The Power of Personal Testimony
by David Mandel
[Editor’s note: This video is groundbreaking in its courage, impact, and ability to make us direct, rather than avert, our glance from yet another problem we have been silent about for too long. It requires no introduction, but David Mandel, one of the most important personalities our community is blessed with in attending to the needs of those who have nowhere else to turn, was kind enough to offer some introductory thoughts.]
Imagine you were mugged and robbed of your most precious jewels. The bodily injury you suffered will heal. The loss of your family’s ancestry represented in your mothers ring and necklace and your fathers watch is irreplaceable. It is causing you emotional torment. It has been in the family four generations.
The mugger is caught. The jewels are not found. He is convicted and sent to jail.
How should you react now? Are you a victim of a mugging? Are you a survivor of a mugging? How long do you remain angry or feel responsible for the loss of an important family history? Was it indeed your fault even if it was not?
Elisheva was the victim of a mugging and lost her precious jewels. Taking a very difficult personal journey she transformed from being a victim to a survivor. Her physical wounds healed over time. Her jewels which were her self-esteem and her personal strength as a human being have taken much more time to heal.
Elisheva was a victim of domestic violence.
Her husband abused her in many ways. Given a choice, she would have opted for the loss of jewelry many times over, to the loss of her self-respect, her dignity, her soul.
Confronting personal character flaws has always been one of the greatest challenges in life. It is made more difficult when your husband, your confidant, your presumed best friend successfully diminishes and alters your character.
How do you reclaim what is rightfully yours. Does pressing charges against an abusive husband help? Is running and hiding the answer?
Will an order of protection keep you safe? Will his going to jail make you stronger?
Elisheva has chosen the path of teaching.
With the many challenges faced by our community, personal testimony can be the greatest influencer of others who may be suffering in silence. Be it eating disorders, an addictive personality, or a young man committing suicide – we no longer need take the road of silence. A welcoming sea change is taking place.
The video with Elisheva powerfully demonstrates that when certain ills in the community are addressed with honesty and sensitivity, it yields tremendous good – stark awareness, robust discourse – through which we as a community can develop better solutions.
Elisheva shares her story of brutality and strength in a video. She describes in vivid detail what it means to be lost as a woman as a wife as a human being.
How can one reclaim what G-D gave them at birth and what man believed he can take away at age 20 or 30 or 40? Every person at some time in their life faces a challenge that may overwhelm them. It may be financial, childlessness, child rearing, an emotional problem, early loss of a parent, the crisis and life problems abound.
Elisheva’s lesson is not just the ability to heal from domestic violence.
Elisheva’s story can be any one of our stories.
She is slowly finding her jewels again.
David Mandel has served as the Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services since 1995. David is Chairman of Touro College’s School of Social Work Professional Advisory Board. He is a lecturer and a frequent contributor to newspapers, magazines and radio programs on a range of mental health and social issues.