‘Just’ Eat at the JCUA Family Supper Table

May 14, 2015

By Adam Sawyer
‘Just’ Eat Event Committee Member

Greetings friends!  My name is Adam Sawyer, and I was asked to join the host committee for JCUA’s ‘Just’ Eat annual fundraiser by my fiancé and JCUA’s communications manager, Hannah Wolod.  Being deeply infatuated with this woman, I couldn’t say no.  So here I am, absolutely thrilled to be helping out with an event that she cares about, but that also speaks to the heart of what it means to me to be a family.

Growing up in a one-horse town in the middle of Central Illinois, we didn’t have a family meal nearly enough.  My father was an iron foundry worker who changed his shift more times than I could count during my childhood.  Couple this with the fact that myself, my brother, and my sister were always busy with after-school stuff, the regular family dinner was somewhat of a rarity.  This wasn’t due to a lack of trying from my mother though.  If and when there was a time when we were all together in the house during “Supper” time, we were eating together as a family, dammit! I urge YOU to join JCUA on June 15 at their supper table, ‘Just’ Eat.

Evite Just Eat Heading DraftWhy should you come? Because for me, it was these semi-rare suppers that helped create the man I am today.  While they may not have been high in quantity, they were loaded with quality content.  Some of my first political, social, and spiritual belief systems were developed around that table.  It was at this table, eating Hamburger Helper, where I first truly understood what it meant to be part of the lower-middle class.  It was at this table where I realized how important education equality, access to health care, and stamping out other social injustices was. So join JCUA at their supper table, ‘Just’ Eat, and help them continue to influence beliefs in Chicago like my table shaped me.

JCUA is a family, bound together by a belief structure that as a community, we can make Chicago, the greatest city in the world, a beacon in a country ripped apart by racial, social, and socioeconomic injustice.  That, and I promise you, the food will be way better than the Hamburger Helper I’m used to!

P.S. Did I mention that the company I work for, Genuine Scooters, is also proudly participating in this event. Enter the ‘Just’ Raffle for your chance to win any of several super awesome prizes. The grand prize scooter package comes with a brand new Buddy ‘Brit” Scooter! Ride away in style. Buy raffle tickets now!

buddy50_brit



Why You Should ‘Just’ Eat on June 15

May 6, 2015

Max-WolodBy Max Wolod
‘Just’ Eat Event Committee Member and Guest Blogger

My name is Max Wolod and I am thrilled to be a small part of the planning committee for JCUA’s “Just Eat” event on June 15th. My sister Hannah is a JCUA employee and an all-around awesome person, and when she asked me a few months ago if I would like to be a part of said committee, I was leaning away from participating. Work for free? FEH!

Hannah approached me because of my professional background in bars and restaurants. If I’m being honest, and what better place than an online bio that will be read by maybe 3 people for honestly, she hoped to work me for my “cool people” industry contacts. BUT, when I learned more about JCUA and about the ‘Just’ Eat event itself, I made up my mind and decided to do what I could to help out.

It ended up being an easy choice. JCUA is a group of wholly devoted and soulful and interesting and altruistic people, doing incredibly important work with limited means, advocating for the RIGHT causes, helping make Chicago, the city I love and YOU love, a just place for all its people…my association with them, limited though it may be, has made me feel good. REALLY good. I don’t know about you, but the majority of my pursuits could hardly be considered worthwhile. So the opportunity to do something empirically good and soul-nourishing with food, easily the most important thing in both my personal and professional life…I’m a lucky guy. Read the rest of this entry »


Emily Chaleff: Opening My Eyes

March 3, 2015

On a Just Path Logo

Editor’s Note: “On a Just Path” is a series of stories about former JCUA employees, where they are now and the impact JCUA had on them. Interviews were conducted and edited by Nathaniel Seeskin, AVODAH Organizing Fellow at JCUA.

