Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 cohort!

The Or Tzedek Organizing Internship is an eight-month program for high school students ages 14-18
who are passionate about social justice and want to build the knowledge and skills to create progressive change. JCUA’s newly redesigned teen leadership program provides teens the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of justice and systems of oppression from a root-cause perspective; build skills to organize for social change in coalition with communities across Chicago; and cultivate their Jewish identity and values by connecting Judaism and social justice.

The Or Tzedek cohort meets twice monthly from September to May on Sunday afternoons, with an additional commitment of attending at least one JCUA meeting or event each month. Participants build rich community with other young Jews and work together to organize a youth-led action at the end of the program. The 2021-2022 cohort voted to organize around the Bring Chicago Home campaign to combat homelessness in Chicago. Read participant Noa Polish’s reflection on the cohort’s joint decision.

The majority of Or Tzedek meetings will be held in-person at JCUA’s Sketchpad office (4411 N. Ravenswood Ave. Ste 300) with the possibility of switching to remote meetings if needed. Food is served at every cohort meeting, and participants receive a $400 stipend for the year, a fully-paid weekend retreat in February, and a letter of recommendation for future academic and professional endeavors.

If you’d like to get involved in JCUA’s youth organizing, but don’t feel ready to commit to an eight-month program, there are still ways to join us! JCUA’s Youth Organizing Caucus and Queer Youth Caucus meet regularly and are always looking for new members!

To learn more about Or Tzedek and JCUA’s Youth Programs, please contact Mara Wolkoff, Manager of Youth Engagement: mara@jcua.org

If you’d like to receive updates about Or Tzedek or recommend a friend for the program, please complete the Interest Form.


Wondering what it’s like to participate in Or Tzedek?
Here’s what some of our recent alumni have to say about the program:

“We are the generation that is going to make the change necessary for a more inclusive society. Before any change can happen though, we have to learn about the issues at hand and what has been done so far to address them. We have to learn how to work with others and engage our community behind our work. These are all skills/tools this program has taught me, and I can’t wait to use them to make the world a better place.”

“Or Tzedek provides an outlet for your frustrations in a system that seems to ignore the voice of the people. By teaching you how to voice your concerns and take action, Or Tzedek can help you create the world as it should be.”

Or Tzedek was a fantastic way to see that the Jewish community is not only very involved in justice for all, but to understand that fighting for that justice is a Jewish imperative.”

“I would say that I took away not only knowledge about where to start helping on causes I am passionate about, but also friendships, new relationships, and amazing experiences!”

Apply for the 2022-2023 Or Tzedek cohort!