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Testimonials on WORDS NOT SPOKEN:


“Words Not Spoken”

Created* and directed by
Hedda Matza-Haughton, LCSW

was the feature program of
“Tools for Building Healthy Dating Relationships,”

Presented on October 26, 2008
by the

Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force of Pittsburgh, which included some of the following organizations- Jewish Family Service of Pittsburgh; Jewish Community Center(JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh; Jewish Women International of Pittsburgh; and the Agency for Jewish Learning.

The event was also supported by many Synagogue Partners in the Pittsburgh area, and in cooperation with the JWI National Training Institute

Media Contact for the event for the Jewish Domestic Task Force of Pittsburgh was Rochelle Sufrin,


from the Pittsburgh Business Times, 11/13/2008
click here for a larger version of this image

Charlie Wein, one of the local community college student actors from the performance:

“The program itself was an amazing learning experience for me.  I learned so much about relationships that I didn't know before or didn't realize.  I was so surprised with some of the great  ideas that the teens thought of in the small group discussions after the theatre performance.  I was very happy to see that as an actor I was able to successfully pass on the information to others, and that the teens were so involved.”

Hannah Jo Weisberg, one of the local community high school student actors from the performance:

“This experience was incredible - it made me realize that…. as frightening as this seems, it was also comforting to hear a member of the audience say she had also been in the same situation as my character. ALL high school students should be able to participate in this type of programming - they need to know there is help in dealing with abuse”.

Erin Barr, LSW, Family Hope Connection, Jewish Family & Children's Service, Pittsburgh, PA, and also an actor in the performance:

“Being able to create a character allowed me to think about abusive relationships in an entirely new way. It forced me to get outside myself and think about how someone in this situation would feel and act. It was educational for me as a social worker; it allowed me to get in touch with my own personal biases and opinions on the topic which will help me be more effective with clients. Hedda did a great job of really tapping into the inner voice and the emotional part of the character during the rehearsals. I could tell that the process was just as enriching and eye-opening for the teen performers as well.

The small group work after the performance was incredibly helpful. Allowing the teenagers in the audience the opportunity to talk to a character as if they were actually friends with that person was an invaluable experience. They really had the chance to try different approaches to talking to their friends about this sensitive topic and to have some of those approaches be rejected. It was practice for real life. Not only were the teens educated about abusive relationships but they were given tools and skills they'll need to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship. I think this is often a piece that is left out of educational programs. It was an incredible program that is completely appropriate for a teen audience. It was different, thought provoking, and most importantly, interactive. They were not just the audience; they were active participants in the entire program.

Laurie Gottlieb, Director, Marketing & Annual Fundraising, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA:

“The program day was an extreme success and the awareness the committee was able to build for this important issue was AMPLIFIED MANY TIMES OVER by the TV coverage…. we got for the program!  I too, heard nothing but fantastic feedback about the program from teens and parents. It truly opened a lot of eyes. The teens and  young adults who participated in the performance brought tears to my eyes, they portrayed their characters so poignantly.

And if there was anyone in either of those rooms (and I know there was from some of the questions) that we empowered to talk to their friend who might be in an abusive relationship - or remove themselves, start thinking about it or at least talk with someone, then we’ve made a huge difference. Excellent job.”

Marilyn Asimow, local community leader and Chairperson of the planning committee for the Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force of Pittsburgh:

“Rabbi Symons of Temple David, Hannah Jo Weisberg’s ( a teen actor in the performance) temple, said the teens she drove home were very enthusiastic about the experience, the topic and perhaps, even providing information to other teens.  What more could any presenter hope for?

It is a pleasure to know you and to work with you....thank you again for your "vote of confidence" in our efforts to bring you and Words Not Spoken to our Jewish community.  Did I mention that your format/structure for Word Not Spoken is fantastic and that as a school counselor (another previous life) I immediately saw the merit and benefit of this structure for any group on any topic to be a stroke of genius?  If not, well, I did.”

