We’re in this together

May 26, 2020

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The phrase “we’re in this together” has never rung truer than in the last two months.

Our Jewish Tidewater community continues to rise to the extremely difficult challenge that the COVID-19 has presented all of us. Consider these examples: Beth Sholom Village is providing extraordinary care to its patients and residents, as well as creative socialization opportunities to connect them to their families and the community. Jewish Family Service is maintaining a vital safety net to clients throughout our community, connecting individuals and families to caregivers, counselors, and resources including emergency food and financial assistance. Strelitz International Academy, Toras Chaim, Bina School for Girls, and the Talmudical Academy continue to amaze us with their creative solutions for distance learning to keep our youngest community members engaged. The Simon Family JCC is expanding virtual fitness opportunities and outdoor classes. Federation programming and educational opportunities are rising to new levels by welcoming experts and authors to our community in a virtual setting. For Israel’s Independence Day, for example we participated in global Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations and presented an exciting morning of programming just for Tidewater, Israel Fest 2020@ Home. Finally, our synagogues ensure that congregants and community members are connected spiritually and are able to practice the observances and rituals so important to our faith. And, so much more.

Through all of this, our Jewish value of Kol Yisrael, taking care of one another, shines through. On Tuesday, May 5, all of our Jewish agencies, organizations, and synagogues joined together for “Giving Tuesday Now” to raise funds for our community’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. This Fund, spearheaded by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Tidewater Jewish Foundation, has begun to provide emergency support to our local institutions, as well as dollars for individual financial assistance needs through Jewish Family Service (see page 5). In addition, Tidewater Jewish Foundation has provided emergency grant funding to local affiliates.

Difficult decisions have also been made, including not holding an in-person camp for our youngest members, Camp Katan, at the Simon Family JCC, as well as delaying the start of Camp Gadol. We continue to rely on guidance from the CDC, government, and health officials to ensure that we provide a safe environment for campers this summer.

Safeguarding life, Pikuah Nefesh, is a guiding principle of Jewish law. Above all, this is the focus of our community each and every day. As we plan for the coming days, weeks, and months, we will strive to build community in new and innovative ways…together.

Betty Ann Levin
Executive Vice President/CEO
United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

Letter to the Editor