Know one of the best allies for Jews in Chicago

Since 1964, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs has worked for Chicago community fighting against discrimination and anti-Semitism. This non-profit organization has been for more than 50 years a great ally for Jewish and other people in Chicago, working with several neighborhoods from the city to promote human rights and battle against different social problems, like poverty or violence. The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs gives support to those needed persons with transport, food, shelter, education, employment, among other aids.


Image courtesy of JCUA at


The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs also known as the JCUA was founded by Rabbi Robert Marx, who was the Midwest Director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and focused a lot of his efforts in the creation of many social programs, like the JCUA. For his work and the support of other social and religious leaders, the organization raised and was established as an independent institution.

Some years later, the organization growth, including more staff and involving more people in its social programs. With its expansion, The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs included more social organizations to work and support its initiatives.

Through its history, the JCUA has achieved a lot of things, like its association with the Contract Buyers League for helping people to get home with fair prices, or its alliance with the West Side Federation, working for the construction of houses for people with limited resources.

By the 1970s, the JCUA joined with the Westtown Concerned Citizen Coalition and the Voter Registration to fight against Hispanic discrimination and their social rights in the community. By 2000s, the organization started the Synagogue Initiative to establish better relations with all those synagogue partners, creating a great strategy to support social problems among synagogue members.

The mentioned alliances and initiatives above are just a small sample of what the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs has done for Chicago society. Through years, this institution has founded more than 100 social programs and create more than 50 alliances, helping a lot of people in multiple critic situations.

Projects and initiatives

The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs has a lot of active projects to help the community in different situations. These plans are involving more and more people in Chicago for these admirable campaigns.

One of the most important and remarkable promotions was the Anti-Wage Theft Campaign, which was fighting against the wage theft for workers in many Chicago industries. This practice was considered an abusive and exploitation practice for employees, so the JCUA focused a lot of its energies to eradicate this working condition. In 2015, thanks to the JCUA and other social organizations, a legislation for better-working conditions against the wage theft was signed, offering to workforces a fairer contract.

Another important battle that the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs has fought is for the immigrants’ rights. This has been one of its most important projects, because, through it, immigrants can have better lives, more justice, and fairer opportunities. Besides, through this plan, they can be more informed about their privileges and duties.

The JCUA has created an excellent information pack for immigrants called CIR Advocacy Toolkits. With them, immigrants can learn about Chicago’s legislation and what the city offers to them in terms of justice, rights and responsibilities. Moreover, these toolkits show them how to access to working and education opportunities, which can improve in a greater way their life quality.

As it was mentioned before, the JCUA battles intensely against racial discrimination, promoting human rights and their application, so supporting immigrants is one of its priorities, because their situation may be vulnerable and susceptible for human rights violation.

These two cited initiatives are some of the most important strategies for the institution, but there are some others like the Trauma Care Campaign, which is a medical project for low incomes people who need medical assistance, or the campaign to increase the city’s budget for social programs.


Image courtesy of Leib Tropper at

Image courtesy of Leib Tropper

Jewish-Muslim relationship

The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs seeks also the integration between multiple faiths and creeds. An amazing program they have is the Jewish-Muslim Community Building. With this strategy, the JCUA helps to strengthen the relation between Jewish and Muslim people in Chicago.

This admirable program finds common problems both in Jewish and Muslim communities, so people from these religions can solve them together. Besides, the JCUA promotes the alliances between Jewish and Muslim organizations with similar purposes, letting them help society with multiple alternatives and in a unified way.

The union between Jews and Muslims is also helping immigrants from these and other religions to have better living conditions, due to their mutual work and the promotion of their rights and living possibilities in Chicago. In other words, these union initiatives are not only strengthening the Jewish and Muslim interactions but also are helping immigrants and other needed people to get better existing opportunities in the windy city.

Related: An admirable Chicago Jewish foundation you need to know by Yosef Meystel