Meet JCUA’s New Board Members

July 9, 2015

JCUA is thrilled to welcome our three newest board members, David Block, David Feinberg and former staffer Irene Lehrer Sandalow. Each new board member has a personal connection to JCUA and has taken a moment below to reflect on how JCUA’s work resonates with their values. A heartfelt welcome to David, David & Irene!


image1An architect and urban planner, David Block has been involved in community development and affordable housing for more than 20 years.  In 2014, David joined VeriGreen Development as its Director of Development.  His first experience with JCUA was more than 20 years ago, when he attended the spring break Urban Mitzvah Corps program with a busload of fellow students from St. Louis. David lives in Evanston with his wife Susan and two young sons and is a member of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation.

“I’m excited about joining the JCUA board because it’s a great organization that operates at the intersection of Jewish spiritual values and practical causes that reflect those values.  I’m looking forward to offering my background in affordable housing and urban planning to the board.”


FeinbergDavid-DCDavid Feinberg is the Regional Director for the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, where he is responsible for underwriting and executing investment opportunities in the Central region. David began his career as an educator, and taught 3rd grade, middle school, and ran an after school program in South Phoenix with Teach For America. He has led social justice service trips for AJWS, and has continued his involvement in educational equity by serving on the Pulaski Elementary School LSC, a Chicago Public School.

“After moving to Chicago in 2012, I quickly realized that JCUA embodied the Jewish value system and inclusive community with which my family and I identify, and that I hope to impart to my children. The Community Ventures Program is a perfect place for me to plug in, make an impact, and put my professional skills and personal passion to use.”


HeadshotIrene Lehrer Sandalow is the Chicago Senior Project Manager of URJ’s B’nai Mitzvah Revolution. Irene is passionate about Jewish social justice and creating spaces for Jews to imagine, design, and experiment with new ways to own and shape the future of Jewish life and tradition. From 2006-2012, Irene worked at JCUA where she educated and mobilized members in local and national social justice campaigns, and served as the director of the JMCBI. Irene and her husband Nathan Sandalow are the proud parents of Eli and Abe, devoted Blackhawks fans.  Her family lives in Lakeview and are active members of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation.

“JCUA has had profound influence on my life and gave me a home to advance social justice in our country. I have been deeply inspired by the leadership of JCUA and it’s an honor and privilege to be part of an organization that is working to address the root causes of injustice and is fearless about challenging the status quo. JCUA does what is right, not what is easy. JCUA is the prophetic Jewish voice of our city and I am looking forward to supporting its mission. As Rabbi Robert J Marx wrote: “I feel that freedom is Judaism, that Passover is not 3,000 years old- that it is today, and that we are part of it.”

 

 


Reflecting on 10 Days of Change: Or Tzedek 2015 Summer Session 1

July 2, 2015

By Deborah Goldberg
JCUA’s Coordinator of Teen Programs

It’s hard to believe that at this time two weeks ago, our first summer 2015 session was just getting under way!  It was an incredible 10 days of activism, advocacy, organizing, and having fun together.  If I could sum up 10 days in 10 numbers, here’s what I would say:

10 amazing teens

9 workshops on social justice concepts and campaigns

8 partner organizations visited

7 hours of prep for two prayer vigils and an advocacy visit with the President of the Illinois Senate

6 amazing staff members

5 states represented

4 jumbo bags of M&Ms consumed

3 views of Chicago (by boat, by car, and from the 37th floor of a downtown office!)

2 Shabbatot

1 incredible Or Tzedek session

There’s no possible way to capture the enthusiasm and passion of our first session teens in words and numbers alone.  From participating in meaningful workshops to advocating to the president of the Illinois State Senate on the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights, from leading a prayer vigil in support of the Trauma Center Campaign to celebrating two Shabbatot together, the teens’ energy, curiosity, and willingness to give 100% of themselves in every workshop and meeting was inspiring.

Check out the photo essay below for more information on our experiences! (Click on any photo below to see a slideshow with comments!)

As our first summer session came to a close on Sunday morning, I shared with the teens that I hope Or Tzedek and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs are always places where they feel at home.  In just 10 short days, we were able to build a community, take action on several campaigns, celebrate Shabbat, and help prepare our teens to take their new skills and passion for social justice home.  We can’t wait to see these teens again at future Or Tzedek and JCUA programs!




‘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 »


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