Meet Or Tzedek’s Summer Staff

April 18, 2014

We would like to introduce two of our Or Tzedek summer counselors, Graie Barasch-Hagans and Hannah Arwe.  We are excited to welcome such experienced and passionate people to the team.

>>> Learn more about Or Tzedek’s two week overnight summer program<<<

Or Tzedek Bio PicGraie Barasch-Hagans

Graie is a St. Louis native who is currently living in Philadelphia while pursuing a Masters in Public Policy from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers.

Last year he spent a year in service through Americorps Vista in New Orleans. Graie is an active member of Kol Tzedek, a Reconstructionist Synagogue in West Philly.

He is passionate about Judaism, social justice, public education, and working with youth. Graie is excited to be spending this summer with Or Tzedek!

 

headshot or tzedekHannah Arwe

Hannah is currently finishing her master’s degree in Women’s & Gender Studies at DePaul University.  She has a passion for social activism, specifically when it is grounded in principles of transformative justice and community accountability.

Hannah has focused most of her educational and professional efforts in anti-violence work, specifically domestic violence and youth violence, and has been educating Chicago youth as well as advocating for survivors of domestic violence since she moved to Chicago 3 years ago.

At DePaul, her research has focused on anti-racism and dismantling white privilege.  Hannah is excited to bring her Jewish identity into her social justice work, and can’t wait to get started at Or Tzedek this summer!


JCUA Responds to This Past Weekend’s Violence

April 14, 2014

As Jews across the country prepare for Passover, I am with my extended family in Los Angeles. Though the metropolitan area here is more than triple the size of Chicago, it is the Chicago weekend violence statistics that I am following, along with the shootings at two Jewish Community facilities in metropolitan Kansas City . It is a bloody, violent weekend.

Image

We all feel the reverberations of gunfire. We mourn the victims who we don’t know and will never meet. We mourn with the parents, children, and grandchildren left behind, bereft and shell-shocked. 

JCUA’s Justice Seder earlier this month was entitled “From Handguns to Hope”. Those who attended were moved and inspired, and left feeling a little more powerful and a little less helpless. We must strengthen our resolve to come together in solidarity with those who are suffering to address this scourge, the modern-day plague of rampant gun violence.

On the eve of Passover, as we recall and retell the story of our peoples’ oppression, let us remember the communities who suffered great loss this weekend, and all due to gun violence. It has to stop.

Please join us. We need to pull together now more than ever.

Judy Levey, Exec. Dir.

P.S. In the wake of these shootings, we are more committed than ever to the work of our partners responding to gun violence.  Fierce Women Of Faith are sponsoring a Mother/Son Dialogue on May 1st at the DuSable Museum.  Click here for more information.


46 Years Later: Connecting #mlk’s Last Speech to #abetterillinois

April 4, 2014

46 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In his last years, King focused his work on addressing the intersections between economic inequality, poverty and race. King was in Memphis to support the Memphis Sanitation Strike, a critical first campaign in his larger Poor People’s Campaign.

In his last speech, King said, “Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school — be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.”

46 years after Dr. King spoke those words, economic and racial inequality are more strongly connected than ever.  As we see in this article, income inequality is growing in our city. Chicago’s staggering economically polarization is concentrated in communities of color, and nearly entirely in neighborhoods where CPS closed more that fifty Chicago Public Schools last year.

40 Years of Chicago’s Rising Inequality, in One GIF

We cannot stop our work to combat poverty.  JCUA is committed to addressing economic inequality in our city and state.  That is why we are members of the A Better Illinois coalition.  By working with A Better Illinois on changing Illinois’ flat rate income tax system, we are not only advocating for a more fair income tax.  We are also advocating for a solution to Illinois’ massive deficit and the resulting cuts in vital programs and services for the economically marginalized.  Together, we can stop the growing stratification in Chicago and draw a new map with more just colors.


 Want to get more involved with JCUA and A Better Illinois?  Click here.


Tell Eric Cantor to Bring Comprehensive Immigration Reform to a Vote

March 24, 2014

eric-cantor-immigration-reformEveryday, 11 million people are denied access to basic freedoms in the U.S. It’s time to grant them access to America. So parents aren’t separated from their children. So bright students can go to college and realize their potential. So America doesn’t become a country with permanent second-class citizens.

Today the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is joining forces with a coalition of Jewish organizations because we’ve got a real chance to open a pathway to citizenship for those 11 million people– a chance that may not come again for years.

On April 3, we’re delivering a united message to Majority Leader Eric Cantor, urging him to schedule a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. He has the power to do so tomorrow, and we can push him to act, but only if thousands of us speak up together.

Sign now and tell Majority Leader Cantor to finally bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote in Congress:

► http://entrydenied.org/jcua

Eric Cantor has been clear about how crucial immigration has been for our families: If today’s laws had been in place in the past, many of our own families would have been denied access to the freedoms that have made our history in America possible. But so far he’s held firm against bringing comprehensive immigration reform to a vote.

A bill already passed the Senate last year, and despite its imperfections it is a huge step forward. In the House, there are enough bipartisan votes for the bill to pass, but politicians have been too afraid of the vocal — and extreme — fringes of their own party to take a stand.

