We will remember 2020 as a year of disruption and upheaval. The health, economic, and political crises we are facing will alter the course of our country in ways we can’t yet fully comprehend. But even as the future looks uncertain, we take heed of what our Jewish sages have said: “it is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it.“
Over the past year — in the midst of exhaustion and social isolation — our JCUA community has stepped forward to say hineinu: “here we are.” We are present, rooted in Chicago, working together as Jews from all backgrounds and identities to transform our city into a place of justice for all people.
As the pandemic disrupted the world overnight, JCUA reimagined our methods of organizing and engagement to find new ways to inspire and mobilize. The foundation we’ve built together over many years — along with the flexibility and persistence our staff and members demonstrated — allowed us to make an enormous impact in our city and state.
- We responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by working to ensure protections for essential workers, access to health care, and equitable governmental relief alongside our Right to Recovery coalition partners.
- We mobilized more than 4,500 voters to support the Illinois Fair Tax, which would generate billions of dollars each year for public services and move the state toward economic justice.
- We advanced the cause of racial justice by advocating for systemic reforms of immigration and policing, expanding our member training program on racial justice and white supremacy, and building our Kol Or Caucus for Jews of Color.
- We served dozens of teens and college-aged participants with our expanded youth programs, connecting and empowering the emerging generation of Jewish leaders.
- We doubled the size of our Community Ventures Program (CVP) zero-interest loan fund, which greatly expands our ability to strengthen neighborhoods across Chicago.
As we gear up to confront deeply-rooted issues on a national level, we know that through JCUA, we exercise democracy on the scale of our city, where we can form meaningful relationships across divides and work to make concrete improvements to people’s lives.
Step forward with us as we proclaim hineinu, and make an end-of-year contribution to JCUA and our work. Your support is essential as we come together as the Chicago Jewish community to confront injustice and inequality and be a powerful force in the creation of a better world.
Judy Levey, Executive Director
Rabbi Frederick Reeves, Board President