your mother’s Pesach crockery was stored… Gardens where children played and favourite flowers bloomed… Dining rooms where your grandmother’s Shabbat candlesticks sat alongside photos from happier times and the first clay model proudly brought back from Reception class… Bedrooms where long ago words and acts of love made you feel cherished and loved… but where very different words and acts happen now.

When our clients have no other option than to leave all of that behind them, we know it’s a last resort, an act of desperation, we know the loss is enormous. We can’t take that sense of loss away, but we are with them every step of the way. It’s not just the initial move. We are there to help them and their children leave safely, if that’s what they decide to do. But just as importantly, we support them in the long journey of rebuilding their lives, as long as it takes: for weeks, months or even years.

Help us to help abused Jewish women recognise, reach out, and move on to begin a new life for themselves and their children free from domestic violence and abuse.

Lee Wax, Volunteers, Communications & Training Coordinator

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