A Passover message from our Executive Director

Dear JCUA family,

As Passover approaches, many of us are in the midst of preparation. In my family, we’re deep in the details, thinking about how to accommodate our 40 guests from across four generations, how to hold the attention of the under-five crowd, and how to make the Seder meaningful and joyful.

This year, though, many in our Jewish community are approaching Passover with heavy hearts. The ongoing suffering in Gaza and Israel, our experiences of antisemitism and hate, and the divisions within our Jewish community have left many feeling sad, anxious, and disconnected. As we gather for Seder, these feelings may become even more acute.

JCUA remains steadfast in our commitment to building a more just and equitable Chicago and Illinois. Our work is grounded in solidarity and community-building, and we believe that the power of relationships is essential to creating lasting change. By showing up for each other, sharing our stories, and strengthening bonds within the Jewish community and with our diverse community partners, we can counter fear and isolation and work towards a future in which everyone is safe.

Earlier this week, JCUA leaders were at City Hall for a conversation about antisemitism with Mayor Brandon Johnson, Jewish elected officials, and Jewish community members. We had a substantial discussion about our community’s experiences in this challenging moment and the need to address antisemitism in all its forms. JCUA’s strong presence demonstrated our leadership and our commitment to building trust and solidarity. We look forward to continuing this important work with our members, our partners, and the administration.

This is a significant year for JCUA and for me personally. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary, and I’m preparing to leave my position after more than a decade as Executive Director. I’m filled with gratitude for being able to lead this organization, and I’ve never been more certain about our integral role within Chicago and Illinois.

I hope you’ll join me for Acts of Change on June 3rd, where I’ll be one of the honorees alongside Eric Ward, Executive Vice President of Race Forward and a national leader on confronting authoritarian movements. It will be a wonderful opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and look forward to the next 60 years of important work. We’d love to have you with us.

As you gather with your loved ones for Passover, I wish you a holiday filled with meaning, connection, and moments of joy. May the rituals and stories of this season remind us of our resilience, our solidarity, and our shared commitment to a better world.

Chag sameach.