Rabbi Robert J. Marx - Founder
Rabbi Marx is the founder and a past president of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, where he continues to be an active board member, leader and mentor. He is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, which he founded in 1983.
In the 1960s, Rabbi Marx marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago and Alabama and fought for civil rights in Chicago and other cities. In a 1966 letter, Rabbi Marx explained why he was marching with Dr. King in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood: "As long as the hatred we have experienced in Gage Park is not met by responsible community leadership, our city is not a safe place."
As well, he organized a mission to Washington, D.C. during the six-day war.
Since then, he has continued his tireless pursuit of justice by helping to found Interfaith Worker Justice (formerly the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice) where he is a board member and past president and by serving as a leader of many other organizations including the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the Black-Jewish dialogue. Rabbi Marx was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and received a PhD in philosophy from Yale University.
In 1968, Rabbi Marx authored The People In Between, a discussion of the interstitial role in which Jews have historically been cast. His thesis is that "An ability to understand this role could lead to the creation of real power-- power that is prophetic and just, that saves the oppressed and gives mission and purpose to Jewish existence."(Download "The People in Between.")
Jane Ramsey joined JCUA in 1979 and served as executive director from 1982 to 2012. Jane is a long-time community activist with a strong commitment to social and economic justice. She has been at the forefront of many critical issues affecting Chicago.
Jane was a principal organizer of coalitions that bring diverse groups together to address common concerns, including the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative.
Jane’s leadership enabled the JCUA to become one of Chicago’s most active and important organizations speaking on behalf of human and civil rights issues. In 1986, she took a leave of absence from JCUA for two years to join Mayor Harold Washington’s cabinet, serving as director of community relations for the Office of the Mayor.
In 2009 Jane was named to “The Forward 50” list of those “leading the American Jewish community into the 21st century” by the Forward, the legendary Jewish publication.
In addition Jane has served on numerous boards.and is currently a board member of CAN-TV, the Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Association, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Shalom Center.
She has also served on the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, Chicago Coalition to Protect Public Housing, Ethics Coalition, KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation, Women in Charge; and as commissioner for Private Industry Council (PIC), the Women’s Commission of the City of Chicago, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.
Ramsey earned a master’s degree from The University of Chicago, School of Social Administration and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis. A long-time resident of Chicago, Ramsey is married to Lewis Rice and has four children: Joshua, Laura, Bari and Brandon.