Meet JCUA’s 2016 Summer Interns

June 16, 2016

By Andie Linker
JCUA Intern

JCUA has 3 dynamic individuals joining our team for the summer! Keep on reading to get to know them a little better.


Ethan Ramsay

Ethan hails from Oak Park, Illinois and currently attends Carleton College, where he studies history. He is passionate about theater and recently directed a play entitled “My Kind of Town” which was about police brutality in Chicago. His favorite family tradition from growing up was observing the Iranian-Jewish Passover tradition of hitting people with green onions during the Seder, which serves as reminder of the pain inflicted upon the Jewish people. Ethan connects to Judaism through the lens of social justice, and is excited to work at JCUA because he believes that Judaism is all about taking action and he is passionate about giving marginalized people a voice.


Tali Shapiro

Tali is from Highland Park, Illinois and studies at Vassar College. Last year, she took a gap year all throughout Central America, which she looks back upon fondly. Tali loves to sing, and is a member of an all Disney a cappella group at school. Her favorite Jewish holiday growing up was always Hanukkah because she loves lighting candles and eating Latkes. Tali is excited to work at JCUA because she loves surrounding herself with like-minded, progressive Jews. She wants to explore her own Jewish identity through working with social justice and Judaism.


Andie Linker

Andie is from Chicago, Illinois and is a journalism student at Northwestern University. She loves to bake, and is very involved with Northwestern’s chapter of Challah for Hunger, where they bake and sell challah weekly and donate the proceeds to Jewish foundations. Andie’s favorite tradition growing up was spending most every Friday night dinner with her family and observing their own version of Shabbat. Andie is excited to work at JCUA because she has grown up hearing about and living among the problems that face Chicago everyday, but often did not know what she could do about it. She loves that JCUA is able to blend action with Judaism, an identity she holds very close.   

We Must Stand Together

March 29, 2016

headshotBy Michael Goldberg
JCUA Member

A few weeks ago, I joined members of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Downtown Islamic Center in a joint community service event at the DIC.

When I arrived I met a group of lively volunteers. Together we worked in an assembly line to prepare peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches. We packed them into lunch bags with salads and oranges before setting out across downtown Chicago to offer the lunches to people experiencing homelessness.

I was glad to be working alongside people from different backgrounds on a pic 2common goal of service to our sisters and brothers facing hunger and homelessness.

Both Judaism and Islam stress the importance and the necessity of feeding the hungry and helping the homeless. Both traditions emphasize social justice for the suffering, the downtrodden and the powerless. In the Jewish tradition, to perform acts of social justice is to do God’s will, and we are all called on to act on behalf of God in this world.

Service to our fellow human beings can be a vehicle for bringing us together. When we do service together we grow in understanding with one another, deepen our sense of fellowship, and inspire hope in ourselves and others.

As two new friends and I were walking down the street and offering lunches to those in need, an onlooker thanked us for what we were doing. I could tell that we had inspired some hope in him.

pic 1Now more than ever it is crucial for Jews and Muslims to come together in the name of love, unity, and understanding. We must stand together against all forms of hatred, bigotry, and division.

Amid divisive rhetoric we have an opportunity to show our strength in unity.

We are commanded: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). As Jews we know what it feels like to be ostracized and scapegoated, and we must do everything within our power to foster unity and to not allow the heinous crimes of history that we will never forget be repeated on our neighbors.

We are children of Abraham. We can and we must come together in the spirit of love, understanding, peace and justice.

Please join JCUA for their annual social justice Seder: “The 11th Plague – Standing Against Islamophobia” on Monday, April 11 at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston. This is a great opportunity for people to come together and learn about ways we can work together to stand against hate. Click here to register:

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