I hope that you and your families are safe and healthy. In this time of unprecedented isolation, we are all experiencing feelings of anxiety and unease. We have found ourselves in a position that doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, economic class, or religion — we are all in this together.
We are facing challenges that most of us have not faced in our lifetime. We are a people that has always thrived on togetherness — togetherness around Shabbat and holiday tables, in shuls, and in schools. Our togetherness is part of what makes us strong. That’s why we usually pray in unison, with a minyan, b’tzibur. Now we are being asked to pray individually in our homes, but rest assured that our collective prayers allow us to be strong even when we are not physically together. Distancing ourselves from others is more than difficult, and we are all adjusting.
I want to assure you that our Federation — your Federation — is facing these challenges head-on. Our focus now is to shift to virtual achdut (unity). This mentality extends into our Federation’s new way of working on behalf of our community. Our NuRoots Young Adult Engagement Initiative is reaching out to young Jewish adults via virtual coffee dates to maintain a sense of normalcy in their recently disrupted lives. For those in our community who need help getting back on their feet, our Ezra Network is offering its services virtually. It is incumbent on all of us to strengthen our community in this time of social distancing, and these are only a few examples of how we are working to that end.
We are here, in full force, as we always have been. We are committed, more than ever, to our mission to keep our community safe and secure. For the past 110 years, we have led our community — through earthquakes, fires, threats of terror, and financial crises — and we will lead our community through this crisis in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
We are leading thoughtfully and strategically in direct consultation with our local and global partners. We are deeply concerned about the well-being of our most vulnerable, and we are marshalling all of our resources in partnership with Jewish Family Service to address their needs.
We deeply appreciate our community’s inspirational rabbinic leadership during these challenging times as well as other creative leadership throughout our community.
Please look for updates by email and on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. In this new reality, we will be in contact more often to make sure we stay as connected to you as possible. If you or someone you know needs access to social services including financial assistance via our Max Factor Family Foundation Financial Assistance Network, please call our Community Call Line at (323) 761-8305. Calls will be fielded Monday-Thursday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM and Fridays from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Additionally, through Jewish Free Loan Association, you can get free, no-interest loans to cover expenses related to COVID-19.
No one is taking this situation lightly and everyone is handling it in their own way. We hope in this era of the unknown that this information provides some comfort and these resources offer help to anyone who needs it. Please share them widely.
With wishes for continued good health and a Shabbat Shalom,
Albert Z. Praw
Chair of the Board