JAAFV-Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence - Who We Are

  Who we are


Deborah Blackman

Deborah is married to Rabbi Blackman (of the Jewish Learning Centre) and has 6 children. Together with her husband she is active in this young and growing community. Deborah grew up in Sydney, attended Moriah College, and has a Social Work degree. She conducts Jewish marriage education classes and currently works at Kesser Torah College in the Learning Centre, with children with learning difficulties.

Jane Dinte

Jane has a BCom from UNSW and 30 years accounting experience in both large and small businesses. She has a particular interest in Not For Profits especially Jewish Charities, and is married with two children.

Gael Hammer

Gael's professional life began as a teacher in Melbourne where she was raised. She married and moved to Sydney where she taught at Yeshiva and Moriah. She changed careers in the 1980s to become a relationship counsellor, initially with Unifam and subsequently in private practice. She concurrently taught ESL and with the Melton Programme of Adult Jewish Education. She is involved with the Sydney Jewish Museum, the Sydney Women's Tefilla Group, Mandelbaum House and NCJWA. She has qualifications from Toorak Teachers' College, Melbourne University, TAFE, and counselling accreditation from Unifam.

Caron Kaplan

Caron Kaplan (nee Marks) completed a Bachelor of Science and Mathematics degree in 1988 at NSW University, and then commenced a Master of Arts degree at Sydney University in 1989, which was completed in 1990, whilst working for TAFE in their Drug and Alcohol Education Unit. She later went to work for the Sydney Sexual Health Centre based at Sydney Hospital where she began her career in Medical Research, and to date, has published over 15 articles in peer reviewed medical journals both in Australia and overseas. She later achieved her two years of supervision and became fully qualified as a Psychologist to practice in NSW and began a counseling and lecturing role in her position at Sydney Hospital, lecturing to Medical and Post Graduate Medical students about taking a sexual history and treating patients with sexually transmitted infections. During this time she also completed a Diploma in Sexual Health Counselling. This course focused on Sexual Identity, STI, Safer Sex Practices, Unwanted Pregnancy, Sexual Assault, Incest, Sexual Functioning and Relationship Counselling. She worked in this position for 15 years, until recently where she began a Private Practice under Medicare in Bondi Junction, which is a general private practice with a specialty in Healthy Relationships, Sexual Functioning and Pregnancy.

Judith Levitan

Judith completed combined degrees in social work (BSW Hons) and law (LLB) at the University of NSW in 2000. As part of the degree she completed an honours thesis in Social Work which investigated community attitudes to domestic violence in the Jewish Orthodox Community in Sydney. She presented the findings in 2001 at the International Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) Conference. Judith currently is a solicitor and community legal education coordinator at Women's Legal Services, a community legal centre servicing the women of NSW. She previously worked as a solicitor at the corporate law firm Minter Ellison where she specialised in the areas of employment law and discrimination. Judith is married with three children.

Suzy Moss

Suzy has worked as a social worker in a variety of settings (medical, mental health and community-based) with diverse population groups, incl. Pregnant Teens, Native American children at-risk of abuse/neglect and people from Non English Speaking Backgrounds. Most recently, Suzy worked for JewishCare as a Community Liason Worker where her role was to assist with the development of a Jewish taskforce against domestic violence - now known as JAAFV, and coordinate the delivery of training in Domestic Violence awareness to leaders and members of the Jewish community. Suzy received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from UNSW in 1993. In 1995 she completed a Masters degree in Social Work at Columbia University, New York, with a concentration in Family Preservation Services.

Agi O'Hara

Agi O'Hara is a registered psychologist with many years of experience working with individuals, couples and groups. She has a private practice in Leichhardt, where she has frequently worked with individuals and couples who are in abusive but generally not physically violent, relationships. She has run workshops on understanding and preventing domestic violence in tertiary contexts and for community organisations.

Agi is a visiting lecturer in psychology for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Neonatology at the University of Sydney, and had until February 2013 been teaching in the Faculty of Education and Social Work's BSW program, for 21 years. As part of the program she specialised in counselling, anxiety, depression, child abuse, domestic violence, suicide awareness & prevention and grief & loss.
She is the co-author of Skills for Human Service Practice: Working with Individuals, Groups and Communities, , (2nd ed.) published by Oxford University Press in 2011.

Viera Stark

Viera Stark has practised as a psychologist for over 18years. Currently she has a private practice in Edgecliff where she treats Depression, Anxiety, Grief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Self Esteem, Chronic Illness and Adjustment Disorders under Medicare. She has particular expertise in Relationship Issues and is a qualified Couple and Family Therapist. Her additional areas of interest are Positive Ageing, Perinatal Issues and Educational Psychology.


Alison Freund

Alison obtained her Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) in 1974 from UNSW. She has spent her working life as an in-house accountant in several small commercial businesses, mainly IT companies. Until recently she spent 15 yrs as Bursar for Mt Sinai College at Maroubra. Alison is currently working in her family business.

Jodie Lowe-Ariel

Jodie has been working in Women's Health for the past 10 years in the capacity of a Naturopath, Massage Therapist and Birth Support Doula. She has worked extensively with survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, rape and violence during her 10 years at Leichhardt Women's Community Health Centre, where she established a "free Medicine Program" whereby Herbal companies would donate excess supplements which were then professionally distributed to patients in need. Jodie is a Co-ordinator of the "Spa for the Soul Foundation", a Jewish Organisation which helps provide financial and emotional support to Jewish couples who require IVF and are struggling with the financial burden. In the context of the JAAFV Jodie is passionate about raising awareness about abuse in the community.

Eva Lowy

Eva started her career as a High School teacher of English and History. She then went onto complete a research Master’s degree in Psychology and a PhD in Sociology/Community Medicine researching workers with repetitive strain injuries. She is a Clinical Psychologist and has over 30 years’ experience providing psychological assessments for a broad range of clients both in the personal injury and Family Law. Whilst working at Royal South Sydney Hospital she provided psychological services and counselling for injured workers and people with traumatic brain injuries. Her current interests are elder abuse and successful ageing. She is married with 2 adult children and has 2 grandchildren.

Libby Moss

Libby Moss (BA LL.B.) Libby is a solicitor in private practice in the Sydney CBD. She is involved as a volunteer in a number of communal projects and has recently retired from the board of Kesser Torah College after almost five years service, three years of which were on the Executive, as Hon. Secretary.

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