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Social Justice and Interfaith Newsletter for the Greater Washington Jewish Community

2011 The Days of Awe 5772

All who can protest against something wrong that is being done in the whole world, and does not protest, is accountable together with all citizens of the world.  B Shabbat 54b

Take Action Now - CLICK HERE to support legislation to end human trafficking!

We think of Rosh HaShanah as the Jewish New Year, but it is not the New Year for the Jewish people. This is the time when we celebrate the New Year for the entire world and observe Yom Kippur as the time the entire world is judged.  It is the most universal of Jewish celebrations - the world was created for all of humanity.  The Torah teaches us that when the world was new God created the first human being b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.  This is a foundational understanding:  each and every human being is a reflection of the Divine.   Whenever we look at any human being, each and every one, we must see a reflection of God.  At this time of year let us remember the sanctity of every human, and every human being whose inherent sanctity is denied.

All over the world, including in America, human beings are enslaved and we must fight for them.  In Leviticus 19:33-34 the Torah teaches:  “And if a stranger lives with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger that lives among you shall be to you as the home-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.”  Over and over we are told to protect the “stranger, the widow and the orphan” - the most vulnerable in society. 

Slavery has become generally known as human trafficking.  The conservative estimate is that there are at least 12 million people in the world who are enslaved.  Slavery touches our lives all the time.  Here in America, both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens have been indentified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states as well as in Washington, DC. Trafficked individuals work in homes, factories, restaurants, agriculture, and more.  Worldwide, most slaves are forced to work in agriculture, mining, and prostitution. Certain products that are very much a part of our American lives, such as coffee, chocolate, and cars, may be traceable to slave labor and part of the supply chain of U.S.‐based international   corporations, or American companies doing extensive business with overseas manufacturers and exporters.

In 2000, the United States enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).  It is, once again, up for reauthorization.

To learn more: 

U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2011  provides a "snapshot" of the global human trafficking.

Rabbis for Human Right - North America's website has an excellent collection of Jewish resources and texts as well as information and useful links related to human trafficking.

Fight Hunger in Our Community
Many congregations collect food or other goods that are needed in the community. Check your with your local synagogue to learn about opportunities to contribute on this Yom Kippur. Maryland Communty News Online  Report:  20% of Maryland Households Hurting for Food

Take the Food Stamp Challenge visit the JCPA website to register! 
Live for one week on the amount of money that you would receive on food stamps. Experience is the best education.  This is an excellent way to be reminded of our blessings, and to help our families understand how others live. 



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Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington
6101 Executive Boulevard, Suite 300│North Potomac, MD 20852
Tel. 301-770-0881│
Virginia Office: c/o JCCNV, 8900 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA22031-3123
Tel. 703-962-9230│Fax 703-323-1993
DC Office: 1775 K Street, NW Suite 320, Washington, DC 20006│Tel. 202-552-5355
Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
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