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Women for Sale (excerpt)


You can go to a store and buy a shirt, book, ice cream, a toy… a woman. Choose a color, choose a flavor, pay, and even have it To Go.

ATZUM-Justice Works with the Task Force on Human Trafficking launched a provoking social campaign called Woman To Go. Women with price tags perched on stools and stood in a shop window display at the WomanToGo store in a Tel Aviv mall. The Woman To Go campaign aims to raise awareness, criminalize the sexual predation of women, and stop the rising trafficking of women into, out of, and within Israel. Designed by the ad agency Shalmor Avnon Avichay/Y&R Interactive, the campaign received international attention on CNN.

When Hope Ends in Slavery: Human Trafficking in Israel” was the topic of a talk given at Brandeis University by Rabbi Lauer about the Woman To Go campaign and ATZUM’s anti-trafficking focus.

This event was co-convened by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and cosponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program, the Social Justice & Social Policy Program, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University.

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From book to stage


The tragic story of the Jewish white trade have lured the imagination of numerous novelists over the years. One of the most recent attempts to highlight the subject is the stage adaptation of  A Tale of a Ring by Israeli novelist Ilan Sheinfeld who, these days, in collaboration with stage director Dalia Shimko, is once again bringing his fictional characters to life by placing them on the theatrical stage:

The play, scheduled to premiere in Tel Aviv in July, includes Esti Zakhem, Roberto Polak, Shira Eden, Orly Tobaly, Maya Gesner, Libee Tenenboim, Eyal Raz and Michal Politzer, and original music by Issar Shulman.

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Production Assembly: Who, What, When and Where


Following the unwinding trail of scarce archival documentation, the documentary Laid to Rest, Buried Stories of Jewish Sex Trade unravels the questions, secrets, myths and mysteries surrounding the topic from the late 19th century until the 1930s. Here is a rough cut of assembled footage filmed and edited between June 2009 – November 2010:

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Reviewing “Tme’im”


My literary review of Haim Avni’s new book “Tme’im” (2009, Hebrew) on the topic of Jewish white trade was recently published in the Fall 2010/Winter 2011 edition of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association / The University of Texas, pages 25-26.

A distinguished scholar and one of Laid to Rest experts, Haim Avni is a Professor Emeritus of Contemporary Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He founded and headed the department of Jews of Latin America, Spain and Portugal at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, and served until recently as the Academic Director at the Central Zionist Archives.

Avni Haim. “Tme’im”: Sahar Be-nashim be-Argentina uve-Yisra’el. Tel Aviv: Miskal – Yedioth Ahronoth Books and Chemed, 2009. 303 pages. ISBN 978-965-482-627-3

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Shifra’le: Forgotten Memories of Ibergus


Shifra Lerer started her life long acting career in the Yiddish theater in Argentina at the age of five. She was only nine years old when she played in Leib Malach’s controversial play Ibergus about the Jewish sex trade in Latin America. Years later, she recall the play, her role and the controversial circumstances surrounding the month long stage production in Buenos Aires’ Teatro Ideal. She can no longer remember her lines, but still remembers the controversy:

Ibergus?It was a play that made you nervous, made you think about things, made you be concerned abut things…

From an interview with Shifra Lerer, NYC, 2010

It was a shameful episode in the life of Yiddish life in Argentina. I can’t tell you much about it because being at this age, I was too young to understand…

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Pre-Production Research


Pre-production research got into full swing in the spring of 2009 at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Judaica Library at the Brandeis University:

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The Project


The documentary Laid to Rest highlights the largely untold story of the Jewish white trade in Buenos Aires between 1870’s-1930. Tracing the trail of documents, locations and people involved with the story, the film will present the ongoing unresolved conflicts and challenges that have been following the Jewish community in Buenos Aires to this day.

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