Wondering what it’s like to participate in JCUA’s Or Tzedek organizing internship for young Jewish leaders? Here’s what some of our recent participants have to say about the program:

“The most valuable thing about starting a new program like Or Tzedek or a new activity or sport is the people. Beyond that, you’re able to take something that you’re passionate about and learn the skills on how to fix it and then actually do something to fix it. I don’t think I would ever have taken a community organizing class. I don’t think I would have known about the Gang Database or about rent control, and I don’t think I would have been involved in the Welcoming City Ordinance or the Fair Tax initiative. I wouldn’t have known any of these things that not only do I now have knowledge about, but I am doing something about and care about other than just saying, ‘Oh that kind of sucks.’ I think that was the big seller for me, and it’s what I’ve been telling a lot of the kids in my youth group, like ‘You want an internship! They’ll write you a rec letter! You get a stipend! It looks great for college! BUT you also get to learn all of these really helpful life skills, get involved in a bunch of really big problems, and you ultimately meet a really great group of people!'” – Hope Werstler, Or Tzedek Alum 2020

“Or Tzedek introduced me to a number of complex systems and injustices that I was very unaware of prior to this program. The program transformed me into a more informed citizen, sparking my desire to work to make change in my own community and the greater Chicago area.”
– Lauren, Or Tzedek Alum, 2015

“Or Tzedek was a life changing experience for my daughter. She had great leadership experiences, loved exploring the city and learning about the issues facing not just Jews but people across Chicago, and made lasting friendships. One of her favorite parts were the deep conversations the kids had about issues of antisemitism, racism, inequalities in our education systems, etc. She appreciated the way Or Tzedek approached these topics, treating the teens as citizens of the world and not silly teenagers. An invaluable experience and she can’t wait to learn more about how she can help repair the world this summer.”
 – Rachel, Or Tzedek Parent, 2016 & 2017

“You really learn how to make time you’re passionate for even though students my age tend to be busy. You can get to choose what you want to work on, as a community and accomplish it. You meet awesome people and make new friends, and make new connections in JCUA.” – Kayla Chander, Or Tzedek Alum 2020