Meet Naomi Tucker

Women's Philanthropy Spotlight

This post is part of a series highlighting women who are doing great work in our local Jewish community.

Naomi Tucker:

Naomi Tucker

I love being a changemaker and tend to be drawn to do work in areas where I see a big gap or a need that isn't being filled. Working with battered women is my life's work. But while many social justice movements and organizations are filled with Jewish voices, it's important to remember that there is justice work to be done within our own community too – and I see it as my role to be a voice for examining the places where our own community needs healing and justice. So in the early '90s when I realized that no one was doing domestic violence work in my very own community – and that Jewish women were literally trapped in abusive relationships with nowhere to go – I felt compelled to change that landscape. For me, merging my activism and professional work with my Jewish community, values, and spiritual life was an incredible "coming home." I feel so blessed to be able to do this work in the Jewish community.

Every day I get to watch women turn their lives around. What could be more rewarding than that? There is no greater gift than knowing that a woman is able to live without fear in her own home, that a child can feel safe to go to sleep at night, or that a teen feels empowered to make a better choice in their future – because of the work that we do at Shalom Bayit.

It hasn't always been easy to talk about domestic violence in our community – particularly because both the victims and the perpetrators are often people we know and love and can't imagine in those situations. So, to raise these issues can be troubling and sometimes controversial. And, yet, to be able to navigate those complexities is the only thing that will actually stop abuse from happening in our own community. This work is vital to Jewish women’s future, and to the health of our community. The challenge is ongoing – sometimes even just to help our community understand that the problem is indeed rampant in our midst. But I am inspired by how much our rabbis and community leaders have rallied to raise awareness, so that we can truly work toward shalom in every home!

Naomi Tucker is the founder and executive director of Shalom Bayit, the first Jewish domestic violence agency in Northern California and one of the first of its kind in the U.S. She has worked in the battered women's justice movement for 32 years. A teacher, trainer, community organizer, mom, and published author, Naomi's piece in the anthology Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice (Jewish Lights Publications, 2009) is a clarion call for including violence against women as a key issue on our Jewish social justice agenda. 

Categories: Leadership, Community


January 20, 2016


Robyn Carmel