November 4, 2014
Joel Spiegel listed in the Guide to Jewish Chicago
He’s attended courtroom deportation hearings, participated in vigils for immigrant rights, been named Youth of the Year at his synagogue, successfully run for precinct committeeman in his town, worked to help Democrats win congressional seats.
And he’s only 18 years old.
Joel Spiegel, a recent graduate of Stevenson High School in Buffalo Grove, says he has been interested in social justice advocacy for as long as he can remember but never had an outlet for his passion.
That changed in 2012 when Rebecca Katz of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs came to speak at Spiegel’s synagogue, Congregation Beth Judea in Long Grove, about Or Tzedek, JCUA’s summer teen activism program.
“With everything she was saying, I was nodding my head,” the well-spoken and enthusiastic Spiegel says.
Joel was listed as one of 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year in the Guide to Jewish Chicago, published recently by Chicago Jewish News.
» Read the complete profile of Joel, written by Pauline Yearwood
August 7, 2014
By Zoe Reinstein
JCUA Summer Intern
Zoe Reinstein, summer intern. Learn more about JCUA’s internship program here.
Let’s be clear. Waking up at 7 am during your summer vacation is annoying. That is, unless you’re interning for JCUA. The first day, I begrudgingly and half-asleep showed up for work at the office of this 50-year-old social justice organization. It took very little time at all to realize how incredible this experience was going to be when I picked up the phone, and it was the governor’s office calling JCUA.
During my time here, I had the pleasure of helping with logistics for the “Acts of Change” 50th anniversary gala and planning “Iftar in the Synagogue.” I helped to organize a JCUA delegation to an interfaith vigil hosted by the Chicago Religious Leadership Network vigil for the families of deportees at the Broadview Detention Center, followed by a meaningful interfaith discussion over coffee.
These experiences have taught me that there is nothing more exhilarating than feeling like you are actually making a difference because of your Jewish identity, which would have been impossible anywhere other than JCUA. I have seen how much effort goes in to making change, but that it is equally as worth it as it is difficult.
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July 28, 2014
JCUA’s budding membership program is only the first step in a much larger process of effectively and actively engaging in social justice from a Jewish perspective. In fact, it is a part of a larger organizing model that ends with JCUA members leading vibrant, unique campaigns that address the root causes of racism and poverty in Illinois.
Click here to read more about JCUA’s organizing process
The first step is getting to know our members’ passions and invest in them as leaders. That’s the step we’re engaged in currently. This stage is centered around meetings with individual members and regular, larger-scale member meetings. Our next meeting is coming up on Thursday, Aug. 7. Through these get-togethers, we’re learning what issues motivate the JCUA community. We’re also growing the capacity of individuals to lead and implement future campaigns.
Sign up here to be a part of the upcoming meeting!
As we invigorate JCUA’s base, our campaign work will become increasingly strong and more effective. At our last meeting, we shared an outline of questions JCUA asks when shaping actions around a specific issue. Among other things, we assess whether our involvement stems from the needs of a community directly impacted by the issue and whether the action addresses root causes. We also ask what we as JCUA can best contribute and how the potential campaign will inspire our Jewish community to take action.
Finally, as we commit to campaigns, JCUA continues to hold our core values closely. We ask ourselves how our continued work remains inclusive of individuals and communities directly impacted by the issue, how our work strengthens relationships between communities, individuals and organizations involved, and whether our campaign has a clear, time-bound goal.
For more information:
March 4, 2014
Daniel Kaplan, community organizer for the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Daniel Kaplan grew up in Chicago with a passion for tzedek and social justice.
That would be just about the perfect combination for a position at JCUA. He began his new career with us this week as a community organizer.
“I’m thrilled to be working with an organization as venerable as JCUA. It’s an honor to join the staff at JCUA’s 50th anniversary,” says Daniel. “I’m looking forward to this exciting opportunity as we recommit to advancing a just vision for the city of Chicago.”
Daniel graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. with a BA in Race and Ethnic Studies, concentrating on Postcolonial Studies and the Middle East. He returned to Chicago to live in a Moishe House and help build a young Jewish community rooted in social justice. Since then, he has become an active member of Mishkan Chicago, and organizes with Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools.
“During my time in Chicago I’ve seen JCUA organize strategically, build valuable relationships, and take risks in the name of social justice,” Daniel says. “From civil disobedience in the name of immigration reform to mobilizing the Jewish community around A Better Illinois to standing with Muslim community organizations against Islamophobia, JCUA is advancing a pluralistic and universal definition of tzedek that shapes my values and approach to organizing.”
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January 30, 2014
Be a Part of JCUA’s Next 50
From Judy Levey, Executive Director
Before this frozen January concludes, we want to thank you for making 2013 a resounding success. Your generosity allowed JCUA to enter 2014 with strong footing and an expanding road map for building our momentum.
Whether you are interested in immigration reform, responding to gun violence, a fair state tax structure, community investment, or building bridges with communities that face poverty and racism, JCUA is creating spaces for you to get involved, develop leadership skills, and get to know your city.
Rabbi Ben Greenberg Joins JCUA Staff
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