Rochelle Sufrin, Sufrin Communications, Pittsburgh, PA, a community leader and media contact for the Jewish Domestic Abuse Task Force of Pittsburgh:

“I want to thank  our teen actors Charlie, Becca, Loni, Adam and Hannah Jo as well as our adult performer Erin Barr, LSW, for their meaningful and inspiring performances, investing their precious time and creativity to go down an unknown path of experiential learning; and to their parents for supporting them in their quest to be part of the ongoing solution. To "Words Not Spoken" creator and presenter, Hedda Matza-Haughton, LCSW through JWI's National Training Institute, for her steadfast dedication and flexibility in bringing the program to our Pittsburgh community.

To be sure, this day of learning has sparked some valuable conversations and connections: among teens, among parents and families, among clergy and their congregants, among community leaders and educators.  We are energized from this program's success as indicated from the initial participants' evaluation surveys.  There is a buzz among committed professionals, educators, parents and planners that this program has the potential to be a pilot for …more “Words Not Spoken” Programs in our area,  and given the commitment of supporting funds, area schools, government officials, and community organizations, we may have started something which offers a systemic slowdown of violence in our community.  Given the response from area media, from other programs as well as this one, they too, seem willing to be part of the solution in getting the message out.

To that end, on a football Sunday and just 9 days from the longest election contest in our country's history, I am also happy to report that the initial coverage report shows we received positive coverage from three Pittsburgh television stations over two days, one major daily (PG) and the Jewish Chronicle ran pre-event publicity along with a major follow up story coming out in this week's Chronicle. …..  Poignantly, during the 24 hour news cycle in which our event was broadcast, there were three domestic violence news stories dominating the headlines…. 

The Director, Hedda Matza-Haughton, LCSW and the planning committee of Pittsburgh would like to thank all the teens and young adults and staff who portrayed the dynamic characters in “Words Not Spoken” on April 6, 2008. Each and every participant put in many hours to help create along with Hedda’s input and guidance, dynamic realistic characters dealing with teen and young adult violence.

  1. Loni Ben-Zvi
  2. Erin Barr
  3. Adam Dadenberg
  4. Becca Levine
  5. Charlie Wein
  6. Hannah Jo Weinberg



Promoting Healthy Relationships

Created* and directed by
Hedda Matza- Haughton, LCSW

Topic: Teen and Young Adult Dating Violence
Philadelphia, Sunday April 6, 2008
Two Performances – one for Teens, one for Adults

Presented by JWI’s National Training Institute and the Philadelphia Planning Committee: JCC’s Community Youth Initiative; Jewish Family and Children’s Service; Laurel House of Montgomery County; and the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Samantha Lazarus, Counselor and Children’s Advocate at Laurel House of Montgomery County, PA:

“Hedda has the unique ability to create trust and warmth within a newly formed group of ‘actors,’ encouraging them to create emotionally rich and compelling performances within a very limited time-frame, and then to deliver an experience that is often life-changing for members of the audience.  I highly recommend ‘Words Not Spoken.’” Hedda’s production of “Words Not Spoken” brought to life the often silenced issues surrounding dating violence with teens. She inspired the teen actors to portray intimate details in an extremely powerful manner. I was especially touched by this presentation. The only thing more that I could wish for is that each teen struggling for equality in their relations have access to this remarkable piece of work. It is truly something to be proud of.”  

Janine Kelly, Community Educator for the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, Domestic Violence Project, Bryn Mawr, PA:

“Hedda Matza- Haughton’s program “Words Not Spoken” far surpassed any expectations that I had going into it. She educated the audience through the actors in an efficient, knowledgeable, and powerful manner. The presentation was extremely well received by the male and female youth, parents and seniors who were in attendance. Hedda grasps a true understanding of relationship dynamics. Along with presenting the warning signs of abusive relationships, she also offers positive options; leaving her audience and actors hopeful and inspired. Hedda is a wonderful educator. She provides the much-needed tools that are necessary to identify and work with victims of abuse. Her tools help victims become survivors! I present programs for my organization all the time on this topic. “Words Not Spoken” really grabbed my attention and thoroughly impressed, inspired, and moved me!

Talia Gottesman, one of the local community high school student actors from the performance:

It was a great experience, and it educated me about the issues of dating violence and relationship abuse. I went in not knowing anything about the subject, but I came out feeling as if I could really help someone or myself handle a situation like this.”

