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"One thing I'll take with me is to love what you do and put your whole self into your passion. Or Tzedek has given me the tools to understand complex and troubling topics and be driven to address these issues. But more broadly, it has helped me become a more compassionate and thoughtful person."    --Emily, Or Tzedek Alum 

Immigration • Racism • Education Justice • Environmental Racism • Food Justice • Poverty • Segregation • Systems of Oppression • Civic Engagement • Interfaith Community Building • Gun Violence • Workers' Rights

 Or Tzedek is a 10-Day Overnight
Urban Immersion Program

 Two Sessions Available

Thursday, June 18 to 
Sunday, June 28
Thank you to everyone who participated!
Read more on JCUA's blog.

Thursday, July 30 to Sunday, Aug. 9
Registration Extended! Closes July 10.


  • Tuition: $1,000 for each participant
  • $200 non-refundable deposit (remainder must be paid in full one month before session)
  • Financial aid available on a rolling basis
    (download the scholarship application)
  • Overnight housing and kosher meals are included in the tuition  






Activism Advocacy Organizing
Experience how a grassroots organization works, the challenges it faces, and how its members battle for justice and equality. You'll meet with other young people who are active leaders in their communities. Effect systemic change by understanding the ins and outs of our political and legislative processes. Meet with activists on the front lines of social justice advocacy and share your views 1-on-1 with political leaders. Explore communities around Chicago, learning about their challenges and the actions they take for change. Participate in volunteer service projects, and gain the leadership skills necessary to bring about social change.


 What's Jewish about this program?

Inspired by Hillel's question, "If not now, when?" Or Tzedek provides teens with a Jewish framework to explore their social justice identities and gives them the tools to build a better world.

Or Tzedek seeks to ensure that when our Jewish teens ask the age-old question, "Who am I?" that "I am a Jew" resounds loudly somewhere in the answer.

Teens will participate in workshops facilitated by prominent Jewish educators and leaders. Or Tzedek provides a deeper exploration of social justice issues with a profound connection to Jewish identity and community.

Who Should Attend?

Jewish high school students (participants much have completed Grade 9).

First-time participants and returning Or Tzedek teens both will find opportunities to learn and grow through programming specifically created for both the "beginning" and more experienced advocate.

Commitment to Inclusivity

At Or Tzedek, we are committed to creating an inclusive Jewish community that celebrates both the similarities and differences of people's practices and identities. Therefore, Or Tzedek is a shabbat observant and kosher program and we strive to create a supportive safe environment for LGTBQIA teens.

Shabbat Observance and Keeping Kosher

Teens are given the environment and support for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation through observance of the Sabbath. We are Shabbat observant in public spaces and it is up to the teens how they wish to observe the Sabbath in private. All meals given to the teens are kosher and the teens have access to kosher kitchens. The dietary rules in place at Or Tzedek also guarantee that teens with certain food allergies stay safe. Inclusivity is at the heart of why Or Tzedek is a Shabbat and kosher observant program. This is about creating a space where any person, regardless of their observance or practice of Judaism, can participate in Or Tzedek.

LGBTQIA Safe Space

The Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Intersex, Asexual teen community can find a welcoming and safe environment at Or Tzedek. Staff at Or Tzedek are trained and familiar with creating thoughtful and thoroughly respectful environments for our teens who identify within the LGBTQIA spectrum. Before the start of the program, we would love to meet with any families and teens to ensure we are building a supportive community for you to express your gender and sexual identities.

Is this fun?

The program takes full-advantage of Chicago-in-the-summer, including Millennium Park, the lakefront beaches and exciting neighborhood events. You'll experience Chicago with like-minded people who likely will become life-long friends.


Throughout the session we will traveling all around Chicago to work with a broad range of community organizations and social justice leaders, activists and youth on the forefront of creating social justice in Chicago. Transportation will primarily include passenger vans. On occasion we will use public transit and walking when possible and appropriate.


Session 1: UIC Dorms - 718 W. James M. Rochford Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Session 2: Br. David Darst Center - 2834 S. Normal Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

We choose locations that are safe and accessible to exciting areas of Chicago, have meeting spaces and kitchens where we can prepare some of our meals. Or Tzedek staff and counselors are always housed on the same floor/wing as Or Tzedek participants. 


Session 1

  • Registration closes Monday, May 18
  • Full payment due: Friday, June 12

Session 2

  • Registration closes Monday, June 29
  • Full payment due: Friday, July 24




Questions? Please contact:

Deborah Goldberg (deborah@jcua.org)
Coordinator of Teen Programs
312.663.0960 ext. 124

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs

610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60605
Phone: 312.663.0960  |  Fax: 312.663.5305

© 2015 Jewish Council on Urban Affairs