Monthly Archives:September 2015

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 (  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 –

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 for an application and be sure to sign up for the JCAST Chicago listserv as well as sex trafficking action alerts on  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 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 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