Beginning on February 11, 3,600 students from six states around the country came together to celebrate Go Purple Day, a day that Shalom Task Force established to promote awareness around healthy relationships, as well as domestic abuse within the Jewish community.

What makes this year special, as well, is that it is our first Go Purple Day planned by our first cohort of 26 Purple Fellows from 12 schools. Purple Fellowship, a fellowship for high school juniors and seniors, empowers students with the skills to take on leadership roles in Jewish communal life through the lens of domestic abuse prevention. From designing the 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.

Kiki Starr, a Purple Fellow and Junior at Atlanta Jewish Academy, shared: “I think domestic abuse is an issue that is overlooked, especially among people of high school age, so I thought it was an important opportunity to get our school involved in this incredible organization.” Roey Novick, Purple Fellow and Junior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, added: “Although I had been preparing for Go Purple Day for months, I was still surprised at how receptive everyone was and how invested they were in learning about domestic violence. It was made evident to me that this fellowship has the potential to make a significant difference in many people’s lives.”

“This year’s Go Purple Day far exceeded any expectations we had. The impact felt by students has been observed as ‘profound’ by staff and parents,” said Jeffrey Younger, co-founder of the Purple Fellowship. Added Rocky Salomon, co-founder of the Purple Fellowship, “When we launched this fellowship, we hoped to find a few students who would be interested in the work of Shalom Task Force. Completing the fellowship with 26 students from different schools and backgrounds coming together made us all at STF hopeful that we have established the next generation of leaders in the fight against domestic abuse.”

This year’s Go Purple Day was dedicated in the memory of Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski zt”l. Rabbi Dr. Twerski was an inspiration to thousands of struggling individuals around the world. He was a critical voice for victims of domestic abuse, and Shalom Task Force is committed to ensuring that his legacy lives on. In his z’chus, may we continue to work together to build safe relationships, healthy families, and a supportive community.

Thank you to all of our participating schools: Atlanta Jewish Academy, Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, The Frisch School, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC), Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Maimonides School (Boston, MA), North Shore Hebrew Academy, Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls (SKA), Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA), Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central), YULA Boys, and YULA Girls. Thank you to Project SARAH for partnering with us to bring this program to New Jersey schools.

Shalom Task Force is also excited to announce that, due to the overwhelming success of The Purple Fellowship, 27 students from 11 new schools have recently begun the second cohort. Thank you to our newest partner 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 High School (SAR), Shalhevet High School, Ulpanat (Bnei Akiva School), and the Yeshivah of Flatbush. We are looking forward to having our second cohort plan their own Go Purple Days in their schools on Thursday, April 22.