Founded in 2015, Dinah is a comprehensive legal services center providing low-cost and pro bono representation to survivors of domestic abuse in the Jewish Community of Greater Philadelphia. Dinah’s sole purpose is to combat domestic abuse, which is as prevalent in the Jewish Community of Greater Philadelphia as it is in the community at large. Domestic abuse goes largely unaddressed in the Jewish Community due to a combination of shame, isolation, and lack of access to a dedicated Jewish legal service provider to meet the unique needs of the community. Since its inception, Dinah has grown to encompass three key approaches to eradicate domestic abuse from the Jewish Community of Greater Philadelphia
About Our Name
Reclaiming voices of the voiceless.
Dinah was the daughter of Jacob who also had 12 sons – the Tribes of Israel. As the Torah tells the story, Dinah was assaulted by a non-Israelite nobleman from the nearby town.
Upon learning about this, two of Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, schemed to kill the entire town to avenge the crime against their family. Jacob asked his sons – “Why did you do that? I do business with these people.” They replied, “They treated our sister like a whore.”
Dinah herself is voiceless and we honor our namesake by reclaiming her name, indicating that we hold space for survivors of violence and abuse to tell their own stories, in their own words, and with their own voices. We work with them to see that justice is done.
Dinah is the feminine version of the word Din, meaning judgment in Hebrew. The Beit Din is the Jewish court system which often effectively silences women, particularly regarding family matters. Dinah works to ensure that our clients have access to justice in both the civil and Jewish legal systems to receive fair judgments.
Dinah is a commonplace woman’s name in the Jewish community and could be a friend or coworker. When people ask if the name is an acronym, we simply say, “Dinah is someone safe to talk to anytime.” Our phone is answered, “Hello, this is Dinah” to reinforce that anonymity. A concerned family member, friend, or confidant can simply ask, “How you reached out to Dinah yet,” affording an extra and important layer of care, safety, and anonymity to the person in need.
Shana P. Weiner, Esq., Executive Director, Dinah Philly
Addressing key stakeholders at the “Launch Night” for the Tribe 12 Fellowship finalists at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.
How We Began
Shortly after graduating from law school in 2014 and with an interest in addressing the issue of domestic abuse in the Jewish community, I began conducting research and what became clear was that there were gaps in the supports being provided here in the greater Philadelphia area.
Around the same time, my acceptance into the Tribe 12 entrepreneurial accelerator program resulted in securing a business coach and several months of seminars to help
determine how addressing these domestic violence needs could be translated into a nonprofit organization.
Less than a year later, the planning for Dinah Philly began and in February 2018, with the support of several founding board members and my entrepreneurial coach, Dinah
Philly became a 501 (c)(3) with a well-defined mission – to eradicate domestic abuse in
the Philadelphia Jewish community.
Shana Weiner is an attorney in Philadelphia, originally from Annapolis, Maryland. From a young age, Shana always knew she’d spend her life helping those who needed it most. Shana came to Philadelphia for Drexel University’s then-still new law school in 2010. Shana cut her teeth with various nonprofit and public interest agencies before deciding to commit to her passion of working with survivors of domestic abuse and serving her faith community. From that drive, Dinah was born.
Shana received her B.A. in History from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 and her Juris Doctorate from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in 2013. Shana is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey. This year, Shana is featured as one of Drexel University’s 40 Under 40. Shana volunteers on a national nonpartisan election protection hotline, is a certified “CASA” (Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in Philadelphia’s foster care system) and is a Moving Traditions Rosh Hodesh group leader for Center City Philadelphia.
Assistant Program Director
Rachel recently graduated George Washington University with a major in International Affairs, a concentration in Conflict Resolution, and minors in Organizational Sciences and HIstory. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration at GWU, with concentrations in Health Policy and Program Evaluation.
She grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and is a first-generation college student whose parents immigrated from the former Soviet Union. She is passionate about public policy, non-profit leadership, and serving under- privileged communities in impactful ways. Alongside her role as Dinah’s Program Assistant and Social Media Manager, Rachel is also working at GWU’s Office of the Vice President for Research as a Student Research Analyst and Outreach Coordinator. She also speaks Russian fluently.
Rachel is excited everyday to help Dinah with community outreach, marketing, and fundraising efforts because she is passionate about advocating for those whose voices are too-often silenced. She hopes to contribute to the eradication of all forms of violence against women through this conciousness-raising and capacity-building work.
Board of Directors
Lee A. Schwartz
Philadelphia area Family Law Attorney Lee A. Schwartz, Esquire has been serving residents of the Greater Philadelphia Area since 1981. Mr. Schwartz’s practice is dedicated to serving people with divorce, child custody, grandparent and step-parent rights, relocation, high net worth cases including stock options and business issues, child support, alimony, division of property, protection from abuse and the drafting of marital agreements. Mr. Schwartz, in 2015, served as Chair of the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Prior to 2015, Mr. Schwartz served consecutive one year terms as Treasurer, Secretary and Incoming Chair. From 2011-2013, Mr. Schwartz was President of the Nicholas Cipriani Family Law American Inn of Court, an organization of Family Law Judges and Lawyers in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Mr. Schwartz continues to serve on the Executive Committee of both the Family Law Section and the Cipriani Inn.
Sarah Wright currently serves as the Business Development Specialist at Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake. Prior to joining KT, Sarah spent more than 10 years in the nonprofit cultural sector in fundraising, program development, and administrative roles at organizations such as The Pew Charitable Trusts, DataArts, and Simpatico Theatre. Sarah also has a background in higher education, having most recently worked with graduate and undergraduate students as a writing tutor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Throughout her varied career, Sarah’s constant aspiration is to foster compelling storytelling for mission-driven institutions and individuals, and to connect them with new opportunities for growth. Sarah holds a master degree in theatre from Villanova University and a bachelor degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Aimée Kahan is an Assistant Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law. Her particular areas of interest include property law, appellate law and the functioning of courts and judicial systems, bioethics, reproductive rights and the intersection of law and religion. As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Aimée is currently spearheading the potential implementation of new LLM programs with international partners and is exploring innovative ways to blend traditional teaching with online, hybrid, and other formats. Aimée first implemented some of these methods when she directed Kline Law’s Master of Legal Studies, a program designed to give non-lawyers an understanding of the legal issues and regulatory compliance systems they encounter in their respective fields. Aimée is thrilled to be on Dinah’s Board and is deeply grateful to be engaged in this important, transformative work.
Barbara Hirsh is a retired sociologist who spends her time advising nonprofit organizations as a member of Volunteer Executive Consultants; engaging in multi-faith and multi-generational dialogue as a member of Interfaith Philadelphia’s Visionary Women; and serving as a member of the Greater Philly Hillel Network Task Force. In her nearly four decades of work in the nonprofit sector, Barbara served as Director of the Department of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; Dean of Academic Administration and Director of Campus Chaplaincy Training at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and Associate Director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, among other positions. Earlier volunteer work included serving on the board of the Lower Merion Library System, and as Board Chair of SHALVA, an organization devoted to addressing domestic violence in the Jewish community.
Alison is a young professional living in Manhattan, New York, and is originally from Long Island. Alison recently spent two years in Philadelphia pursuing a Master’s of Science in Education, Culture & Society at the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on the sexualization and objectification of women on college campuses and intimate partner violence. While in Philly, she also worked at United Way, and was involved in many Jewish community organizations. Now living in New York City, Alison works as the Development & Event Manager at the Women’s Sports Foundation, fundraising for community impact, advocating for Title IX, and advancing research and evaluation. On the side, Alison interviews candidates for Penn’s undergraduate programs, is training to be a yoga teacher, and enjoys spending Shabbat with her family and friends.