Jewish Federation: Letter of Solidarity from Jewish Leaders


Letter of Solidarity

The Jewish Federation Bargaining Committee received a letter from rabbis and Jewish community leaders who support our fight. We greatly appreciate their solidarity! More leaders are adding their names.

To the Management of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago: 

As leaders in the Jewish community, we stand in support with union members at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. We are proud of the social services and programs provided to the Jewish community and broader Chicagoland area by CJE SeniorLife, Jewish Child and Family Services, JCC, and Jewish United Fund. The staff at these organizations stand on the frontlines to help the most vulnerable individuals in our communities by providing essential services including counseling, education and childcare, services for people who have disabilities, patient care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and many other programs that promote the well-being of our community.

Core to our Jewish values are the ideas of avodah (sacred service) and tzedek (justice). Our sages believed that work should be a means of granting dignity to workers, and that one’s wages should be sufficient to pay for one’s family’s basic needs. Justice means guaranteeing that our social service programs are fully funded and sustained in a manner that ensures that the highest level of service is provided to members of our community. Union members are coming together to call for:


Jewish Federation employees should be paid a living wage, salaries within the range of the market rate, and have transparency and equity of pay.


Quality of care is improved when workloads, including case loads and class sizes, are manageable and long-term care facilities meet or exceed standards for safe-staffing ratios.


Affordable healthcare for families and dependents, paid parental leave, and increased paid time off will allow employees to care for themselves and family members

As the Jewish Federation aims to make the world a better place, their own workers are an important part of that vision. In order for the community to endure, we need to invest in community-based programs and social services, and must foster family-friendly and sustainable working conditions.


  • Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, Chicago Director, Avodah Justice Fellowship 
  • Rabbi Brandon Bernstein, Campus Rabbi, Northwestern Hillel 
  • Cheryl Cook, CEO, Avodah 
  • Corrina Demma, Chicago Workmen’s Circle 
  • Rabbi David Eber, Assistant Rabbi, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation 
  • Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa
  • Rabbi Joshua Feigelson, PhD, Big Questions Associates, LLC (Skokie)
  • Rabbi Capers Funnye, Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken E. H. C.
  • Rabbi Maralee Gordon
  • Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
  • Rabbi Ari Hart, Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob Synagogue 
  • Rabbi Lauren Henderson, Mishkan Chicago
  • Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, Senior Rabbi, Mishkan Chicago
  • Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, T’ruah 
  • Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Deputy Director, T’ruah 
  • Rabbi Daniel Kirzane, Oak Park Temple
  • Judith Levey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Martin Levine, Former General Director/CEO JCC Chicago
  • Rabbi Andrea London, Senior Rabbi, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue 
  • Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Rabbi David Minkus
  • Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, Director of Rabbinic Training, T’ruah 
  • Mike Perry, Chair, Jewish Labor Committee 
  • Rabbi Frederick Reeves, KAM Isaiah Israel
  • Hazzan Rachel Rosenberg, Cantor, Congregation Rodfei Zedek
  • Irene Lehrer Sandalow, Executive Director, SketchPad
  • Rabbanit Leah Sarna, Director of Religious Engagement, Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation
  • Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, Rabbi Emeritus, City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, NYC
  • Rabbi Jeffrey Stombaugh, Mishkan Chicago 
  • Rabbi Max Weiss, Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion 
  • Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
  • Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Israel Congregation 

The views expressed in this letter are solely those of the individual signees and do not necessarily represent those of their respective institutions. Institutions and titles are provided for identification purposes only.

This is the moment for you to step up. We are only as strong as our union membership.

Share your stories. Sign a member card. Ask a co-worker to sign a card. This is the moment to make the changes that will affect us for the next three years. 

We know we deserve more. If you’re not satisfied with being underpaid and overworked, TAKE ACTION TODAY:

Take action

Share your story about why you chose to join the union

Sign a union member card

Fill out a bargaining survey

Join Our Facebook Page

Sign up for email and text updates

For more information, email or call your Member Action Center at and (312) 787-5868, or reach out to your agency stewards and bargaining committee leaders:

Leora Mincer, Youth Employment Specialist, JVS/JCFS Chicago:, (347) 835-3405