Jewish-Muslim Bridge Building During Summer 2014

June 2, 2014

The Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI) is a core component of the work of JCUA in building bridges with communities impacted by discrimination. JMCBI began in 2001 in response to the tremendous rise of Islamophobia after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. During the past 14 years JMCBI has created inter-religious dialogues, cultural events and stood in solidarity with both Jews and Muslims against Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. We are excited to share two developments happening over the summer of 2014 that will further the work of Jewish-Muslim bridge building.

Zoë ReinsteinWe welcome Zoë Reinstein to JCUA as the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative summer intern! Zoë is from Highland Park, IL and is no stranger to JCUA. Zoë is a third generation participant in the work of Jewish social justice with JCUA beginning with her grandfather. She is an incoming sophomore at Oberlin College and became activated in interfaith work when she participated in Hands of Peace last summer. During the summer Zoë will be instrumental in helping us grow JMCBI’s activities and making sure the annual Iftar in the Synagogue is a success!

Chicago SinaiThis summer we are thrilled to be working on our 9th annual Iftar in the Synagogue. This is one of the highlights of the year in Chicago for Jewish and Muslim interfaith engagement. The theme for Iftar this year is Rekindle Our Faith, Renew Our Community and we will be focusing on how we can bring a new spirit of justice to our city through the lens of our faith traditions. We are grateful to Chicago Sinai Congregation for hosting the 2014 Iftar in their beautiful synagogue in the heart of downtown. Space is limited this year so please RSVP online to reserve a spot. There is no mandatory cost to attend while a donation is always appreciated which helps cover the cost for the delicious catered kosher and hallal dinner.

Mark your calendar for the Iftar on July 17th at 6:30pm taking place at Chicago Sinai Congregation (15 W. Delaware Pl., Chicago). The synagogue is easily accessible by public transit or you can drive and park at 1 E. Delaware Pl. and bring your ticket to the synagogue to have it validated for discounted parking.

Action Items:

1) RSVP to attend Iftar in the Synagogue

2) Volunteer at Iftar in the Synagogue


Let’s grab coffee! We’re doing 1-to-1s.

May 28, 2014

Have you met our newest staff members? They want to meet you! Ben Greenberg and Daniel Kaplan are meeting with our members and partners. As programs and organizing staff, we want to get to know the people that make up JCUA. We want to hear your thoughts and feelings about the issues you care about, and what you think about JCUA.

Why are we taking time to individually meet with our members? These relationship building meetings are very important to our work. They help us better understand who our constituency is and how we can best advance our work together. Hearing your ideas helps us figure out how we can take on structural racism, inequality, and anti-Semitism in a way that is meaningful and engaging for our base. Meeting with members like you is like tilling the soil as we grow our programming.

20140528_144011

Ben and Daniel laughing it up while learning about each other’s values and insights.

So if you’d like to schedule a 1-to-1 meeting with us, get in touch! Email daniel@jcua.org and we’ll set up a time to grab coffee. It’ll be fun!

Looking forward to speaking with you soon.

 

 

 


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.


A Strong Jewish Voice for Economic Justice

January 22, 2014

443Seventy-five Jewish community members from JCUA, Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS), Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and Moishe House came together for havdallah and economic justice training. Despite the cold weather outside, Moishe House was filled with Jews from different generations raising their voices to address the inequitable distribution of resources.

Rabbi Brant Rosen from JRC led a text study that used Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to  illuminate the racial and economic inequalities currently present in Chicago. We left the evening ready to fight for a more justice city with the “A Better Illinois” campaign. 486

Act Now for Economic Justice!

Click here to learn more about JCUA’s work for a fair and just tax system.  JCUA is a proud member of the “A Better Illinois” campaign, advocating for a fair and just tax structure in Illinois.


Concealed Carry: Art Exhibit and Discussion

January 10, 2014

As of Jan. 1, Illinois became the last state in the U.S. to allow its residents to carry concealed guns on their persons.

In response, the Experimental Station and Moving Design are presenting “Concealed Carry and the Experimental Station,” an art exhibit and public conversations about the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Please join us in taking part in this powerful discussion about the implications of gun legislation on our city.

