Clear Sailing for Safe Harbor Bill

It took until the second-to-last day of the 2015 legislative session, but Sen. Renee Unterman’s legislation to expand protections for child victims of sex trafficking finally reached the House floor March 31.

Unterman introduced Senate Bill 8, which would provide the services victims of child sex slavery need to lead normal lives and would extend their time to take legal action against their abusers.

The bill and its companion, Senate Resolution 7, easily passed the Senate in mid-February, then languished in the House despite changes Unterman had made to align her legislation with a proposed House measure.

The House Juvenile Justice Committee sent S.B. 8 to the full House on March 25 with a recommendation for passage, and it topped the agenda for floor action March 31. S.R. 7, which calls for a referendum on a state constitutional amendment to create a fund for the services the exploited children need, ran into complaints about taxation but passed 151-18. S.B. 8 later passed 150-22.

Sex trafficking is a huge problem in Atlanta and is a focus for social action at some synagogues, led by The Temple.

Kids4Peace Wins Cobb Award

Kids4Peace Atlanta board members Khadeejah Farooq and Rabbi Erin Boxt flank Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who nominated the organization for the Creating Community Award from her district.

Kids4Peace Atlanta board members Khadeejah Farooq and Rabbi Erin Boxt flank Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who nominated the organization for the Creating Community Award from her district.

The Atlanta chapter of Kids4Peace, an organization that brings together Jewish, Muslim and Christian children from the Holy Land and from Georgia for camp experiences and service projects that allow them to learn about one another, was awarded the Cobb County Creating Community Award for District 3 on March 18.

The Cobb Community Relations Commission gives out one award for each of the county’s four commission districts each year.

The Rev. Brian Sullivan heads the Atlanta chapter, whose leadership includes Temple Kol Emeth Rabbi Erin Boxt.

This is the third time Kol Emeth has had a share of the Creating Community Award in the five years it has been presented. It won the initial award in 2011 for the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service it holds. In 2013, the award went to the Cobb Interfaith Habitat Coalition, of which Kol Emeth was a founding member and whose chairman was Kol Emeth’s current president, Henry Hene.

Senate Win Could Kill LaVista Hills

House Bill 520, the legislation to hold a referendum in November on the creation of the DeKalb County city of LaVista Hills, won Senate passage 38-5 on March 25, but the fate of the legislation was in doubt as the General Assembly’s April 2 adjournment approached.

The problem is that the proposed city, which would include heavily Orthodox Toco Hills, grew under an amendment to the bill brought by Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody. The new borders encroach on the proposed territory for the city of Tucker and take in neighborhoods below Toco Hills that don’t want to incorporate.

The group leading the push for La­Vista Hills, LaVista Hills YES, denies having any part in the changed borders and issued pleas for legislators to agree on city lines and pass the bill. With a packed final-week agenda, however, H.B. 520 easily could have to wait until next year.

Making Life More Worth Living

Jewish Family & Career Services and Greater Atlanta Hadassah’s Ketura Group are partnering for Ketura’s fifth annual L’Chaim program, Being Connected, Sunday, April 26, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the JF&CS headquarters, 4549 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody.

People are invited to discuss life in a way that will engage the spirit, heart and mind, as well as practical issues.

The panelists are Rabbi Judith Beiner, the community chaplain for JF&CS; Chris Brannon, a partner at the firm of Brannon & Black and chairman of the Elder Law Section of the Atlanta Bar; Ruthanne Warnick, the founder of Capture the Journey and a certified guided autobiography instructor; and John Kunihiro, the founder and CEO of Art of Healing.

The cost is $10, which includes light refreshments. Contact Sheila Dalmat at 678-441-0650 or sdalmat@gmail.com for details and registration.

Kol Emeth to Honor WRJ

Temple Kol Emeth’s annual Lights of TKE-Avodah honor dinner will highlight the work of the congregation’s sisterhood, the Women of Reform Judaism.

The evening of honor will recognize 12 current and former WRJ presidents while celebrating contributions to the East Cobb congregation and the community at large since the mid-1980s.

The president of the national WRJ is Kol Emeth member Blair Marks.

Tickets are $100.