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CAIR-Chicago Joins JCUA Commemoration of New Home and Hanukkah


The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) welcomed invited guests to their housewarming celebration in the new Spertus facility, 610 N. Michigan Ave. The event also commemorated the eight-day Jewish observance of Hanukkah. JCUA headquarters are located on the 5th floor of the new addition to the Spertus Institute, a fixture of higher education, culture, and interfaith relations pertaining to the Jewish experience. Gerald Hankerson, Outreach Coordinator of CAIR-Chicago, was among the invited guests.

The housewarming opened with a blessing from the JCUA founder, board member and past president, Rabbi Robert Marx, who is also the founder and current Rabbi Emeritus of the Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe. Sidney Hollander, President of JCUA, and Jane Ramsey, the Executive Director, welcomed guests and shared thanks and acknowledgements with the individuals and organizations that made JCUA’s new home a reality. All three were then joined by JCUA board member Nikki Stein and City of Chicago aldermen Helen Shiller (46th Ward) and Bob Floretti (2nd Ward) in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rabbi Marx followed with comments on Hanukkah, JCUA and rededication of the organization’s core values after serving the Jewish community in Chicago for more than 45 years.

There were two special moments toward the conclusion of the event. The first was the ceremonial lighting of the menorah, led by Rabbi Asher Lopitan of Anshe Sholom/B'nai Israel Congregation, member of the JCUA Rabbinic Advisory Board and the Board of Directors. Other JCUA board members and supporters lit one of eight candles that mark each day of Hanukkah.

The second highlight involved the mezuzah, a parchment hung in the door posts of every Jewish home and facility. The mezuzah includes a Hebrew prayer from the Torah that speaks to the oneness of Allah. The Torah scripture reminds His servants to be mindful of Him always, and be diligent in doing good works. Jon Labschin, Director of Development at JCUA, announced the Mezuzah Endowment Program, which will give opportunities for donor to donate in support of JCUA’s continued work. Rabbi Marx led the mezuzah dedication by posting one by President Ramsey’s office, signaling that the work by the JCUA will carried out with guidance, continuing its way into the next century.

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