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Be a Part of Growing Hope

JCC Chicago’s Growing Hope is powered by YOU, so let your voice be heard! We are now accepting applications for young visual and performing artists. Selected artists 14-24 yrs will be featured in the Growing Hope Concert event at Gallagher Way on September 25th.

Applications accepted through Sunday, July 14; you do not need to be Jewish to apply.


Performing Artists  Visual Artists


On April 14, 2024, JCC Chicago proudly premiered Growing Hope, a documentary that captures the story of Violins of Hope Chicago, and how JCC Chicago is focused on making our world a better, more hopeful place. Ours is the story about how one agency, a Jewish community center in middle America, had the foresight and determination to stand up for what is good and right at a time when the world needed it the most. Narrated exquisitely by actor David Eigenberg, best known for his roles as Lieutenant Christopher Herrmann on NBC’s Chicago Fire and Steve Brady on HBO’s Sex and the City.

Register for a complimentary encore showing of this film on June 1, 1pm at Wayfarer Theater in Highland Park.

Learn More & Register


triumph of the spirit

Triumph of the Spirit

JCC Chicago’s newest exhibit, features Jewish athletes before, during & after the Holocaust. Featuring reproductions of rare memorabilia from the collection of Neil Keller, this dynamic exhibit tells the stories of the incredible resiliency and unshakable spirit of courageous Jewish athletes in the face of the atrocities of the Holocaust, and the foundation established for future generations of Jewish athletes. Open now at the Gail Borden Public Library and Northbrook Public Library. Neil will be speaking on May 14, 7pm at the Northbrook Public Library. 

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humans of october 7

Humans of October 7

JCC Chicago’s Growing Hope presents this ongoing project from famed Israeli artist and photojournalist Erez Kaganovitz that brings to light the human stories of the unique Israelis who stood up against terrorism. The exhibit shows the Israeli DNA at its best and exemplifies the incredible spirit and resilience of the Israeli people. Erez Kaganovitz appearing live with exhibit on May 16 at Lake County JCC, Lake Zurich and on May 17 at Bernard Weinger JCC, Northbrook.



When it comes to film, our goal is to inspire movie-goers to expand their understanding of Jewish culture and to bring a wide-variety of thought provoking and entertaining films, with a Jewish lens, to our community. We feature films that have a Jew-ish connection to life, culture, history both on-screen and behind-the-scenes. Our curated film selections aspire to encourage discussion and inspire hope, kindness, tolerance and inclusion.

jcc chicago jewish film festival artwork

JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival

The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival screens films of all genres, for all generations. Festival films will inform, inspire and ignite emotion. They honor Jewish filmmakers, writers and actors—and those committed to repairing the world through brave, artistic expression. The JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival has grown from modest beginnings to engaging over 65,000 movie-goers in our 10 years! The Film Festival runs June 1-23, 2024.

Visit the Festival


JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival Student Film Competition

We invite student filmmakers to develop short stories around the themes of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, community, kindness, role modeling, stewardship of the earth, Jewish holidays or historical events — to educate, inform and inspire behaviors and beliefs that will change the world for the better. The competition is closed for 2024.

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ReelAbilities Chicago Film Festival

Hosted in partnership with JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival. Celebrating disability, inclusion and accessibility through wide-ranging international films including shorts, features, narratives & documentaries, the ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the world dedicated to showcasing ground-breaking films by and about people with disabilities. Coming Fall 2024.

Concert & Music Video


An inspiring free concert featuring the haunting sounds of violins once played by the hands of Holocaust victims and survivors are juxtaposed against today’s pop, rap, hip-hop, jazz, and country music. In partnership with Chicago Cubs and Gallagher Way.

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Music Video

The Growing Hope theme song and video debuted at the Growing Hope concert event, created by award-winning composer, Wendell Hanes, in partnership with the Chicago Cubs.

Curriculum & Educational Programming

These proprietary materials feature lessons and activities designed to teach the concepts of kindness, empathy, and resilience, and to encourage youth to change the world for the better by becoming upstanders in their communities.

Each lesson employs an integrated arts approach, and features opportunities for students to engage with the material through poetry, theater, storytelling and the visual arts.

For more information on these educational resources, or to schedule a demo, please contact Kevin Pease, Director of the Growing Hope Program at

Sowing the Seeds of a Brighter Future: Cook County United Against Hate is Growing Hope

JCC Chicago has been proud to partner with Cook County United Against Hate, starting with our Violins of Hope Chicago initiative in 2023. What was a big idea all about kindness, unity and hope inspired JCC Chicago to launch a movement that we call Growing Hope. Read More

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Contact Us

For more information about Growing Hope, please email us.