Mission & Core Values
The mission of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is to combat poverty, racism and anti-Semitism in partnership with Chicago’s diverse communities. Guided by prophetic Jewish principles, JCUA pursues social and economic justice for Chicago’s most vulnerable neighborhoods by promoting a vision of empowering communities from within. Since 1964, JCUA has assisted groups in low-income and minority communities, built coalitions with diverse groups, advocated on issues of poverty and racism and mobilized a Jewish constituency to create a more just city.
Values of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs seeks to bring the prophetic values of Judaism to urban life and to understand the complexities of urban society. We strive to guarantee the triumph of justice over injustice, humanity over inhumanity, love over hatred. To continue this struggle and to intensify this search is our task.
The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs seeks to understand and interpret the interstitial role of the Jewish community. To live between the parts of society, as between the powerful and powerless, offers dangers as well as opportunities. There is danger when Jews are victims of oppression while being portrayed as the sources of oppression; there is opportunity when Jews stand in opposition to authoritarianism and racism.
The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is committed to the particularly Jewish concepts of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam.
Tzedakah is more than charity; it implies obligation, duty, and demand. The highest form of Tzedakah, according to Maimonides, is to help people help themselves.
Tikkun Olam is a challenge to reconstruct the world, repair its inequities and pursue a vision of justice.
To implement these purposes, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs is committed to the following actions:
- To study and seek new answers to complicated social problems. Our effort is to find information from within our heritage, from contemporary scholarship and from the people with whom we work;
- To understand the struggles of disinherited peoples of our society and to interpret their needs to the Jewish community so that, as a community, we can strive to right the wrong;
- To favor forms of actions and assistance that strengthen the hands of those with whom we work;
- To go where we are invited in partnership with those who seek our assistance;
- To support community organizations that help people help themselves;
- To oppose racial, religious and economic prejudices wherever they appear.
We invite the Jewish community to utilize its skills to creatively bring together the fragmented parts of our society into a unity that a people of God can exemplify.
"Justice, Justice shalt thou pursue…"
The first "justice" is the challenge to understand. The second "justice" is the challenge to act. May we have the courage to do both.