JCUA Launches the Community Ventures, LLC

August 5, 2010

By Judy Levey
Community Development Manager, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

Community Ventures, LLC

Community Ventures, LLC

JCUA is proud to formally announce the Community Ventures, LLC, established in 2010, to streamline and revitalize JCUA’s longstanding Community Ventures Program (CVP).

The CVP has a long history of providing pre-development loans and technical assistance to community organizations that are seeking to develop and preserve low-income housing in their communities. Since 1991, we have partnered with dozens of organizations and have invested more than $4 million in zero percent interest loans, helping to create and preserve more than 3,000 units of affordable housing.

Loans are used for site acquisition, architectural fees, assessment and related expenses, providing hard-to-access early funding to help initiate important projects across the Chicago metropolitan area. Although housing prices have declined recently, rent payments remain out of reach for many Chicagoans, particularly those that have lost employment, experienced set-backs or salary reductions. Approximately half of all renters pay 30 percent of their income or more for rent, leaving fewer dollars for other basic necessities.

Herb Heyman and Howard LandauCommunity Ventures was started in 1991 by late board members Herbert Heyman and Howard Landau, who saw this program as a way to demonstrate their deep commitment to helping create opportunities for people in Chicago’s underserved communities.

This revitalized program allows JCUA to raise funds in advance of loan applications, thereby creating a pool of funds from which several projects can be funded. Herb and Howard were stalwart, long-time champions of CVP and the LLC is dedicated to their memory.

JCUA’s rich history of involvement in community development and affordable housing complements this program. Beyond lending funds, staff and lay leaders continue to provide technical assistance and access to expertise for emerging non-profits that are seeking to implement innovative and meaningful community-based projects. Currently, Community Ventures has loans with Bickerdike’s Zapata Homes and Preservation of Affordable Housing’s Woodlawn Park projects.

Please contact me, Judy Levey, at (630) 663-0960 ext. 113, Community Development Manager, for information on getting involved with the Community Ventures, LLC.


Chicago Racial Equality Forum, Facilitated by Krishanti Dharmaraj, Examines CERD and Chicago

June 10, 2010

Racial Equity Forum

By Steven Blumenthal
Communications Dept., Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

Imagine a city where every child is afforded equal access to quality public education and any person can visit a healthcare clinic with the best doctors the city can find. A Chicago of such bliss may seem unattainable, but the attendees of the Chicago Racial Equality Forum spent two days, June 8 and 9, envisioning that Windy City.

The Chicago Racial Equality Forum was sponsored by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII) and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights.

Krishanti Dharmaraj

Krishanti Dharmaraj

The event was held at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies with Krishanti Dharmaraj, a human rights activist from San Francisco, as facilitator. Dharmaraj is an impassioned and wonderful speaker with a breadth of knowledge that was enlightening to all in attendance.

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Tom Walsh, Sidney Hollander Arrested at Immigration Rally

May 25, 2010

JCUA’s director of public policy and advocacy, Tom Walsh, and Sidney Hollander, a JCUA board member, were arrested during an immigration rally outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Chicago on May 25.

The civil disobedience action took place as JCUA joined with unions and immigrant rights groups from across the city at a rally and press conference at Chicago’s Federal Plaza. They were voicing their strong opposition to Arizona’s newly signed immigration law, known as SB1070.

Following the press conference there was a march to the ICE building where Walsh and Hollander were among 32 individuals arrested for refusing to disperse from federal property.


JCUA Recognizes Nadiv Fellowship Graduates

May 25, 2010
2010-2011 Nadiv Graduates

Hildie Cohen (from left), program coordinator; Ray Grossman, instructor; Shana Rubenstein, Jacob Adler, Sarah Miles, Mara Brotman.

Mazel Tov to the 2010-2011 Nadiv Fellows! The fifth graduating class of Nadiv Social Justice Teaching Fellows were honored at a culmination celebration held at Temple Sholom in Chicago on May 24.

The Nadiv Fellow graduates are Jacob Adler, Mara Botman, Sarah Miles and Shana Rubenstein.

The Fellows were responsible for educating over three-hundred students this year and also dedicated time and effort to providing suggestions for updating the JUP curriculum. The Fellows are engaged in a wide variety of activities that meld Judaism and social justice. We offer them congratulations on their accomplishments with JUP and beyond and wish them yasher koach in fulfilling this great mitzvah teaching young Jewish students how they can help create a more just world.

Nadiv offers a select group of emerging Jewish social justice leaders (ages 21-30) the opportunity to learn about Judaism and social justice while also inspiring the next generation of Jewish students to develop their own social justice commitments.

Nadiv fellows participate in semiannual retreats and monthly Judaism and social justice study sessions taught by some of the leading rabbis and teachers in Chicagoland. Nadiv fellows then teach two “rounds” of JCUA’s seven-week-long Judaism and Urban Poverty (JUP) curriculum to middle school students in local religious schools.

One of the graduating students, Shana Rubenstein, shares her experience:

When I look back over the past year on my experience as a Nadiv Fellow, one instance that resonated and seemed to frame the subsequent year was our discussion with Rabbi Shoshana Conover, from Temple Sholom.

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