“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

“Participation in Or Tzedek opened my mind up to the complexities of social justice work and gave me a deeper understanding than I ever thought possible!”

-Leora, Or Tzedek Alum – 2015 & 2016


“Both my children have participated in Or Tzedek, and they each have walked away with different, but very positive experiences.  My daughter was inspired by the depth of ways to become engaged with the community and the power of collective involvement and awareness.  For my son, he realized the powerful impact that organizing can have.  The issue that spoke to him most was the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights; he was so moved after talking to those whose lives it would affect.  Or Tzedek is transformative in ways beyond the program, and will stay w/them I am sure for years to come.”  

– Bekki , Or Tzedek Parent – 2011, 2012 & 2015

“My experience at Or Tzedek helped me to open up and showed me different parts of America. I got a more holistic world view and it helped shape me to be the person I am today.”

Matthew, Or Tzedek Alum – 2013, 2014 & 2015


“All of my children did Or Tzedek as teens and I really feel that the experience helped them to see the world with more educated eyes. They learned about social justice and important issues such as environmental justice, minimum wage and racism to name only a few. I think Or Tzedek taught them to be more just and more kind. Thank you JCUA for offering such an important program for our children.”

-Debra, Or Tzedek Parent

“Or Tzedek really engaged Gabe. At the end of the program, he had a much deeper understanding of social justice through Judaism. He also had a renewed connection to Jewish practice.”

-Melissa, Or Tzedek Parent – 2016

“We sent our daughter to Or Tzedek the first year on the advice of some very close friends who’s daughter had experienced great personal and intellectual growth the previous summer.  Our daughter had a similar experience of engagement and growth so we agreed that she could go for a second, and now a third summer.  We like that our daughter has been exposed to many new, meaningful experiences related to social justice and made friends with other teens from the Midwest.  We felt safe each time with the supervision provided by the warm and professional staff.  She was able to grow in her sense of self by having these experiences and processing them with her peers in the dorm-like setting.  She was able to thrive socially in the group because of the thoughtful and competent leaders. The experiences that she has had through Or Tzedek are not readily available in our comfortable suburb or her high-performing high school.  Her knowledge of the world was greatly expanded by these experiences and it has made her more confident as she moves towards college.”

– Kim, Or Tzedek Parent – 2015, 2016 & 2017