JCUA Votes Board of Directors:
Benetta Mansfield, Co-Chair
Andie Linker, Co-Chair
Max Yenkin, Treasurer
Hilary Johns Felton
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
Members of our Political Committee:
Born and raised in California, Alison has been in Chicago for the better part of a decade working in nonprofit research across several sectors including education, community programming, human services, and the arts. She’s worked extensively as an actor in Chicago and regionally, as well as teaching contact improv, Shakespeare, audition technique, and physical performance. She was a member of the 2021 EMILY’s List Ignite Change Fellowship, the 2017 Development Leadership Consortium Cohort, and an active member of the campaign to unionize staff at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (and we won!). Alison is thrilled to be on the JCUA Votes Political Committee because she believes strongly in the power of community, choice, tikkun olam, and voting to uplift the many and not the few.
Hilary Johns Felton
Hilary was born and raised in Northern California and made her way to Chicago for law school. After 20 years, she knows her true home is, and always will be, Chicago. She works for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services in the Office of the General Counsel. She is passionate about the equitable administration of government programs and services, ensuring that every person she works with is treated with respect, and feels heard and understood. Hilary spends her free time reading, rooting for her California sports teams and spending time with her run club. The highlight of her week is hopping on her family’s Shabbat zoom is that going strong after 2.5 years of the pandemic. Hilary is excited to be part of JCUA Votes during an extraordinary moment in municipal politics, affording us the opportunity for true and meaningful change in Chicago.
A lifelong advocate for progressive social change, Marty founded the Jewish Alliance for Economic Justice. He serves currently as a Coordinating Committee member of the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, is a member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, served on the CPAC negotiating committee, and has been active with the Jewish Council for Urban Affairs’ Fair Tax Amendment and Police Reform campaigns. Marty Levine, a social worker by training, helped lead the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago for 40 years until he retired in 2016. Since he stepped down, he has consulted and helped build the strength of small community service organizations from Gary to Waukegan. He is excited to do the the work of better aligning our elected officials with our vision of a just society.
Raised in the north suburbs, Max Yenkin is a resident of Lincoln Square and is the treasurer for the JCUA Votes board. In his professional life he has worked in organizing political campaigns’ field operations. He currently works in advocacy and nonprofit development. For fun he spends his time cooking, biking, and taking transit around Chicago to find delicious spots to eat! He is so excited to be on the first JCUA Votes board to help build Jewish progressive power in Chicago and create a political home for anyone looking to build our movement from the ground up!
Tex Pasley lives in Uptown with his spouse, Rachel, their 14-week-old son, Ezra, and their two rambunctious cats, Maya (Angelou) and bell (hooks). When he is not volunteering with JCUA, he concocts home fermentation experiments and explores Chicago’s ethnic food scene. He also cares deeply about nature and the environment, and enjoys reading about natural history and exploring the freshwater ecosystems of the Midwest (in all weathers). By day, Tex works as a lawyer for a small law firm, representing plaintiffs in complex class actions and creative impact litigation. Tex joined JCUA after moving to Chicago in 2019 and volunteered extensively with the 2020 Fair Tax campaign to pass a graduated income tax in Illinois. He is excited to be a part of the JCUA Votes political committee because he believes that direct engagement with electoral politics is essential to implementing JCUA’s progressive vision for the city and state.
Kira is from New York City and has lived in Chicago for the past 3 years, where she’s worked in housing justice and wealth redistribution spaces. Having previously worked with Jane Addams Seniors in Action, she is excited to be on the JCUA Votes Political Committee to imagine what is possible when we bring progressive Jewish voices to the electoral sphere. Kira is energized by base building, co-governance, and baking sourdough bread.
Ethan has been an active JCUA member for the last 6 years, participating in campaigns such as Fair Tax, ECPS, and #EraseTheDatabase. He currently works as an organizer at Austin Coming Together and is in graduate school for urban planning. I have been wanting JCUA to start a C4 for years! I truly believe that supporting progressive movement candidates who are running for local office can help us build people power and win our issue based campaigns. I am so excited to be a part of JCUA Votes political committee and develop the processes necessary for this new organization to be member-led and dynamic for years to come.
Veranda is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign! She is originally from the west side of Chicago. She excited to be a part of the JCUA Votes Political Committee because these elections affect people’s everyday lives and can bring about the most change in Chicago.
