From Membership to Leadership: Equipping Our Members With Tools for Organizing

August 11, 2014
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Members write down their thoughts about social justice in an ice-breaker activity.

On Thursday, JCUA convened our second member meeting. Following our first meeting in June, the intention of this meeting was to teach skills and frameworks essential for effective organizing.

By equipping our members with some of the same training and tools used by professional organizers, we aim to empower our lay leaders to advance our organizing work with greater efficacy and impact. We hosted our meeting at Yusho, a trendy Japanese restaurant in Logan Square.

Unlike our last meeting, JCUA staff took a back seat and allowed members to conduct the majority of the meeting. JCUA member Stacey Aviva Flint managed the agenda for the evening, allowing all attendees to review and approve of the agenda. Member Shannon Cochran then led a workshop on leadership development. Shannon presented a model of leadership development that relies on building organizational power by rotating leadership positions and allowing opportunities for growth among as many members as possible.

Unlike leadership models that house knowledge and power in the hands of a few, we are offering our members to take the reins as much as possible. Rather than rely on a “head,” “brain,” or “heart” of a committee or task force, we are operating under the premise that we are all stem cells with the ability to assume the responsibilities of leadership.

JCUA’s leadership model is rooted in our own Jewish heritage. A text study – organized by Rabbi Ben Greenberg – demonstrated how leadership models shifted in Judaism after the destruction of the second temple. As Judaism’s leadership moved away from priests and towards rabbis, more people gained access to Jewish knowledge, empowerment, and connection with God.  We are inspired by our tradition to advance leadership in a way that brings more people into the fold. Read the rest of this entry »



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.

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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


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