The first day of Hanukkah this year coincides with an important date in the anti-slavery calendar. December 2nd is the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
That is why we are especially happy this year to spotlight a confluence of observance and activism. A Free the Slaves Passover Project Partner has taken direct action to liberate children from slavery in Africa.
The Global Mitzvah Project of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, MD has made it possible for Free the Slaves to equip a boat and buy lifejackets so that our front-line activists can rescue children from brutal mistreatment in Ghana’s fishing industry. Thousands of children are forced to work on rickety canoes on Lake Volta in Ghana. They rarely get to eat what they catch. When sent underwater to untangle nets, many children never resurface.
How can you make your Hanukkah observances more meaningful? Download our Free Your Hanukkah handout for suggestions on what you can do in 10 seconds to 10 hours to build awareness and help end modern slavery.
Temple Emanuel’s contribution will help return these children to happy childhoods. After rescue, they will receive medical and psychological care at a special shelter. They will receive remedial schooling to help catch up on their education. They will then be reintegrated into their home communities — with social work support to ensure they are never trafficked again.
The rescue boat helps fulfill Judaism’s commitment to Tikkun Olam, God’s call for healing or repairing the world. “Imagine congregants motivated by core Jewish values teaching our community that being a Jew means caring for needs around our world and making a difference in small ways,” writes Rabbi Warren Stone.
On behalf of the many lives that will be transformed by the new rescue boat, we express a special thanks to Temple Emanuel. And of course we thank all our Passover Project partners for their remarkable ongoing generosity, which supports all our field programs worldwide in so many different ways.
Happy Hanukkah from Free the Slaves!
Learn more about the Passover Project here.
Learn more about our Growing Up Free project to confront child slavery in Ghana here.