JCUA will be attending the discussion, led by former Chicago Public Radio host Steve Edwards.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 7-9 p.m.
6100 S. Blackstone Ave. , Chicago

To RSVP, please contact Rebecca Katz or Chris Huff.

» Learn more


(Panel Discussion) Widening the Circle: Theory & Identity in the Praxis of Solidarity

October 31, 2013

Asaf Bar-Tura, JCUA’s Director of Operations, will be speaking at a panel discussion (Thursday, November 14, 2013) convened by the University of Chicago Divinity School and four theological seminaries. The topic will be “Theory and Solidarity.” 

Asaf Bar-Tura

Asaf Bar-Tura

Background:

The University of Chicago Divinity School is collaborating with seminarians from McCormick Theological Seminary, the Catholic Theological Union, the Lutheran School of Theology, and the Chicago Theological Seminary, in organizing the Annual Ministry Conference. This year’s focus: “Widening the Circle: Theory & Identity in the Praxis of Solidarity.”

The Annual Ministry Conference consists of three panel discussions throughout the year, the first of which will take place on Thursday, November 14, 2013 (5:00-7:00pm).

Details:

  • Discussion Topic: “Theory & Solidarity”
  • When: November 14th, 5-7pm
  • Where: McCormick Theological Seminary, Common Room (5460 S University Ave, Chicago)
  • Click here to RSVP

Topic Overview: 

Recognizing that solidarity movements address a wide variety of justice issues, we seek to begin the conversation by hearing about the theoretical perspectives and personal commitments that are at stake in the praxis of solidarity.

Panelists:

  • Asaf Bar-Tura: Director of Operations, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Mikki Kendal: writer and pop culture analyst. Most recently known for her feminist/womanist work related to #solidarityisforwhitewomen.
  • Heath Carter: Associate Professor and historian at Valparaiso University. Particularly interested in issues of economic inequality and how American Christians relate to them.

Discussion Moderator:

  • Rev. Dr. Linda Eastwood: Adjunct Professor and Coordinator of the Colombia Accompaniment Program at McCormick Theological Seminary.

A light dinner will be served. Suggested donation of $5 is welcomed but not required.

Click here to RSVP.

Additional Panel Discussions in this Series:

  • “Identity in Solidarity”: February 6th, 2014 at Chicago Theological Seminary
  • “The Praxis of Solidarity”: May 2, 2014 at the University of Chicago Divinity School

Be part of the Solution to Gun Violence in Chicago

October 16, 2013
Fierce Women of Faith at peace vigil

Fierce Women of Faith at peace vigil

Violence in Chicago is a problem, but we believe that working together, we can reach a solution. But we can’t do it without you.

Knowledge and collaboration is power, so join JCUA and our partners in attending the Fierce Women of Faith Training Symposium on Friday, October 18, 2013.

Details:

  • WHEN: 8:30am-12:00pm, Friday October 18, 2013 (registration opens at 8:00am)
  • WHERE: Chicago Theological Seminary, 1407 E. 60th St (map it!)
  • DIRECTIONS: If you are taking public transportation, CTS is just a five minute walk from the 6 bus. There is also free parking in the lot on the South end of the building as well as street parking near the entrance at the North end.
  • CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Suggested Donation: $20-$30

Young JCUA leaders at vigil with Fierce Women of Faith

Young JCUA leaders at vigil with Fierce Women of Faith

What to expect?

  • Engaging with topics of advocacy, awareness and community building.
  • Learn about addressing violence from a legislative perspective with the Illinois Council on Handgun Violence’s Campaign Director, Mark Walsh and Senator Jacqueline Collins.
  • Recognize vital aspects of community engagement including working with youth and other community partners like hospitals and the CPD.

Find the JCUA group at the event:

At the event look for JCUA staff (particularly Rebecca Katz and organizing intern Beth Filipiak) with our blue JCUA logos during registration.  Rebecca will hold a brief gathering after the symposium to discuss JCUA’s next steps in our anti-violence campaign. She will be holding a JCUA sign to help everyone gather.

