We at the Atlanta Jewish Times work hard to offer you a newspaper and a website that are worth reading, and I hope we do a good enough job to make it worthwhile for you to spend some time with the AJT each week.
Ideally, you find the newspaper vital enough to Jewish Atlanta and to your place in the community that you subscribe (such a steal at $65), but there’s no denying that some issues are better than others.
Still, it’s rare when we publish stories that are not just interesting, informative or entertaining, but are also important — the stories that I believe everyone in our community needs to read. In 2015, we may have had as few as two such packages of stories: our extensive coverage of the centennial of Leo Frank’s lynching in Marietta and our lengthy examination of what will happen in the too-soon future when the world has no more Holocaust survivor.
We have two of those must-read packages in this single issue.
The timelier of the two is a set of articles dealing with modern slavery and how Georgia as a state and Georgians as individuals are fighting human trafficking. Each of the stories in this package on Pages 15 to 17 developed independently.
We started working on the partnership between Temple Kehillat Chaim and Free the Slaves around Passover, but the story took longer than planned to pull together and fit into the paper. Matthew Friedman of the anti-slavery Mekong Club just happened to visit in early August and found time to talk to Associate Editor David Cohen. The Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia pulled together a special exhibition in response to slavery just as the advocates of a Safe Harbor state constitutional amendment decided to launch a campaign for the measure’s approval.
But taken together, the articles drive home the point that slavery, whether in factory sweatshops in Asia or in the sex abuse of children right here in Georgia, remains a global scourge.
Cry Freedom: Stories from our package on modern slavery
When it comes to scourges close to home, however, nothing is scarier than the nation’s heroin epidemic, which is just as likely to strike one of the good, happy Jewish families in our community as anyone in the general public.
Three Jewish women who lost children to opioids talked to contributor Leah R. Harrison about the pain and shock of their losses and how they think Jewish Atlanta should respond to the problem. Leah also got the perspective of HAMSA program coordinator Eric Miller, a recovering addict himself, and did further reporting that informs and deepens her writing.
This special report is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the problem, its causes and its potential cures, but it should help you understand the devastation heroin addiction is leaving in its wake.
Next week we’ll try to add to that understanding by looking at how some health care practices are changing in response to the spread of opioid abuse. And we hope to keep developing this important story as more people affected by addiction decide to share their experiences with the community through the AJT.
Between human trafficking and heroin addiction, this isn’t the most cheerful AJT issue you’ll ever read. But I hope these articles are examples of the serious topics in Jewish Atlanta that you want to see covered in the AJT.
Don’t worry: We’re only two weeks away from the fun adventures of our next travel issue.
Special Report: Atlanta’s Jewish Heroin Triangle