The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is working to transform Chicago into a city free of poverty, racism and antisemitism, by mobilizing the Jewish community to be a powerful voice for economic and racial justice. For 55 years, we have worked in partnership with diverse coalitions and directly impacted communities to address the root causes of disparity and advocate for concrete improvements in people’s lives. With a growing membership of nearly 2,000 Jews across Chicagoland, we bring a committed base to three main program areas: issue-based campaigns, youth engagement and community investment. JCUA is the only Jewish organization based in Chicago using a community organizing model to advance systemic change on domestic issues with a local focus.
We hope you join us.

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JCUA is currently active on three major issue campaigns:

police accountability

We’re pushing for civilian oversight and accountability measures for the Chicago Police Department. We’re active in the coalitions to pass the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) ordinance and the recommendations from the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability (CPCA).

immigration justice

We’re standing with immigrants who face dire threats from the federal administration by supporting policies that make Chicago a welcoming place for everyone. We’re active in the coalition working to remove the carve-outs in the Welcoming City Ordinance and working to end the use of the city’s Gang Database.

Progressive tax POLICY

Over the next year, we’re working to ensure that the Fair Tax 2020 referendum for Illinois passes on Election Day, which will create a graduated state income tax and generate much-needed revenue for public goods and services.

Upcoming Events

JCUA Fair Tax Phone Bank @ Zoom
Oct 21 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
JCUA Immigration Committee Meeting @ Zoom
Oct 22 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Join us on Thursday, October 22 at 6:00 pm for our ~monthly Immigration Committee meeting on Zoom. We will have an orientation for new committee members at 5:40 pm.

Get out the Vote (GOTV) for Fair Tax!
Oct 24 – Nov 3 all-day

Join JCUA and the Vote YES for Fair Tax Coalition as we do the crucial work of getting out the Vote during the 10 days leading up to Election Day. We will be phone banking each day and also coordinating passing Fair Tax palm cards at early voting sites throughout the city. Here is our schedule:

  • Saturday, October 24th: Passing palm cards at early voting sites**
  • Sunday, October 25th: Phone Banks: 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm & Passing palm cards
  • Monday, October 26th-Thursday, October 29th: Phone Banks at 5:30pm
  • Saturday, October 31st: Passing palm cards at early voting sites**
  • Sunday, November 1st: Phone Banks: 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm & Passing palm cards
  • Monday, November 2nd: Phone Banks: 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm & Passing palm cards
  • Election Day (Tuesday, November 3rd): 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm

You can sign-up for a shift here. Please email Emma ( with any questions and to recieve materials for handing out at early polling lcoations.

**If within your Shabbat practice

Kol Or Ruach Election Havdalah
Nov 7 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

The general election of 2020 has blown us into political history. Violence and COVID-19 have taken the breath from thousands. With unique intersections into other communities across America and the world, Jews of Color are the wind of resistance to status quo. If you identify as a Jew of Color, please join us as we process the past, honor the moment and prepare for the future. Join our Zoom call.

Recent Posts

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    Hope Werstler is participating in the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ Or Tzedek organizing internship for teens in Chicagoland. The program aims to empower young Jewish leaders with the skills, knowledge and inspiration needed to pursue social change through a Jewish lens. Learn about Hope's experiences …

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  • January 3, 2020 05/29/15 “I feel like it reaches the core of my being.”

    Curious about what it's like to be a JCUA member? According to one of our core members Mike Frankenstein, it's pretty special. "The people I work with energize me and excite me and help me feel my Jewish responsibility. It is unique. I feel like it …

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JCUA’s mission is to strive for justice and equity in our city, country and across the world. In order to align our food choices with these essential values, we adopt DefaultVeg as our food practice for all meetings and events hosted by JCUA, to shift our purchasing practices away from factory farming — a root cause of social injustice for humans, animals, and the environment.