Yehudit Sidikman, a judo fighter and certified self-defense instructor, is coming to Milwaukee March 22-25 to teach girls and women self-defense techniques and to remind them that they have an inner voice and should use it.
Sidikman will be teaching a technique called “empowerment self-defense.” This is not a martial arts introductory class.
The workshop will go over physical techniques and introduce verbal boundaries. “These tools, through games, are non-threatening, eye-opening in a gentle way,” Sidikman said.
These techniques aim to protect against emotional, physical and sexual violence.
This event is a shared effort with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Israel Center and Women’s Philanthropy, alongside Women of Sinai and Women of Shalom.
The self-defense class is in accordance with the Federation’s new initiative, SHOFAR (Safeguarding Healthy Families and Relationships), which recognizes the prevalence of sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual harassment and offers resources and support to the Jewish community.
Research has shown that girls disconnect from their internal voice at age 12, Sidikman said. But girls and women of all ages should access their inner voice and act on it. The participants are “learning how to say no clearly and definitively,” Sidikman said.
The five principles introduced in the class are: “Think, Yell, Run, Fight and Tell.”
By the end of the class, the goal is to “feel competent” and for the participants to be able to say “I’m not ok, I need help, I want help,” Sidikman said.
Sidikman is the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit El HaLev, based in Jerusalem. The name means “to the heart” in Hebrew. This organization has trained over 50,000 girls and women in self-defense and martial arts classes since its inception in 2003, Sidikman said.
“She is so driven. She is a woman on a mission,” said Keren Weisshaus, Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s community shlichah. “She’s not only an inspiration about self-defense and women empowerment, but also how one person can have an impact.”
On March 24 at Congregation Sinai, there will be a showing at 2 p.m. of the documentary film “Beauty Bites Beast” of which Sidikman is the executive producer. After the film, which is a documentary on female self-defense and empowerment, there will be a free community workshop with hands-on self-defense training at 3:30 p.m. open to all girls and women.
Sidikman is also visiting Nicolet High School, Milwaukee Jewish Day School and Bader Hillel Academy.
* * *
How to go box:
What: “Beauty Bites Beast,” a documentary on female self-defense and empowerment, and a live interactive self-defense workshop
When: Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. film, 3:30 p.m. workshop
Where: Congregation Sinai, 8223 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point
RSVP: March 21 at MilwaukeeJewish.org/SHOFAR or contact Ashleigh Lund at 414-390-5741 or AshleighL@MilwaukeeJewish.org