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!)
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!