Or Tzedek

Program Overview and Goals

The Or Tzedek Organizing Internship is a program for teens passionate about social justice who want to build concrete organizing skills and take their activism to the next level. JCUA’s newly redesigned teen leadership program has three goals for participants:

  1. Strengthen understanding of social justice and systems of oppression from a root cause perspective.
  2. Build skills to organize for social change in coalition with communities across Chicago.
  3. Cultivate teens’ Jewish identity and values by connecting Judaism and social justice.

Or Tzedek teens come together as a cohort
 for monthly workshops. These meetings educate teens on organizing principles and strategy through a Jewish framework. Teens will then have opportunities to put this knowledge into practice by taking action on JCUA’s issue-based campaigns and organizing their peers in the Jewish community to get involved.


Or Tzedek runs during the academic year, from September to May. The program is open to all 8th-11th grade students, regardless of experience, but aimed at teens who are ready to invest in their community and make a real commitment for the year. This commitment includes:

  • Approximately 8-10 hours each month
  • One cohort meeting every month, mostly on Sunday afternoons
  • At least one other meeting, action or event each month, dependent on the month (individual teens might attend different things some months)
  • Culminating teen-led action or event
  • 1 Shabbaton weekend retreat (either at the midpoint in January or at the end of the program – cohort decides in September and helps plan)


JCUA knows that Or Tzedek teens need support in making this commitment. For their full participation in the program, teens receive:

  • Food at every full cohort meeting
  • Weekend Shabbaton with all expenses paid
  • Stipend: $250, paid twice, for work done in the program and to cover travel costs for meetings and actions
  • Resume package: Letter of recommendation and certificate of accomplishment upon completion for future academic and professional endeavors