Speaker Profile Henna White

Henna White attained national recognition for her work in inter-group relations, which began in the wake of the Crown Heights disturbances in 1991. Ms. White is a South African who grew up during the turbulent years of apartheid and was instrumental in forming "Mothers to Mothers" a dialogue group composed of Jewish and African American women who meet regularly to learn about and from each other. Henna White has received a number of awards for her inter-group activities and she continues to work with communities and groups to help foster harmony.

In her professional life Henna White works for the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office as District Attorney Charles J. Hynes community Liaison Ms. White has also been at the forefront of issues of dealing with domestic violence. She is a well-known speaker on the topic of domestic violence and women's issues and has organized conferences, forums and educator's workshops. She created Brairot, a batterer's intervention and counseling group for Orthodox Jewish males; as well as a Sex Offender's programs designed to meet the specific religious and cultural needs of sexual offenders. Ms White has been the guiding force in helping communities break through the denial and realize the tragic effect of domestic violence on families.

After reading about the tragedies of newborn babies being left in dumpsters Henna White created a program called Baby Safe Haven. Baby Safe Haven gives new mothers the opportunity to anonymously leave a newborn at a safe place such as a hospital or a firehouse, keeping the baby safe and giving the mother immunity from prosecution.

Approximately seven years ago in the aftermath of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination and in response to the rhetoric that divided the Jewish people, Henna founded the Jewish Women's Dialogue under the auspices of the American Jewish Committee. The dialogue is a group of approximately thirty women from all walks of life with differing and opposing religious views who have learned to listen and talk to each. The women have created a foundation of trust based on shared beliefs about their differences, maintaining a level of understanding and respect for each other. This dialogue is now being replicated throughout the New York Jewish community as well as in Boston and Washington.

Henna's work with youth and families has been recognized throughout New York especially in the area of teens at risk and drug addiction.

She serves as the Chairman of the Board of Kingsbrook Hospital. She is the first woman to chair the Board of Directors and has been spearheading many programs that educate women when it comes to health related issues.

Ms. White is also the President of the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie and serves on the board of trustees of the American Jewish Committee among many other civic and philanthropic endeavors. Henna has been honored by many organizations and recently was cited by the Daily News as being "one of the 100 women who shape our City."

Henna is a Chassidic Lubavitch women born in South Africa who now resides in Canarsie, Brooklyn with her husband Asher and their four children, Yossi, Chaya Mendy and Avremi.

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