Archives for August 2013

Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking (Video)

Human trafficking is a $32 billion annual business, with an estimated 70 percent generated by sex trafficking.

ATZUM’s founder and director Rabbi Levi Lauer participated in a powerful conference hosted by UJA-Federation’s Task force on Family Violence, which ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking helped to organize. Rabbi Lauer and other conference participants are interviewed in this video entitled We Were Slaves: the Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking.

This 3-minute video explains the urgent need for this initiative and delivers the resounding message: Sex trafficking is our problem and we, the Jewish community, can take steps to stop it. 

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Atzum’s Founding Executive Director Levi Lauer is featured in this video (starting at 2:34)

“Sex trafficking is an abuse of the Divine image, into which every human being was born,” is his core message.

You can learn more about this Jewish communal initiative here:

Sex Trafficking - YouTube

A Tribute to Ellen Singer: Director of ATZUM’s US Office

The ATZUM family wishes to pay tribute to Ellen Singer, director of ATZUM’s US office, who passed away on June 9th.

Ellen Singer

Ellen Singer

Since its founding 11 years ago, Ellen managed ATZUM’s U.S. administrative responsibilities with extraordinary dedication and efficiency – from her home office in Youngsville, N.Y., without salary. Ellen’s work was not “volunteer” in the sense it embodied the highest standards of uncompromising responsibility, even as she met the demands of family and professional life, and engaged a relentless eight-year battle with cancer. Ellen was indeed our colleague in every meaningful expression that relationship might convey.
She was also far more than that to me and to nearly all who worked with and met her.  A fine Jewish educator and youth counselor; tirelessly devoted member of varied and diverse Jewish communities and learning groups; wonderfully generous contributor to efforts to address critical human need; unfailing source of plainspoken wisdom wrought frequently with usefully indelicate and unvarnished humor; and perhaps above all a woman, wife and mother of boundless caring and capacity to understand and respond to the pain or need of another. She taught us how to care more deeply, see more clearly, work more resourcefully.
We shall miss her dearly for that fine thinking she brought to our efforts and for her contagious determination to make the worlds of Jewish and other endeavor kinder, gentler, better educated and more decent than we would have been had we not been blessed by her friendship. I earnestly hope ATZUM shall prove worthy of her dedication and on behalf of our staff and the innumerable individuals who benefited from her work, extend tanhumim to Don and Vinny and to Ellen’s family and pray they will find comfort among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.
Yehi zikhra barukh.
Levi Lauer
Founding Executive Director, ATZUM

“Women For Sale:” ATZUM at the International Women’s Conference, Jerusalem

International Women's Conference JerusalemOn August 6th, ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking presented at the International Women’s Conference in Jerusalem. Young social activists from around the world, including North America, Europe, and Africa attended the conference.

Throughout the three-day conference they heard presentations on a variety of issues including the role of women in Israeli society and army, tools for change, and the challenges faced when attempting to blend traditional and modern values. Political leaders, businesswomen, journalists, and social activists gave presentations focusing on their experiences, work, and how to move Israel closer to gender equality.

TFHT’s Rebecca Hughes presentation was entitled “Women For Sale: Confronting Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in Israel.”

“Being able to speak to a group of people who are so motivated and committed to advancing equality was a privilege,” remarked Hughes. “Prostitution and sex trafficking are international issues, and if we are going to affect change we all need to be in this together. This conference was a great opportunity to start a conversation about how we can address these issues as an international community.”