Help Stop the Violence:

  • Tell us more about your interest and RSVP here.
  • For more information about Friday, contact Rebecca at rebecca@jcua.org
  • For more information about all of our anti-violence work, contact asaf@jcua.org

[EVENT: July 24] Join JCUA for Lunch and Text Study on “Strangers and Obligations”

July 9, 2013

Leiah Moser, JCUA’s Rabbinical Student Fellow, will be leading a text study, asking how far does obligation to be concerned with the well being of the stranger extends.

WHEN: 12:00-1:00pm, Wednesday, July 24, 2013
WHERE: Spertus Building, 610 S. Michigan, Chicago – Room 314 (3rd floor)
WHO: The event is free and open to the public. All are invited.
*** Bring your own lunch

More About the Text Study:

Emmanuel Levinas

Emmanuel Levinas

A passage in the Babylonian Talmud (Yevamot 78b-79a) discusses the execution of seven of the biblical king Saul’s sons in punishment for their father’s treatment of the Gibeonites, a group of non-Israelites who lived within Israel. This passage was later commented upon by Emmanuel Levinas, a 20th Century Jewish philosopher.

Given that the Torah ordinarily prohibits punishing children for their parents’ misdeeds, what is it about the treatment of strangers in particular that seems to override that principle in this case? What are the consequences of upholding the rights of the stranger so stringently? These are some of the questions we will discuss together.

More About the Facilitator – Leiah Moser:

Leiah Moser

Leiah Moser

Every summer JCUA hosts and trains a rabbinical student fellow in becoming a Jewish social justice leader. Leiah Moser is the 2013 fellow, focusing on JCUA’s teen social justice progeam.

Leiah just finished her second year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. As a rabbi in training, she has a deep interest in finding new ways to build spiritually engaged, inclusive communities of prayer. In addition to blogging about issues of identity and gender diversity within Judaism, she is active in service leading at a number of local congregations, particularly at Dorshei Derech, the Reconstructionist minyan at Germantown Jewish Centre, and has been involved this year in Mitzvah Mensches, a service program for adults with special needs at Mishkan Shalom.

For more information about this event, contact:
Asaf Bar-Tura
Director of Programs
asaf@jcua.org


Youth Story Slam Calls Young Activists to Share Their Stories

June 14, 2013

by Jessica Kim Cohen
JCUA Intern, Communications

On June 25, join young leaders, organizers and activists for the Youth Power Story Slam. Share and listen to people’s stories  about what it means to make a difference as a youth in Chicago. RVSP on Facebook. 

story slam 2013Originally conceived by Rebecca Katz and Miriam Grossman, who will both be staffing Or Tzedek’s summer 2013 sessions, the event is co-sponsored by AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Chicago Repair House, Moishe House Chicago, Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Imagine Englewood If… and Response.

“Working to help promote youth power through stories and media is a passion of mine,” Elie Zwiebel, of AVODAH, said. “As an educator and youth advocate, I think youth are often marginalized in our society and not given the opportunity or trust deserved and earned to play a part in shaping our societal conversations.”

The slam is an opportunity for teens and young people to share empowering and disempowering experiences in the form of stories, spoken word or poetry, creating a safe space for young Chicagoans to explore both their similarities and differences, The theme of the night is stereotypes and their consequences, filled with  as participants will speak about their experiences  as agents and targets of stereotypes based on race, gender, sexuality, religion and socioeconomic status, among other labels.

“I think a great way to fight ignorance is through storytelling,” Joel Spiegel, an Or Tzedek Advanced Activism 2013 participant, explained. “It is always a powerful experience hearing my Latino or Muslim counterparts tell me about their social justice work. It is so inspiring to hear stories, and so empowering.”

The slam’s mission centers on youth empowerment and all Chicagoans of all ages are encouraged to attend. Filled with stories that are inspiring, sad, funny and everything in-between, this will be a thought-provoking experience for all.

Having attended all three previous slams, Gita Karasov is excited to bring the event to the Chicago Repair House. “Our community is mostly in their 20s, so I thought it was especially important and meaningful for these young professionals to see how powerful youth is and to see their energy and passion. It’s nice to have an event that isn’t focused on one specific age group, but rather on working with youth, together,” Gita said.

This free and open event will take place from 7-9 pm at Chicago Repair House, 1615 W. Byron St. Apt. 2F, in Chicago’s Roscoe Village.


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