Empowering current and future leaders to build a more compassionate and just society
The Jewish Center for Justice is a distinguished social justice, education, and leadership development platform that meets each individual where they are in their journey to inspire change.
“Through the Fellowship, I have been able to create tangible, positive change in our world while rooting myself in Jewish traditions.”
— Lisa F, College Fellow
A support system
“I greatly appreciate how JCJ has helped me grow both as a student and as a professional in my post-graduation ambitions.”
— Dahvi C, Former College Fellow
A deeper connection to Judaism
“JCJ provides a platform for me to advocate for legislation that aligns with my Jewish values while also creating meaningful relationships with the people I work with.”
— Jude H, High School Fellow
Empowering my daughter
“The JCJ fellowship program has helped her discover that her voice matters and that her contributions are meaningful.”
— Heather L, Parent
An opportunity few high schoolers have
“I jumped at the chance to travel to Sacramento again… because as teenagers, we need to start fighting for our future right now however we can.”
— Samantha A, JCJ LEAD Participant
The Micah D. Bycel Fund for Legislative Fellows
On August 27, 2022, the Jewish Center for Justice community suffered a devastating loss with the sudden and untimely death of Board Member Micah Bycel (z”l).
The JCJ community has created a special fund to honor Micah’s memory and secure his legacy. Micah was a kind and compassionate soul. He saw a broken world and was determined to make it better for his kids and the next generation. In his honor, The Micah D. Bycel Fund for Legislative Fellows will help shape the next generation of Jewish justice activists.
In addition to the Fund, we have renamed the program, The Micah D. Bycel Legislative Fellowship. All future fellows will learn of Micah’s memory and advocate for justice in his honor.
Recent Blog Posts
Justice resources for your Passover Seder
Each year, we gather around the Seder table to regale friends and family with the story of our ancestors escaping bondage in Egypt. We share stories of Moses’ growth from a boy who doesn’t know his true identity to a leader whom the Israelite people can turn to.
We honor Aaron’s righteousness as he aids his brother in the holy endeavor of convincing Pharaoh to free the Israelites. And we pay tribute to Miriam, our prophetess who helps the Israelite community find hope and joy in the face of an uncertain future.
This year, as we make our way around the Seder plate, we strive to see our ancestors’ suffering as a call to pursue justice for all people suffering from oppression and bondage. Here, we pair each item on the Seder plate with a piece of legislation that, if passed, would create a more free and just world.
Charoset – This mixture of apples, nuts, spices, and wine reminds us of the mortar our ancestors used to build Egyptian structures. Our Israelite ancestors were forced to build structures for Egyptian taskmasters without rights or workplace protections. In current times, we lack a safety net for our California’s farm workers. Senate Bill 227 would create an Excluded Workers Program to pay undocumented workers $300 per week for each week of unemployment, up to 20 weeks.
Maror – The bitter herbs, usually horseradish, represent the bitter yoke of slavery the Israelites experienced while enslaved in Pharaoh’s Egypt. And few things are more bitter or brutal in our world than solitary confinement. California Assembly Bill 280 would prohibit state detention facilities from holding an incarcerated person in segregated confinement for more than 15 consecutive days and no more than 45 days in a 180-day period.
Bietzah – The roasted egg is representative of the ancient festival sacrifice and the spring season during which we celebrate Passover. The egg on our Seder plate also reminds us of life and renewal. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, numerous states have enacted anti-abortion legislation that put mothers’ lives at risk. S. 701, or the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023, would restore the right to comprehensive reproductive health for millions of Americans.
Zeroa – The shank bone represents the paschal lamb which was sacrificed as the Passover offering. Our Passover story shares that the blood from this lamb was put over Israelite doors prior to the final plague, which brought the death of Egyptian firstborn children. Here, God acted as the Israelites’ caregiver, ensuring their families were protected. Today, too many people who serve as caregivers are discriminated against by employers. California Assembly Bill 524 provides additional legal protections against discrimination for family caregivers.
Karpas – Parsley, which is dipped into salt water, reminds us of the tears shed by our ancestors during their enslavement. Still today, too many working people cannot adequately provide for their family. Unfortunately, many of these individuals end up unhoused and living on the streets. AB 920 would expand the list of protected categories in California’s anti-discrimination law to include housing status. This would protect unhoused people from being targeted or denied access to programs and benefits by the state or state-funded agencies simply because of their housing status.
Orange – A modern addition to our Seder plates, the orange represents the members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been marginalized in our communities. If passed, SB 407 would ensure that California’s LGBTQ+ youth in foster care are placed in homes that are accepting of LGBTQ+ identities.
JCJ Updates: What is happening in Israel?
When Israel faces external threats, we often see it as our mission to educate the JCJ community, our partners, and the public at-large about what’s happening. This is typically an incredible responsibility as the nuance of each situation is usually missing from...
Three Actions You Can Take to Honor Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is the annual celebration of the contributions and achievements of women in United States history. While so much has been accomplished in the fight for equal rights, we also know that the path toward true justice is long. Our Jewish tradition...