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History of The Sabbath of Domestic Peace

The Philadelphia area's first Sabbath of Domestic Peace in 1995 was a result of a joint effort of SaraKay Smullens, MSW, BCD, a Philadelphia social worker and family therapist, and Mimi Rose, Esq., Chief of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Mimi and SaraKay co-chaired the initial 1995 Sabbath of Domestic Peace under the sponsorship of the Pennsylvania Chapter of  American Jewish Congress. 

In 1993, at the invitation of the Philadelphia District Attorney, Lynne Abraham, SaraKay began a highly effective pro bono consultant relationship with Mimi Rose's division. Both women realized that an unrecognized key to addressing the escalation of domestic violence and abuse was with an outreach program to clergy of all faiths that would provide accurate, integrated resource materials from the fields of law enforcement, social work, advocacy, community service, medicine, psychology, academia, and theology to all religious communities to assist them in bringing physical safety and emotional support to families subjected to domestic violence.

They realized the importance of bringing clergy to a closer understanding of the prevalence of domestic violence, and that they could be effective participants in assisting victims of abuse in their congregations and communities. SaraKay, a Board member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of American Jewish Congress, asked for Board approval for this dynamic interfaith intervention. The American Jewish Congress, under the presidency of Jeffrey Pasek, Esq., noted their support of this initiative, which SaraKay and Mimi agreed to co-chair.

To prepare for the first Sabbath of Domestic Peace, Mimi and SaraKay formed a multi-disciplinary task force experienced in work with domestic violence. The task force coordinated the most current knowledge in their fields in order to implement their initiative in the most thorough and cohesive way possible. These efforts began prior to the Simpson/Goldman tragedy on the West Coast.

In October of 1995, in coordination with President Clinton's first Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the first Sabbath of Domestic Peace was held.

The goal of this initiative was to bring together the most effective thinking of the legal, law enforcement, social work, activist, community service, religious, academic and psychological communities in order to share this knowledge with clergy and women's groups within the various houses of worship throughout the Delaware Valley.

Each year since its founding in 1995, the Sabbath of Domestic Peace has been sponsored by different organizations, listed here:

2001 sponsor: Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church
2000 sponsor: Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
1999 sponsor: The Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia
Women's Division of the Federation of Jewish Agencies
The Coalition Against Jewish Domestic Violence
1998 sponsor: Philadelphia Baptist Association
1997 sponsor: The Presbytery of Philadelphia, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
1996 sponsor: Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
1995 sponsor: American Jewish Congress