As we look at humanity’s hierarchy of needs, Jewish Federation works throughout the pyramid. We direct funding to the hungry, but we have also had the luxury of working on long-term projects to benefit the Jewish community, our significance and our purpose. And now we have COVID-19. There is not a single item on my “high priority” to-do list from last week that is in any way a priority this week.
Let’s start at the base of the pyramid with the basic need of food. Food insecurity is not new to our community and likely the problem will be getting worse. Thank you to Shalom Food Pantry for being on the front lines and doubling your distributions this week. Please let us know if anyone needs community assistance or if you can help volunteer for the effort.
We also have people in our community who cannot or should not leave their homes who need groceries, prepared food, or both. Thank you to Jewish Family Services for taking the lead with shopping and distributing groceries to our homebound. Again, if you need assistance or can help volunteer, please let us know. We have a section of the website dedicated to COVID-19 where you can let us know what you need or if you can help.
Jewish Family Services is also helping get people to essential doctor appointments. Please let us know if you need help with this as well.
Once again, this week I was privileged to join the board of rabbis for its (now) weekly meeting. While the rabbis, and the synagogues they represent, approach Jewish law differently, I continue to be amazed at their civility and respect with which they operate. The rabbis spoke about their individual needs as well as their collective need to keep our community members connected while isolated. We are a communal people and, while necessary today, social distancing conflicts with our core values. This past Shabbat, the first of possibly many with no open synagogue, was very difficult. We will be tested further when we cannot support each other at funerals or shivas, and we are all concerned about what will happen for Passover.
So, also new on our coronavirus page, we will be sharing the plethora of virtual classes and services from our rabbis and synagogues. As you will see, the orthodox will have afternoon and evening virtual services together, but without counting a minyan; the conservative will have the services, but will count a minyan; the reform will have zoom or live-streamed Shabbat services. Not all synagogues are included yet, but we will post information as soon as we receive it.
Federation does not close. We have been here for decades addressing needs locally, in Israel, and around the world. Needs change, but Federation’s commitment to addressing them does not.
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