Archives for April 2015

ATZUM: Engaging Pardes Students in Service-Learning Program

For the past several months, a group of students from the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies has been volunteering for the Task Force on Human Trafficking, an initiative of ATZUM-Justice Works whose professionals have prepared an informative orientation course for social activists. As newcomers to the issues of prostitution and trafficking addressed by the Task Force, we initially sought to understand and ultimately enlighten others about these problems.

Since the fall of 2014 we’ve learned and accomplished a great deal.  Our group prepared a short presentation for the Social Justice class at Pardes, screened documentary clips highlighting the issues, and facilitated a probing discussion for the larger Pardes community. Later this month we will be hosting a Trivia Night focusing on women’s issues.  Our most significant undertaking has been to create a series of lesson plans to help educators introduce students to the topics and to encourage them to work towards remedies. Many of us spent countless hours watching documentaries, reading articles and planning activities in order to compile the best resources and methods to teach about these difficult issues.

Tackling and digesting these issues has not been easy. I have come away from some meetings feeling thoroughly disheartened. Without initially realizing it, I now see that my discussions surrounding trafficking and prostitution have changed. I used to keep quiet, feeling as if I had nothing worthy to contribute to the conversation and no obligation to take a stance. But now, because of the course, I have the confidence to state my opinion and the language and statistics to back it up. Even if my short time working with the Task Force is only a blip on the screen of the larger struggle, I think my, and my fellow volunteers’, greater knowledge can only help further educate our communities. 

Darya Watnick

Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies program participant

Task Force on Human Trafficking volunteer