Now we have a rare opportunity to break through the gridlock. In just a few days, Majority Leader Cantor is set to meet with Jewish constituents to hear why they support comprehensive immigration reform. Let’s send them in with the support of thousands of Jewish voices united with one message.

Join Bend the Arc, Ameinu, HIAS, JALSA, JCA, JCUA, NCJW, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Uri L’Tzedek and Workmen’s Circle to send a powerful message:

It’s time to grant access to America for 11 million people.


Passover Seder: Stories of Violence and its Impact

March 20, 2014

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED

Seder 2014: "From Handguns to Hope"

JCUA’s Annual Passover Seder

Thursday, April 3, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

HOSTED BY
Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation
6601 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago
(map it)
Capers Funnye, Rabbi



Chicago stories of
VIOLENCE, IMPACT and SOLUTIONS

With
Kevin Coval, emcee

Featuring
The “Louder than a Bomb 2014 Team”
And
JCUA’s inspiring partners on violence prevention work

Our seder will highlight three organizations and their approaches to ending gun violence in Chicago: 

Raise Teen Voices. Since 2001, Louder Than a Bomb has given youth a platform to share their stories. This spoken-word competition allows students from any neighborhood, suburb or region to listen, share and build a community. Louder Than a Bomb’s poetry teams address racism, sexism, violence and segregation through the art of spoken word. Their art gives them an outlet and helps us understand the obstacles we all must address to build a better Chicago. You will be inspired by their insightful performance.

Mobilize Underrepresented Communities. For the past year, Fierce Women of Faith has worked tirelessly to increase peace in our city. Fierce Women of Faith launched last summer to mobilize women of faith to address the gun violence epidemic plaguing neighborhoods in communities of color. Today, they are hundreds of members strong and have taken a holistic approach to addressing gun violence. From offering public witness to training community leaders and pursuing legislation, Fierce Women of Faith have been invaluable partners in advancing solutions to gun violence. Speaker: Marci Richards.

Advancing Gun Violence Legislation. Last summer, Illinois enacted the state’s first concealed carry gun law. Long regarded as sanctuaries and safe spaces, guns are now legally allowed in houses of worship. These new laws threaten to make guns and gun violence even more widespread. That is why the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence has launched a legislative campaign to ban handguns in houses of worship. By reversing our state’s legislative backslides on gun control, ICHV plays a crucial role in preventing gun violence. Speaker: Mark Walsh.

In addition to our partners,
you’ll hear powerful words from:

Tamar Manasseh – Rabbi Capers Funnye – Rabbi Ben Greenberg 

With musical performance by
the Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken E.H.C. Choir


JCUA’s annual Seder ALWAYS sells out.
Order your tickets today to be assured of a seat.

Single Tickets:  $25          Table of 10:  $250

Purchase tickets or sponsor a seat so that
someone else can attend at no charge:

Buy Tickets Be a Sponsor


Transportation

Bus transportation will be available from the Spertus Institute in downtown Chicago to Beth Shalom in Chicago Lawn. Cost is $5 per person. Get more details here.


Jewish Teens to Mobilize 59th District Synagogues

March 13, 2014
photo 3 At Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s latest Jewish organizing workshop, Mark Walsh and Camiella Williams from the Illinois Council against Handgun Violence shared both statistical and personally powerful arguments for gun violence prevention legislation.

Sixteen year old May Pat Hector, national youth director for National Action Network and founder of Youth in Action, spoke about her activism to mobilize youth to stand against gun violence in our country.
>>> To keep up with Or Tzedek and Beth Emet’s campaign, like us on Facebook!<<<
Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Father in Deportation Granted 6 Month Stay of Removal

March 6, 2014

Because of his activism with Undocumented Illinois, the Immigrant Youth Justice League, Organized Communities Against Deportation, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and other immigrant justice organizations, Anibal Fuentes will remain in Chicago to see his son turn one. Anibal continues to fight for permanent relief and for President Obama to stop all deportations and will share his story at Chicago’s 5th National Coming Out of the Shadows Day. 

Screen-shot-2014-01-12-at-10.41.08-PMChicago, IL – Yesterday afternoon, Anibal Fuentes received the news that the Chicago immigration office granted him a 6 month stay of removal, until September 2014.

His first thought was about his son: “I am relieved. I get to celebrate my son’s first birthday.” But he said the temporary stay is bittersweet and leaves him in limbo. “But what happens after that? Will I see him grow up?” Anibal is also still under supervision and required to wear an ankle bracelet.

Anibal Eligio Fuentes-Aguilar  was placed in immigration detention after immigration officials raided his building on the in the north side of Chicago. He has a 6-month old baby, Franky, who is a US citizen. Anibal  has no criminal record, and was only placed into immigration custody due to his first encounter with border patrol over 5 years ago.

Meanwhile, Anibal will continue to organize alongside local groups. This Saturday, he will be one of the people sharing his story at Chicago’s 5th National Coming Out of the Shadows Day.

Along with other Chicago families facing deportation, Anibal will be calling attention to the mass number of deportations taking place under President Obama.

“I wonder if President Obama knows what it feels like to be separated from your family, taken to detention, and not know if you’ll see your children again. He can do something for our families and stop the raids and deportations,” Anibal said.


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