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.")
Another leader who was instrumental in shaping JCUA through much of its nearly 50-year history is Jane Ramsey, longtime executive director who retired as president of JCUA in 2012.
► Learn about Jane and the accomplishments of JCUA that took place during her leadership