By Miriam Grossman
Education Coordinator, JCUA
Calling all social justice lovers, Jewish educators, Judaism and Urban Poverty Alumni, middle school teachers, rabbis, educational directors, parents, students, e-learning aficionados and web techies!
JCUA’s Judaism and Urban Poverty Program is expanding. Join us as we grow this groundbreaking program. We need your ideas, your expertise, and your passion for bringing innovative social justice education into Hebrew Schools and making our tradition come alive.
What is JUP?
For nearly 25 years, the Judaism and Urban Poverty (JUP) curriculum has challenged Jewish middle school students to think about the causes and potential responses to poverty, and specifically Jewish approaches to alleviating poverty. The seven-week program combines creative activities with the study of Jewish texts and volunteer opportunities. Each year, JUP reaches 300 to 500 students in synagogues throughout Chicagoland.
Why teach Hebrew School students about privilege, oppression and poverty?
Every time I enter a Hebrew School classroom working with the JUP curriculum I am reminded that the lifeblood of Jewish study is teaching students to grasp the urgency of human dignity and to ask questions.
Examining the root causes of systemic poverty fosters these same qualities. Studying these challenging issues through the lens of Jewish values makes the discussion feel safer and the tradition more relevant and accessible. When students understand that their community and their ancestors cared about social justice they feel empowered and capable of action today.
Ask a handful of Jewish youth what they love about being Jewish and they’ll likely tell you that it’s camp, youth group or just being with friends. Non-traditional learning reaches youth at their core with games, and discussion.
Our JUP Curriculum Task Force is revamping the curriculum to include even more activities that get students out of their chairs and exploring new ideas. We also plan to take advantage of innovative e-learning tools and student blogs.
For over two decades JUP has reached thousands of Hebrew School students in the greater Chicago area. We want to expand nationally, bringing social justice Jewish education to communities around the country.
How can I help?
Alumni: If you or your child has taken the JUP course in the past let us know how it affected you.
Educators, E-learning pros, techies and JUP supporters: Join us! To share ideas, to become a supporter of JUP, or to join the conversation contact me via email.
Please include your name, email address, name of your congregation and all the feedback you can offer.