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Apples and Honey and Human Trafficking

22 Sep 15
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When I think of Rosh Hashanah, I think of community and honey cake and apple picking with my family.  I think of my children fidgeting in temple but reciting the prayers with comfort in their familiarity.  I think of round challah and noodle kugel – always sweet – with cinnamon and raisins.  But until recently, I never thought about human trafficking.  I never thought about those who spend their days in chains – figuratively or literally – trapped in the bondage of modern-day slavery.  As Jews, slavery is part of our history – but unfortunately it isn’t just a part of the past.  More people are enslaved today than in any other time in history.  On any given day there are an estimated 16,000-24,000 women and girls involved in prostitution-related activities in Chicagoland alone (http://caase.org/fact-sheets).  How can we not take any day and every day as an opportunity to support trafficking victims and help those at risk.

Although a number of laws have been passed in recent years which support trafficking survivors (see graphic on right), there is more that needs to be done.  Contact your local officials – police and government – and make sure they enforce these laws.  Sample letters are available on the JCAST Chicago Resources page – www.jcastchicago.org/trafficking-resources.

As we reflect upon these Days of Awe and as we celebrate Yom Kippur, we can also think about Tikkun Olam – how we can work to repair the world through social action and social justice.  Become a member of JCAST Chicago.  Membership is free through 2016. Individual and organizational memberships are available as well as organizational partnerships. Visit www.jcastchicago.org/membership for an application and be sure to sign up for the JCAST Chicago listserv as well as sex trafficking action alerts on www.jcastchicago.org/action.  Help organize a collection of toiletries for the Dreamcatcher Foundation which travels Chicago streets 4 nights a week to make contact with and offer support to sex trafficking victims. Visit www.jcastchicago.org/trafficking-resources for information on needed items as well as donation drop off locations.  Attend the JCAST Chicago Coalition Meeting on Thursday, October 15at Curt’s Café in Evanston.  Visit www.formsmarts.com/form/1n02 to RSVP.

G’mar Chatimah Tova.  May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for good.

~ Melissa Prober, NCJW Chicago North Shore; JCAST Chicago

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