While Beth’s (she/her) professional work has been in website content management for nonprofit organizations, user-centered design, and software development her true passion is doing advocacy with the JCUA Immigration Committee as part of an amazing coalition of organizations. Big wins happen when we meet with our legislators and they know that we’re prepared and persistent. She’s excited that JCUA Votes will deepen our members’ impact on who are our elected officials. Beth has done precinct work, phone banking, and voter registration for many years and believes that JCUA Votes will be an important force by making endorsements and engaging in campaign work. Year-round Beth spends time in nature taking long walks and gardening at an Evanston bird sanctuary, and she’s currently studying Spanish.
Dalya Lessem Elnecave
Dalya is a former intern at JCUA and serves as a member of the Youth Organizing Caucus. They are the youth liaison to the Housing and Economic Justice Committee and the Youth Co-Lead of the Queer Youth Caucus. They are also a member of 39th Ward Neighbors United where they are working to get Denali Dasgupta elected as alderman. They also really like talking about juries. They can’t wait to help build Jewish political power in Chicago. As a non-voter, they are so excited that JCUA Votes is providing them an opportunity to make their voice heard in local politics.
Emily’s organizing origin story begins at JCUA as a former participant in JCUA’s teen programming, now over 10 years ago! In 2018-2019 Emily was the Avodah organizer at JCUA. Since then, while continuing to be an active JCUA member, Emily has worked in a number of organizing and political roles in both staff and volunteer capacities. This includes being both a local Chicago and national organizer with the youth climate organization Sunrise Movement, and now as the Campaign Manager for Angela Clay running to be the next Alderperson in the 46th ward. Through all of these experiences and more, Emily has gone deep in relational organizing and leadership development, direct action and advocacy, and electoral politics. When not in organizing mode Emily loves communal singing, collaging, and jumping into Lake Michigan when the weather allows!
Rachel Doherty works at the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, where she is a Department of Justice partially-accredited representative. She has been a member of JCUA since she participated in the college organizing fellowship in 2018-2019. Since then, she has become a leader in the Immigration Justice Campaign. This year, she was recognized by Jewish United Fund Chicago as a 36 under 36 honoree. Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University. She is excited to be part of the JCUA Votes political committee because she sees JCUA Votes as the next step in building our community’s power in the Chicago area, and hopes to make powerful demands of politicians, amplify progressive Jewish voices, and get our own organizers informed and elected.
Iszy Hirschtritt Licht
As a member of JCUA and the Immigration Committee, Iszy know the power of our coalitions. Alongside others in the JCUA community and our partners, we have been able to create policy change through direct action, lobbying, education, phone banking, canvassing, social media posts, and more. He is excited for JCUA Votes to expand our tools for enacting change and enable us to directly develop relationships with elected officials. More importantly, he sees JCUA Votes as a way to grow our community and our voice. JCUA Votes will bring in and reengage members, foster a community that is actively learning and building political identity, and empower us to advance justice throughout our city, our state, and our nation.
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
As a resident of Uptown, Suzanne has been inspired to work for affordable housing and against gentrification and displacement, first with ONE Northside and now with JCUA as well. She has also participated in other JCUA campaigns with the immigration and public safety committees, and she is excited to be on the founding board and political committee of JCUA Votes to help build power by electing officials with whom we can co-govern in order to advance our issue work. While she has also served as a rabbi in Hillel and congregational settings, Suzanne’s primary professional identity is as a chaplain, and she looks forward to using her “superpower” of deep listening to support fellow JCUA Votes (and JCUA) members through our work together.
Hannah Ruby is a born-and-raised Hyde Parker. They’re a third-generation Rodfei Tzedek member and a recent graduate of Kenwood Academy High School. They have been organizing with JCUA for four years. They love to read, write, and argue. With primary self-interest under the Community Safety Committee, Hannah is a part of several Youth Programs at JCUA. They’re interested in architecture, choral music, and wacky earrings. They are excited that JCUA Votes will give youth organizers a chance to be more intimate in understanding what we want from our politicians so that when it comes time for us to be able to engage in democracy, we are more confident. Youth voices are incredibly valuable at JCUA Votes: the politicians we elect now will be my generation’s responsibility in the future.
Jack is a lifelong, 4th generation, Chicagoland resident. He previously campaigned for police reform with the Public Safety committee, and has volunteered for aldermanic and congressional candidates who support progressive policies. He loves composting and reading old detective novels. He lives in Logan Square. Jack is excited to get back to work building the power of Chicago’s progressive Jewish community through electoral organizing.