The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) advances racial and economic justice by bringing together the Chicagoland Jewish community as a powerful force for change. Since 1964, we have worked to transform our region into a place free of racism, poverty, and antisemitism, where everyone is safe, protected, and has the opportunity to thrive.
JCUA mobilizes a multiracial, intergenerational, and pluralistic Jewish community to take action on the most critical issues facing our city and state. We build relationships of solidarity with diverse communities and organizations, working together on campaigns to reform or dismantle oppressive systems and build a society rooted in equity and justice.
Our work centers Jewish values, traditions, and history. Taking inspiration from ancient Jewish teachings — such as Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof: “Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue,” — and learning from Jewish experiences with marginalization, displacement, and violence, we work to ensure equal treatment and protection for all people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, immigration status, ability, and more. We believe that the Jewish community’s safety and our fight against antisemitism are deeply connected to the safety of non-Jewish communities and the fight against all forms of racism and oppression.
We pursue our work through a dynamic mix of methods and strategies, including community organizing, leadership development, community development, advocacy, and more. We address issues like police violence, immigration, housing, economic inequality, and more through grassroots organizing campaigns that drive systemic change. We develop powerful leaders in the Jewish community through youth education and training programs. We strengthen Chicago neighborhoods by financially seeding affordable housing and economic development projects across the city.
We know achieving a just society means transforming the Jewish community, which has historically excluded Jews of Color, LGBTQ+ Jews, and Jews marginalized based on their identities, beliefs, and practices. We affirm the immense diversity within the Jewish community and work to uplift marginalized voices within JCUA. We create spaces for Jews to connect through identity-based affinity groups, such as JCUA’s Kol Or Caucus for Jews of Color and Queer Youth Caucus.