Judy Levey (she/her) has been JCUA’s executive director since 2012. She originally joined the staff in 2009 to manage JCUA’s community development work. Building on JCUA’s strong history, Judy has led the renewed membership initiative to help galvanize JCUA’s voice and impact as a partner and ally to marginalized communities in Chicago. She was formerly the executive director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, where she led a successful campaign to establish permanent statewide funding for affordable housing. Earlier in her career, Judy spent seven years working for New York City’s Human Resources Administration. She holds a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
A life-long Chicagoan, Jackie Baldwin (she/her) joined JCUA in 2019 as a community organizer. Jackie has wide ranging social activist experience that includes registering voters, voter education workshops, working on political campaigns and volunteer work with multiple grassroots organizations. She is passionate about pursuing social justice. A Columbia College graduate with a B.A. in Marketing/Communications, she has worked as an educator and realtor. Jackie is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She attends Beth Shalom B’Nai Zaken EHC. In her free time she likes to spend time with her daughter, Racquel.
Associate Director and Director of Organizing
Marla Bramble (she/her) joined JCUA as the Director of Organizing in 2014. With more than 15 years of organizing in Chicago, Marla brings a passion for justice and a breadth of campaign experience and relationships to the new position. She previously built a grassroots leadership development program and has worked with various coalitions to win victories on community, city, and statewide issues. Marla graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BSW degree. Marla is a swimmer and enjoys Chicago’s forest preserves, parks and lakefront.
Communications and Engagement Manager
Jonathan Elbaz (he/him) joined JCUA in 2019 after beginning his career in journalism and education. He first worked as a newspaper reporter for the Montgomery Sentinel in Maryland and later as a web producer for POLITICO. Jonathan grew up in Bethesda, Md. and holds a bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s in Civic Media from Emerson College. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his cat Sky, doing crosswords, and exploring the city.
Maetal Gerson (she/her) is JCUA’s Avodah Organizer for 2021-22. Her work will focus on engaging alumni from JCUA’s College-Aged Organizing Fellowship for young Jewish leaders. She participated in the Fellowship during her junior of college at the University of Chicago, and learned that practicing accountability to Jewish values creates space for becoming accountable to the larger Chicago community. Maetal look forward to working with the youth in the JCUA community and passing on my experience and passion for social action.
Director of Development and Advancement
Brian Gladstein (he/him) rejoined the staff of JCUA in 2020 where he worked from 2000 to 2011. Brian currently serves as JCUA’s Director of Development. Most recently, Brian was the founder of BGlad Consulting where he helped organizations with fundraising, organizational development, and building democracy campaigns. Prior his consulting work, Brian was the Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois where he helped advocate for democracy reforms in Illinois such as Same Day Registration and Automatic Voter Registration. Over this career, Brian has successfully led social justice campaigns on issues such as affordable housing, immigration, transportation, health care, environment, and workers’ rights. Brian has a Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Urban Planning and Policy, and a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University on Public Affairs and Environmental Science. Brian enjoys spending time with his family and spending time in Orange Theory Fitness classes with his wife.
Joe Grant (he/him) joins JCUA as a community organizer after five years as an active member of the immigration 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.
Alex Hinand (he/him) brings to JCUA a breadth of operations experience from the arts world, having worked for classical music festivals, museums, and most recently, at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Alex has developed community education and social justice programming at various organizations, including the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Grove Museum, a civil rights museum in Tallahassee, Florida. Alex is excited to, personally, dive deeper into the Chicago Jewish community and the activism that lies within.
Membership & Engagement Coordinator
DD Klionsky (she/her) grew up on Chicago’s South Side and moved back a year ago; in that time, she has enjoyed building her understanding of Chicago’s organizing ecosystem and is excited to contribute through her work at JCUA. DD studied history and philosophy at the Minerva Schools, and graduated in 2019. After graduating, she worked as an organizer and environmental educator before joining JCUA in 2021. DD loves reading, playing games, singing, and spending time at the lake all year around.
After completing her year-long placement as JCUA’s Avodah Organizer, Becca Lubow (she/her) is leading JCUA’s Immigration Justice Committee. Becca discovered her love of Jewish justice work as an organizer for IfNotNow movement and co-founder of Never Again Action, a direct action mobilization of Jews against ICE concentration camps. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in Political Science. Outside of work, Becca loves singing, building deep communal relationships, and plants.
Anna Rubin (she/her) rejoined JCUA in 2017 after working as the Avodah Organizing Fellow in 2015-16. 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. She is excited to bring those experiences to the work JCUA is doing organizing for just immigration policies here in Chicago. Anna graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Religion and a certificate in Judaic Studies. Outside of work, you can find Anna hanging out in other rad Jewish spaces in Chicago and spending as much time at the lake as possible.
Mauricio Román (he/him) is the Development Associate at JCUA. He is an experienced fundraising professional with a proven record in database management, event management, and grassroots fundraising. He is a passionate and active advocate for immigrant rights, environmental justice and economic justice. Mauricio has worked as an organizer for Chicago Stand Up and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. He’s 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. He received his Bachelor of Science in Economics with a focus on Development and International Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Jimmy Rothschild (he/him) joins JCUA as the lead organizer for the Housing and Economic Justice team. He’s an experienced organizer with a passion for justice, a talent team building, and keen understanding of Chicago politics. He’s worked with local progressive elected officials like Alders Matt Martin and 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.
Manager of Youth Engagement
Mara Wolkoff (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. In 2017-2018, Mara was JCUA’s Avodah Organizing Fellow. She studied Sociology and Public Policy at Smith College. She leads JCUA’s youth engagement work and is eager to bring her experience to JCUA’s work with high school and young adults. When not at work, you can find Mara laughing with her friends and with her toes in the lake.
Community Development Program Manager
Brenda Grauer (she/her) brings to JCUA more than 25 years experience working with community-based organizations on a local, state and national level to build coalitions, design programs, and deliver training to increase the availability of affordable housing. As an attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation, she worked with residents of public housing to help them access their options under CHA’s Plan for Transformation. She has provided technical assistance to nonprofit developers to expand their capacity and partner with local CBOs, financial institutions and local municipalities. As Housing Policy Advisor at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, she established a statewide foreclosure helpline for Illinois residents at risk of foreclosure and identified approximately $1 million in new funding to support the program. Brenda received her JD from the University of Illinois and her BA from Northwestern University.
Jewish Education Consultant
Aryeh Bernstein (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 Silverman (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.