Passover and Modern Slavery

modern day slaveryIn Israel and all around the world Jews are preparing for Passover. While everyone has their own way of celebrating the holiday, most Jews will dedicate at least one night to retelling the story of Pesach and remembering when we were slaves in Egypt. Yet, most people tend to think of slavery in a historical context, making it difficult to relate to the experience of slavery.

However, slavery persists among us. The United Nations estimates that 27 million people are enslaved worldwide, meaning that more people are enslaved now than at any other point in human history. Although slavery has been outlawed in every country, there isn’t a country in the world free of it – including Israel. Whether we like it or not, slavery continues to be a pressing and modern issue.

Pesach is a particularly appropriate time to consider questions of slavery. During this holiday we encourage you to think deeply about the Jewish people’s history of oppression. It is this history that positions us to uniquely understand the suffering of others still living in bondage. ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking has developed a guide to help you and your community talk about and address modern slavery.

Click here to download this Passover supplement. – Pesach-and-Modern-Slavery

This holiday let us celebrate the freedom we were granted, by advocating for the freedom of others. Hag Pesach Semach, and a season of freedom from hate and oppression for all Israel and all of humankind.


Save the Date – Chicago-Highland Park Annual Event

Save the date for the Chicago-Highland Park Annual Event


Date:  Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Swislow family: 2313 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL

Please RSVP: Nada Popovic

If you do not live in Chicago but know people who do, please forward the information to them.  For more information contact Sara Wenger.

This year’s keynote speaker is Survivor of Terror, Miri Furstenberg.

Miri FurstenbergMiri Furstenberg, 61, lives in Rishon Lezion and is the widowed mother of two and grandmother of four. She is a survivor of the Ma’ale Akrabim massacre, an attack on a bus that killed eleven passengers including her entire family.

On March 16, 1954, an Egged bus carrying 14 passengers made its way from Eilat to Tel Aviv. As the bus ascended a steep grade it was ambushed by Jordanian and Palestinian gunmen who killed the driver, Miri’s father, as well as passengers who tried to escape. The terrorists then boarded the bus, shot and raped the surviving passengers, including Miri’s mother. Among four survivors, two severely injured, was five-year-old Miri Furstenberg, spared by the heroic act of an Israeli soldier who defended her with his body. Miri’s 10 year old brother was mortally wounded and remained in a vegetative state until his death in 1986.

Miri grew up an orphan on a kibbutz, without rehabilitation, her experience typical of many terror survivors from Israel’s early years when the State was ill-equipped to address their needs. Despite Miri’s traumatic, emotionally disadvantaged childhood, she worked hard to rebuild her life, raised and supported two children. In addition to now working long hours as a taxi driver for some of Israel’s most prominent professionals, Miri volunteers helping poverty stricken families as well as mentally retarded adults.

Miri frequently contemplates why she survived. She believes she lived in order to help others in distress.

Announcing ATZUM’s Abe and Gert Nutkis Scholarship Fund

We wish to bring to your attention ATZUM’s Abe and Gert Nutkis Scholarship Fund for study in Israel. Applications are currently being considered for students planning to study in Israel during the academic year 2010-2011. Students who receive a scholarship will be required to volunteer during their year in Israel as part of an ATZUM project or with an ATZUM approved project. Further guidelines can be found:

Abe and Gert Nutkis Scholarship