Friday, May 4, 2018

Teens For Social Justice - Or Tzedek Summer Program

A local organization has a really interesting program this summer for teens that are interested in Social Justice.

The organization is the JCUA (Jewish Council On Urban Affairs) which has for 50 years been fighting racism, poverty, and anti-semitism in Chicago in partnership with many diverse communities. JCUA is one of the leaders in the Police Accountability movement here in Chicago, they are leaders in immigrant justice, and were instrumental in getting a level 1 trauma center re-opened on Chicago's South Side.

Photo courtesy of JCUA website.
The program they are running for teens is called Or Tzedek, The Teen Social Justice Institute. They are gathering teens from around the country to participate in active social justice programs that will help give teens experiences, tools, and inspiration to build a better world.

I met the woman who runs the program at a recent event, and it sounds like a great program, especially for kids who want to make a difference.  Each program allows teens to learn from leaders who are on the forefront of activism, contribute to creating positive change in Chicago's diverse communities, and gain critical leadership and problem-solving skills.

The program also builds a national community of like-minded teens who are passionate about social justice.  And in their off time they explore all the great things that Chicago has to offer, including beaches, bike paths, and cultural activities.

The program is very inclusive, but definitely Jewish-identified, with two Shabbat services, discussions with rabbis and scholars, and all kosher ingredients for food. They also don't work or drive on Shabbat.  They are very LGBTQIA friendly, and are committed to creating thoughtful, respectful and inclusive pluralistic Jewish communities.  I'm not even sure you'd have to be Jewish to attend, although there are some parts where it would probably help.

The program runs from Wednesday, July 25 – Sunday, August 5, 2018, and is a live-in program with qualified counselors and staff members. Tuition is $1,600 for the program, and they have full and partial scholarships available for those that need them.

If you've got a teen from 9th-12th grade, you should have them check out this program on the Or Tzedek website.  Registration is still available!

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