Update: Two Years After Raid, Postville Hopes for a New Beginning

May 12, 2010

A complete update of where things stand in the small Iowa town where a large kosher meat packing facility is located

By Tom Walsh, Director of Advocacy, JCUA
And Jonathan Lehrer, Director of Communications, JCUA

Welcome to Postville

Welcome to Postville: Hometown to the World

May 12, 2010–On the second anniversary of the immigration raid that forever changed their town, leaders of a small Northeastern Iowa community are hoping the worst is behind them and that a new beginning is on the horizon.

With the help of allies from numerous faith and community backgrounds – from within Iowa and across the country – the town of Postville continues to recover from an unjust and unthinkable raid on their community by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the ensuing bankruptcy of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant that brought ICE to town.

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JCUA and Other Jewish Leaders at Forefront of Protest Against Arizona’s “National Disgrace”

May 12, 2010
Protesters arrested at federal immigration detention center

Protesters arrested at federal immigration detention center

Vigil and civil disobedience at Broadview Detention Center. Top: More than 300 protesters gather at a prayer vigil Monday evening, April 26. JCUA’s familiar blue-and-white signs (“Social Justice: If Not Now, When?”) are prominent. Bottom: Protesters occupy the street in front of the detention center, facing a van carrying deportees (not seen in photo) as the news media and Broadview police watch. Bottom right: JCUA’s Jane Ramsey and Rabbi Joshua Salter are among the 24 protesters who were arrested. 

Arrested: A Message from Jane Ramsey

Dear Friends: 

Monday evening (April 26) and Tuesday morning (April 27), JCUA members, members of our Board of Directors, and staff joined more than 300 others from diverse communities in a vigil at the Broadview Detention Center protesting the alarmingly large increase in the numbers of people being deported from our country at the same time that the Obama administration and others acknowledge that the immigration system is broken. 

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Abuses at Postville’s Agriprocessors Bring Ethical Component to Kosher Certification

May 12, 2010

GUEST COLUMNIST

By Allan Kensky
Rabbi, Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, Wilmette, Ill.

Rabbi Allan Kensky

Rabbi Allan Kensky

This article is adapted from a sermon given by Rabbi Kensky for Shabbat Shemini 5770 (April 10, 2010)

Over the past two years, important developments have taken place in the area of kashrut, and this Shabbat Shemini, which establishes the basis in the Torah for the dietary laws, is an appropriate time to talk about these developments.

It might seem difficult to believe that a major religious movement in American Jewry would have its origin in a walkout that occurred at a dinner, but that is precisely the moment at which historians pinpoint the beginning of the Conservative movement.

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Calls for Action on Foreclosure Bring Shouts of “Amen”

May 12, 2010

By Rebecca Van Horn, Community Initiatives Organizer, JCUA

A chorus of amens filled a Rogers Park (Chicago) church this spring as speakers called for action to deal with the high rate of residential foreclosure.

On a Sunday in April (2010), more than 300 people filled Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, eager to learn how to reduce the impact of foreclosures that are affecting the Chicago area.

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POAH/Grove Parc Apartments Construction Update: Demolition for Phase I Begins

May 12, 2010

Woodlawn development takes first steps toward neighborhood revitalization, thanks to JCUA and POAH

By Judy Levey, Community Development Manager, JCUA

Construction is set to begin this month on the Grove Parc Apartments, eventually to be the site of more than 500 units of affordable housing. JCUA has played a role in this project, assisting Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a Boston-based non-profit organization whose mission is to purchase large, multi-family properties and refinance them for long-term affordability.

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Or Tzedek: Space Still Available in JCUA’s Teen Summer Program

May 12, 2010

The Or Tzedek Teen Social Justice Summer 2010 season is just around the corner. This year’s participants are an amazing group of teens from across North America (and even someone from Germany!) from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. What everyone shares in common is a desire to create a fun, inspiring and safe environment to explore their Jewish and social justice identities.

Program highlights include:

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“Unveiled”: Jews and Muslims Share Views on a One-Woman Play

May 12, 2010

Article and Video by
Katherine Randall, JCUA Communications Intern (Columbia College)

Racism, hate crimes, customs and religion were among some of the topics brought up March 7, 2010 as hundreds of people gathered at Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston to watch excerpts of the one-woman play, “Unveiled.”

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Chicago Gets a “D” in DGAP/JCUA Report Card

May 12, 2010

Video Produced by Katherine Randall, JCUA Communications Intern (Columbia College)

On the type of report card that no parent ever would want to see, the city of Chicago gets an overall grade of D for government accountability. The report card — with one B, five D grades and one F — is the result of an extensive evaluation from DGAP — Developing Government Accountability to the People.

In addition to the report card that evaluates the city and its political leaders, DGAP (pronounced as D-gap) includes an interactive Web site (http://chicagodgap.org/) and a series of recommendations. It is a joint project that involved the participation of numerous Chicago community groups and residents. The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) is the convener of the project.


Freedom and Justice Seder Entertains and Inspires

March 12, 2010

Every year, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs holds a Freedom and Justice Seder to both celebrate Passover and raise awareness of pressing social justice issues. The 2010 Freedom and Justice Seder brought housing, healthcare, worker justice and immigration issues to the forefront of the discussion.

This year’s seder was co-sponsored with Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Congregation on Chicago’s South Side. You have never attended a Passover seder quite like this!

(Video produced by Katherine Randall.)


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