D’var Torah Vayetze Nov. 16,2018

DenaThis week I attended a talk by Jewish Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman as a spokesperson against sexual abuse, having been victimized, among hundreds of others, by Olympic doctor Larry Nasser.  Aly had many important messages to share.  One that stuck with me was the truth that women are often not heard and not believed.  This allows the abuse to continue. Nasser’s abuse was first reported in 1997 and not taken seriously.  This allowed him to continue abusing young athletes for another 20 years.  In this week’s parasha, we find buried among the stories of the birth Jacob’s 11 sons (the 12th will be born in next week’s parasha), the announcement of the birth of his only daughter. (Gen 30:21) Often, we forget that Jacob even had a daughter.  We strain to recall her name. (It’s Dinah.)  Her story is not heard; her trauma (sexual abuse- you can read about it in next week’s parasha, Gen 34) is not viewed as important to the greater story.  Aly Raisman is bravely speaking up as a call to action on this painful subject.  It is time for everyone to listen and to act.