Yuval Yarden, one of the local community high school student actors from the performance:

“The program was interesting. I enjoyed acting and preparing the monologues….The program did open my eyes to abusive relationships."

Minna Davis, Director of Counseling, Laurel House of Montgomery County, Working to End Domestic Violence, Norristown, PA:

“Words Not Spoken”: Promoting Healthy Relationships,” with Hedda Matza- Haughton was an amazing experience.  As the program’s organizer,  I can confidently attest to her professionalism as a team player, director, and social worker, well versed in the issue of dating violence and with all of its subtleties I base this on her work with the committee, the teen and young adult performers from our very own community and with the audience. Powerful and memorable are the words that come to mind. Thank you, Hedda, for all that you taught us.”

Janna Friedman, LCSW, Shelter of Peace Coordinator, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Philadelphia, PA:

“Words Not Spoken is an incredibly powerful theatrical experience that sheds light on the topic of teen dating violence. As a clinician working with teenagers and young adults, I’m always amazed at how little many of them know about unhealthy relationships and teen dating violence. This topic needs to be spoken about more, so that we can protect our children from current and future abuse. All teenagers, parents, and anyone working with teens should see this!”



Hedda Matza Haughton worked with Philadelphia-area teens, front row, from left, Talia Gottesman, Sebastian-Charles King, Danielle Gross, Yuval Yarden and Adam Kofsky to create a drama in which each portrayed a teenager affected by dating violence. In back row, from left, are Janine Kelly, community educator, Women’s Center of Montgomery County; Minna Davis, M.A., LPC, director of Counseling & Supportive Services, Laurel House of Montgomery County; Janna Friedman, LCSW, domestic violence coordinator, Jewish Family & Children’s Services; Hedda Matza-Haughton; Rachel Hercky, Community Youth Initiative director, JCCs of Greater Philadelphia; Samantha Lazarus, counselor and children’s advocate, Laurel House of Montgomery County; and Rochelle Schwartz, JWI of Philadelphia.

See the videos from this “Words Not Spoken”



Written responses from the audience, taken from the evaluation forms:

“Coming from a history of teen dating violence, I found this very moving and true to form. I wish that I knew of things like this as a teenager. Thank you for your work.”

“I realized from this presentation that I might be in an abusive relationship.”

“The best part of the program was the connection made between the monologues and actual teen experience with dating violence.”

“It helped me as a teen learn things about relationships.”

“It was informative and made me realize how hard it is for the person who is in an abusive relationship to see their situation.”

“The discussion groups that followed the theatre presentation was most helpful in understanding how to help a friend if she was in an unhealthy relationship.”


Letter of Recommendation from St. Lukes Mountain States Tumor Institute

We would like to thank you for your participation in the October 3, 2008 St. Luke’s Concepts in Oncology Conference, entitled, “21st Annual Concepts of Oncology/Survivorship: Steps to Well-Being". Your program, “Words Not Spoken,” an improvisational interactive theatre, which served as the keynote, was a powerful way to get the audience involved from the beginning. Each of the characters in your performance provided a comprehensive array of issues affecting cancer survivors and laid a foundation for our other presenters. The characters that were portrayed were poignant, believable, and conveyed the multitude of physical and emotional issues faced by many cancer survivors, who often feel “lost in transition”.

Continue reading this letter (PDF)


More Testimonials here


Say “NO” to Bullying and “YES” to Healthy Relationships
Moms and Kids against Bullying
Watch videos
Teen and Young Adult Dating Violence
Watch videos
Cancer Survivorship
Watch videos
Some of the topics that “Words Not Spoken” programs explore:
  1. Bullying
  2. Teen and Young Adult Dating Violence
  3. Building Self-Esteem
  4. Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Abuse
  5. Child Abuse / Elder Abuse
  6. Cancer Survivorship-“Lost In Transition”
  7. Communication and Choices in Death and Dying
  8. Inner Voices: Aging, Intimacy & Sexuality
  9. Plus more topics as requested...
“Words Not Spoken” Videos!
Experience an actual “Words Not Spoken” by watching these video clips from  different  presentations:
"Words Not Spoken" Menu:

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