Beginning this past Thursday, April 22, 3,600 students from four time zones and two countries came together to celebrate Go Purple Day, a day that Shalom Task Force established to promote awareness around healthy relationships and domestic abuse within the Jewish community.

This past Go Purple Day was organized and implemented entirely by our second cohort of 27 Purple Fellows who hailed from 12 different schools. The Purple Fellowship is a youth fellowship catering to high school juniors and seniors that provides students with the necessary skills to take on leadership roles in Jewish communal life through the lens of domestic abuse prevention. From designing Shalom Task Force flyers and giveaways, to creating an educational awareness workshop for their classmates to hear from a survivor of domestic abuse, Go Purple Day was designed for students, by students.

Students across North America had the opportunity to hear from a brave survivor of domestic abuse, sharing her story for the first time. The message she stressed to all of the students was: “If I can tell you all something today, it is to follow your heart. Do not hit snooze when your intuition is telling you something is very off. Do not be scared to tell someone you need help. Do not be bullied to say no!”

Molly Seghi, a junior from Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida, shared: “It was a really special experience to shed light on a topic that often goes overlooked. It felt moving and fulfilling to watch my community engage in a dialogue that I care about deeply and have spent time studying. I feel strongly that bringer greater awareness to these issues and discussing them thoroughly helps prevent them for the future.”

“At the beginning, I was nervous and excited for Go Purple Day. The students at my school pulled through, participating and asking questions; this fellowship has opened up my eyes to the reality of abusive relationships, and have started the students with a basis on what to look for when searching for a relationship- and how to keep it healthy,” said Mikayla Daniel, a senior from Ulpanat Orot in Toronto.

“When we launched The Purple Fellowship last summer, we were hoping to get ten or 12 students to participate,” said Jeffrey Younger, Director of Communication and Program Operations for Shalom Task Force. “Wrapping up our first year of the Fellowship with 53 students across 23 yeshivah high schools planning Go Purple Days for over 7,200 teens has been truly remarkable.”

Avital Levin, Director of Education for Shalom Task Force, added, “One of the most important prevention methods against domestic abuse is education. Thousands of youths in our community now know the definition of domestic abuse and have the knowledge of our services, which is an instrumental first step in creating safe relationships and a supportive community.”

Thank you to all of our participating schools: Abraham Joshua Heschel School, CHAT Tannenbaum, Denver Academy of Torah, Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys (DRS), Fuchs Mizrachi, Ida Crown, Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida, Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) High School, Shalhevet High School, Ulpanat Orot (Bnei Akiva School), and the Yeshivah of Flatbush.