Introducing JCUA’s new Executive Director, Jessica Schaffer

We are thrilled to share that Jessica Schaffer is joining JCUA next month as our new Executive Director.

Jessica comes to JCUA after 12 years at JCFS Chicago, including eight years as the Director of HIAS Immigration & Citizenship. During her tenure, she partnered often with JCUA to pursue immigration justice, co-convening Jewish Action Days in Springfield and organizing the Jewish community to advocate for refugees and asylum seekers.

Jessica’s wealth of experience in social justice advocacy, community organizing, fundraising, and organizational leadership make her an excellent new leader of JCUA.

“I want to live in a world where every person has the resources they need to thrive; where systems, rooted in equity, work for everyone; and where all people live with dignity, safety, and self-determination,” Jessica said. “By joining the incredible team of staff, members, community partners, and donors at JCUA, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to build that world in partnership with the Jewish community and with people of all backgrounds and identities who share this vision. What a dream and an honor! I can’t wait to deepen my relationships and carry forward the legacies of JCUA’s founders and leaders. Tzedek, tzedek tirdof – justice, justice we shall pursue – together.”

“We are very excited to welcome Jessica Schaffer as JCUA’s new Executive Director,” said Cydney Wallace, Vice President of our Board of Directors. “Our Search Committee was impressed and inspired by Jessica’s dynamic professional experiences and her vision for continuing JCUA’s legacy in the social justice world. We’d like to express our gratitude to the dozens of JCUA members, staff, and Board members who participated in this search. We also thank DRG Talent Consulting Experts for facilitating a thorough and robust process that helped us find our new leader. The Board of Directors is excited to work closely with Jessica in the coming months and years to deepen JCUA’s impact in Chicago, Illinois, and beyond.”

Jessica will succeed Judy Levey, who has served as our Executive Director for the past 12 years. Building on JCUA’s vibrant history, Judy helped invigorate JCUA through the embrace of a member-driven, community organizing model. “I am delighted to welcome Jessica as she takes on the role of Executive Director,” Judy said. “It’s an especially momentous year for JCUA as we celebrate our 60th anniversary. I look forward to working closely with Jessica and our Board of Directors during the leadership transition. I’m confident Jessica will find this role as deeply meaningful as I have. Mazel tov, Jessica!”

We look forward to honoring Judy and welcoming Jessica at Acts of Change on Monday, June 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, now is the perfect time to do so. Help us send Judy off in style and to meet Jessica in person!