Hannah Arwe: JCUA Manager of Youth Programs
I am thrilled to be kicking off my third summer directing the Or Tzedek teen program. I come from a background in education and social justice, and love working with young people to become agents for change. I have a Master’s degree in Women’s & Gender studies, where I focused on local efforts around education reform and non-violence work. As a teacher and youth specialist for several years, I am constantly inspired by the energy of young people and love motivating them to create change. Having always felt strongly that my Jewish identity is rooted in justice work, I firmly believe that JCUA brings a compassionate but fearless attitude to this work and that our programs empower the Jewish community to successfully fight injustice. Alongside working with high school and college students to dismantle systemic oppression, I love to cook, dance, read, and explore the outdoors. I can’t wait to learn more about Chicago, Judaism, and social justice with all of you!
Aryeh Bernstein: Or Tzedek’s Jewish Educator
I thrilled to be returning for my fourth summer as Or Tzedek’s lead Jewish educator. I learn with teens year-round as Director of the Hyde Park Teen Beit Midrash and I teach in social justice contexts year-round as Director of the Chicago Avodah Justice Fellowship, teacher for Mishkan Chicago’s Social Justice Beit Midrash, and resident educator for Farm Forward’s Jewish Initiative for Animals, so it’s a highlight of the year to bring those areas together and work specifically with teens on locating pressing justice issues in Jewish texts. Other fun facts are that I am a Senior Editor of Jewschool.com, I am a 5th-generation South Sider, who lives in Hyde Park, I previously lived in Israel for 14 years, and I love music, especially funk, soul, and hip-hop.I am returning for my fourth summer as Or Tzedek’s lead Jewish educator.
Amanda Brown: Or Tzedek Staff
I am in my third year teaching Drama and Media Studies at Intrinsic High School on the northwest side of Chicago and in my 9th year in education. Previously, I was a founding Humanities teacher at Da Vinci Science High School and a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America in Los Angeles. Outside of school, I spent three summers coaching new teachers at Teach for America’s Los Angeles Institute, worked part time and mentored with the Young Storytellers in LA, and co-founded an after school program called Girls Amplified which helps girls tell their stories through storytelling, theater, and media. I hold a Master’s Degree in Educational Theater from New York University and a Bachelors in Television and Film from Boston University. In my free time, I love working out (currently training of the Chicago Triathlon!) cooking, and comedy in all forms. I’m excited to be a part of Or Tzedek this summer and can’t wait to meet the teens!
Emily Isaacson: Or Tzedek Lead Staff
Hi, my name is Emily and I’m so excited to be joining Or Tzedek again for another summer. I’m excited to learn and grow with a new group of teens this summer while we explore social justice issues in Chicago and learn community organizing tools to build power and have an impact in our communities. As a former participant in Or Tzedek, it is a truly transformative program and I’m thrilled to be able to help build meaningful programming and Jewish community again this summer. Empowering young people to take action and create change is deeply important to me and I can’t wait to get to know this summer’s Or Tzedek participants. This past spring I graduated from Oberlin College where I majored in Comparative American Studies and Religion, and I am incredibly excited to be JCUA’s Avodah Organizing Fellow starting this fall.
Rachel Williams: Or Tzedek Summer Intern
I am so excited to be working with JCUA this summer as the Or Tzedek Intern! I was drawn to the Or Tzedek program because I have formed a meaningful connection between my Jewish and activist identities while studying at Wesleyan University, and I hope the Or Tzedek participants this summer feel the same way by the end of the program. To me, Jewish identity and social justice should work in partnership. This summer, I have already learned so much from the dedicated staff and membership of JCUA, and I know that the teens on the Or Tzedek program will be given important tools to start working on social justice issues in their own communities. Helping to plan a program that is both intentionally Jewish and intentionally for social justice has been extremely meaningful for me, and I can’t wait to get to know the teens on the program this summer!