Or Tzedek — JCUA’s Teen Social Justice Institute — has completed another action-packed summer of Jewish teen activism.
Through this year’s summer program, 39 teens have gained tools to be true Jewish social justice leaders. Participants came from across the country, including Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland, California and from the greater Chicago area. Here are some of the highlights…
ADVANCED ACTIVISM PROGRAM
Advanced Activism is for returning Or Tzedek participants. Building on experiences from their first summer with us, participants spend a week interning with one of our grassroots partner organizations. This summer our Advanced Activists interned with:
- South Austin Coalition Community Council (SACCC), where they worked on the housing challenges facing the neighborhood.
- UNITE HERE, where they supported the rights of workers and garnered support from the Jewish community
- Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), where they worked on a campaign to create affordable housing in the Humboldt Park community.
During this packed week, the Advanced Activists also met with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), immigration attorney Kalman Resnick, community organizers and more.
At an interfaith youth poetry slam, Or Tzedek Director Rebecca Katz told the participants:
“Hearing everyone’s journeys and passion for social justice was a transformative moment. To borrow a phrase from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, it took a lot of ‘spiritual audacity’ and bravery. By sharing a part of yourselves, you created a space and a community where activism can thrive.”
ACTIVISM AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING PROGRAM
Participants who came to Or Tzedek for the first time had an intense and rewarding experience. Their activities are too numerous to count, but here’s a taste:
Workshops with seasoned activists and Jewish educators * partnering with students from Chicago’s southwest side who shared their activism on public education issues * Learning about food justice through Jewish urban gardening * Supporting low-wage workers * Learning first-hand about homelessness and displacement through meeting with public housing residents * Participating in an interfaith vigil in front of an immigrant detention center and meeting with undocumented youth * Meeting with Muslim civil rights activists * And the list goes on…
We are very proud of the Or Tzedek activists and look forward to their continued involvement year-round.