Director of Antiracism & Equity
A lifelong Chicagoan, Jackie (she/her) joined the staff in 2019 after getting involved as a member of JCUA’s Community Safety Committee and co-founder of the Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus. She previously led JCUA’s Fair Tax campaign campaigns for Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) and Treatment Not Trauma. In August 2022, Jackie became JCUA’s first-ever Director of Antiracism & Equity, where she will lead our work to become a more fully antiracist organization. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her daughter, Racquel.
Associate Director & Director of Organizing
Marla (she/her) joined JCUA as the Director of Organizing in 2014 and led the transformation of JCUA into a membership model based in community organized. Over 20 years of organizing in Chicago, Marla has build grassroots leadership development programs and worked with many coalitions to win significant organizing victories on community, city, and statewide issues. She is a swimmer and enjoys Chicago’s forest preserves, parks and lakefront.
Director of Communications & Engagement
Jonathan (he/him) joined the staff in 2019, where he leads organizational communications and supports messaging and strategy for JCUA’s grassroots organizing campaigns. He previously worked as a journalist in the Washington D.C. area, where he grew up. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his cat Sky, playing guitar and violin, and biking around the city.
Director of Development & Advancement
Brian (he/him) previously worked for JCUA from 2000-2011 and rejoined the staff in 2020. Brian was previously the Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois where he helped advocate for democracy reforms in Illinois. Over his career, he’s successfully led campaigns for affordable housing, immigration justice, transportation, healthcare, environmental justice, and workers’ rights. Brian enjoys spending time with his family and spending time in Orange Theory Fitness classes with his wife.
Joe (he/him) joined the staff in 2021 after five years as an active member of the Immigration Justice Committee and training team. He fell in love with organizing on the campaign to unionize his fellow workers in his graduate program and subsequently dropped out of school to pursue organizing full time. When he isn’t organizing Jews, Joe is probably reading the latest arrival from his “Bread and Roses” subscription from Pilsen Community Books or the most recent issue of Jewish Currents. He davens at Mishkan Chicago and lives in Logan Square.
Judy (she/her) joined JCUA in 2009 to manage the Community Ventures Program (CVP) and has been Executive Director since 2012. Building on a strong history, Judy advanced JCUA’s organizational transformation into a membership model based in community organizing. She was formerly the Executive Director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky and spent seven years working for New York City’s Human Resources Administration.
After completing her year-long placement as JCUA’s Avodah Organizer, Becca (she/her) joined the staff in 2021 to lead JCUA’s Immigration Justice Committee. Becca discovered her love of Jewish justice work as an organizer for IfNotNow movement and a co-founder of Never Again Action, a direct action mobilization of Jews against ICE concentration camps. Outside of work, Becca loves singing, building deep communal relationships, and plants.
Anna (she/her) rejoined the staff in 2017 after working as the Avodah Organizer from 2015-2016. In the intervening year, Anna worked as a national field organizer with Interfaith Worker Justice, organizing around issues of worker rights and immigration justice across the country. Outside of work, you can find her hanging out in other rad Jewish spaces in Chicago and spending as much time at the lake as possible.
Mauricio (he/him) joined JCUA in 2019. He is a passionate and active advocate for immigrant rights, environmental justice and economic justice. Mauricio previously worked as an organizer for Chicago Stand Up and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. He has also worked in development roles with DePaul USA, Little City, and United Way Metro Chicago. He is a running aficionado and has completed countless 5ks, 12 half-marathons, and 4 marathons.
Jimmy (he/him) joined JCUA in 2021 as the organizer for the Housing & Economic Justice Committee. He’s previously worked with local progressive elected officials like Alderman Matt Martin and Alderwoman Maria Hadden, and with Jewish organizations here and around the country including JCUA, Jewish Community Action, IfNotNow, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. He also loves baking bread, and you can probably convince him to make you some challah or babka or sourdough rye.
Community Development Manager
Rose has been a JCUA member since 2018 and has been active on the Immigration Justice Committee. She previously served as the Foundation Manager at Richie’s Spirit Foundation, where she managed the organization’s operations, including a grants program for low-income pediatric organ transplant families. Rose earned a Master of Social Work in social economic development policy at Washington University in St. Louis.
Growing up in a family of organizers in West Palm Beach, Florida, asia (she/her) became interested in localized social justice movements early on. With the encouragement of her family and friends, she took up organizing around housing and food justice and is a fierce advocate for community-centered education and youth advocacy. asia graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from Kalamazoo College and recently moved to Chicago. When she isn’t studying or working, she enjoys reading, gardening, and catching up on her favorite shows.
Hannah (she/her) joined the JCUA staff in 2022 after first getting involved with as a member of the Immigration Committee. She comes to us from The Ark, where she was part of the marketing and development team. She previously worked with HIAS as a program coordinator during her Avodah Service Corps year in Washington DC. Outside of work, you can find Hannah going for long walks, visiting museums, and eating her way through Chicago’s ice cream shops.
Manager of Youth Organizing and Education
Mara (she/her) rejoined the JCUA staff in 2019 after organizing around Chicago’s municipal elections and housing justice issues with Grassroots Illinois Action in Humboldt Park. She leads JCUA’s youth organizing work supports high school and young adults in the JCUA community. In 2017-2018, Mara was JCUA’s Avodah Organizer. When not at work, you can find Mara laughing with her friends and with her toes in the lake.
Jewish Education Consultant
Aryeh (any pronouns) is a Torah educator, culture integrator, and 5th-generation South Sider. He is the Director of Avodah’s Justice Fellowship in Chicago, teaches for Mishkan Chicago and elsewhere, and co-founded the Northwoods Beit Midrash at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. In 2011, he independently released a hip-hop album, called A Roomful of Ottomans.
Rose (she/her) joined JCUA as a consultant after being an active member since she moved to Chicago in 2018. Rose works as a third grade teacher at the Francis W. Parker School. With JCUA, she is on the Racial Justice Training team and is one of the co-facilitators of JCUA’s White Racial Justice Working Group (WRJWG). As JCUA continues to commit to dismantling white supremacy, it is crucial that white Jews have the tools necessary to do this in our own lives and in our organizing. The White Racial Justice Working Group provides an intergenerational opportunity to gather and practice these tools through monthly meetings, ongoing resource-sharing and providing compassionate accountability to one another around our individual and collective commitments to racial justice. Rose’s primary position is to evaluate and strengthen the White Racial Justice Working Group curriculum so that past, present and future cohorts can find deep meaning from their participation in this group.