Home of healing for women in need

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

On May 30, I celebrated the privilege of being at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Magdalene St. Louis. Magdalene is a place for women who are recovering from trafficking, addiction and abuse. While not a religious organization, we believe that “Love Heals.” The first residents will be moving in shortly for what, I pray, is a new beginning.

Why am I dedicated to this organization? As a rabbi, as a Jew, as a human being, I am not able to stand by idly as our neighbors’ blood is shed. Each human being is created in the Divine Image. Therefore, we must act with holiness towards each soul, believing they have worth, meaning and sparks of the Divine. When one person is abused or treated in a manner lacking dignity, it is our sacred obligation to speak up with words and actions.

Wasn’t it our prophets who warned us with tremendous passion and vision that we may not subjugate another? Moreover, haven’t we learned that to save one life is to save the entire world? Isn’t hope the eternal message of the Jewish people? Shouldn’t hope be the eternal message for all who want and deserve a new beginning?

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My invocation, in part, asked God to grant us the courage and strength to continue to build a home of peace, filled with kindness, healing and sanctity. I asked that the residents continue to learn and grow from each other and themselves. May the staff continue to act with wisdom and compassion. Furthermore, may all who volunteer to make this house a home be welcoming with words and actions of love.

For more information, please contact me at [email protected]