Emily Chaleff

 

Q. Tell us about your time at JCUA.

A. I worked at JCUA from 1998-2000 and I was the Director of the Associate Division.

Q. What was special about working here?

A. There was so much that was so special – working at JCUA confirmed my commitment to working in the Jewish community, and it opened my eyes to the effects and complexities of poverty, bigotry and racism in Chicago and elsewhere.  I have so many memories – There are two that stand out the most:

I was planning a program with the leadership council at Cabrini-Green, I believe it was a financial education course.  We planned the course for a Sunday afternoon. I took a taxi from my apartment in Lakeview and the taxi driver didn’t want to take me to Cabrini.  He told me it wasn’t safe for me, and once I did convince him to drive me there, he wouldn’t leave until I found the individuals I was working with.  It raised so many questions for me – this was the home to so many Chicagoans, and yet the cab driver, however well-intentioned, did not believe it was okay for me to go there in the middle of the day on a Sunday – why is it okay for some people to live in certain conditions, and not others?  I learned so much about the meaning of community from the people we worked with and for in public housing.  Up until then, the buildings around Chicago were these foreboding, almost mythological edifices, but when you actually knew residents, worked with them, one quickly realized that the depths of the community bonds were intense, and that when those buildings came down, important communities were separated from each other.  It was so apparent, and heartbreaking, to learn in real time how some communities “matter”, and others are taken for granted, or not valued at all.  I was proud that a Jewish organization was working and advocating with this community to say “it matters”. Read the rest of this entry »


Rabbi David Russo and JCUA Member Stacey Flint Testify on Behalf of Workers’ Rights

February 20, 2015

Last week, the Cook County board voted overwhelmingly to pass one of the nation’s toughest wage theft laws. JCUA leaders provided testimony in support of the legislation. These statements by Stacey Flint and Rabbi David Russo reinforce the importance of workers rights in Jewish values and in the Jewish community.


‘We Are All Responsible.’

Testimony by Rabbi David Russo, Anshe Emet Synagogue

Every week, Jews around the world read from the Torah. And in this coming week [Feb. 9-13], we will all read a particular verse from the Book of Exodus (22:21-22):

Rabbi David Russo

Rabbi David Russo

כָּל־אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם לֹא תְעַנּוּן

You shall not afflict any widow, or orphaned child.

אִם־עַנֵּה תְעַנֶּה אֹתוֹ

If you afflict them in any way,

כִּי אִם־צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי

If they cry to me,

שָׁמֹעַ אֶשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתוֹ

I God will surely hear their cry.

Rabbinic tradition asserts that the Bible is identifying afflictions not only of a specific group of people, i.e. widows or orphans, but any teshushei koach, anyone who is weak, who is vulnerable (Rashi).

And Jewish tradition emphasizes that God will not only bring consequences upon the people inflicting the damage – but that if people are aware of the injustice, and they do nothing, then the punishment is upon the entire community (Ibn Ezra).

We all are responsible. Read the rest of this entry »


JCUA Inducted into the Trauma Center Coalition

January 29, 2015
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Randi Stern – JCUA Member

By Randi Stern

JCUA Member and Guest Blogger

At the end of last year, JCUA members chose to organize around two social justice campaigns. One of the campaigns we chose was organizing for a trauma center at the University of Chicago. Last week, the Trauma Center Coalition reciprocated by formally voting in JCUA as its newest member. It was a moment of pride and excitement for me to be present as community, student and medical organizations invited us to organize with them. The Coalition inducted JCUA because we demonstrated that we can meet their organizing expectations. It’s a major marker in JCUA’s development as a relevant and important player in Chicago’s organizing world.

► Join JCUA members for an Interfaith Vigil for a Trauma Center, Thursday, Feb. 12 from 6:30-7 pm outside the Duchossois Center on the U of C Campus. More info and RSVP.

The goal of the trauma center campaign is to organize for the University of Chicago Medical Center to commit to opening an adult Level I or II trauma center. There is currently a “trauma center desert” on the south side of Chicago. Someone with a gunshot wound or other serious injury on the city’s south side has to travel over five miles to get treatment, greatly diminishing their likelihood of survival. In an area that needs nearby trauma care more than any other part of the city, it is a travesty that none exists.

JCUA Member joined the Trauma Center Coalition in September 2014 to "Sing for a Trauma Center."

JCUA members joined the Trauma Center Coalition in September 2014 to “Sing for a Trauma Center.”

The trauma center campaign reflects JCUA’s mission: to combat social and economic injustice in partnership with Chicago’s diverse communities. The areas affected most by the trauma center desert are predominately working class communities of color. A diverse coalition organized this campaign, and it is led by community groups who have personally felt the effects of living in a trauma center desert.

Read the rest of this entry »


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