Our Crisis Response: A Message to Our Community

On Wednesday morning, I watched Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s remarkable message to the global Jewish community about the crisis in our midst. He reminded us about the “values of community and mutual responsibility ingrained in our Jewish tradition.” Those values are guiding us at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and at our fellow Jewish organizations as we collaborate, improvise, and implement ways to keep our connections strong while we safeguard our health.

I’d like to share with you what your Federation has been up to now since the crisis accelerated. Through the steps detailed below, we are helping our community pivot and meet the challenge. We will need your generous support in this challenging time, now more than ever.

We Are Providing Safety Guidance and Support for Our Community

SAFE Washington – Your community security program is firing on all cylinders to keep Jewish organizations abreast of the latest protection guidance and requirements from Public Health – Seattle & King County, the Centers for Disease Control, and other relevant agencies. I encourage you to stay informed through our regularly updated COVID-19 resource and information web page.

Convening – We have already convened the CEOs of many Jewish organizations to strategize collaboratively and will continue to do so. We will be convening community organizations in a virtual town hall next week to share knowledge, brainstorm collectively, and support each other.

We Are Serving as the Community Voice

Community Calendar – We are updating our Community Calendar as new information on virtual events comes in.

Puget Sound Jewish Life Email – We will keep you abreast of changing, canceled, and new opportunities through Puget Sound Jewish Life, the Monday evening email that we retooled to keep you informed about how our community is protecting our collective health and nurturing the connections that are so important to Jewish life.

***Please Take Action TODAY, Nonprofits Need Your Help***

We advocate for our community and at this moment we need you to take action. A massive pandemic response bill to help businesses stay afloat is moving quickly in Congress. We need to make sure that Jewish Federations and other nonprofits receive aid as well.  We urge you to contact Washington Senators Cantwell and Murray TODAY. Ask them to include $60 billion in economic stimulus and other support specifically for the nonprofit sector, provide additional funding to support front-line healthcare workers and other caregivers, and ensure children and families have access to food they need to survive during this time.

We Are Supporting Ongoing Community Engagement (Creatively)

Nearly all community events have been put on hold or canceled, including our own Teen Israel Leadership Institute and the Cardozo Society L’Dor V’Dor gathering.

Our community engagement leaders from multiple Jewish organizations have been collaborating to imagine, plan, and provide new ways of connecting in cyberspace when we must stay apart physically. Tuesday, we held our first  virtual PJ LibraryⓇ Song & Story Time. There was so much interest, we maxed out the capacity of the Zoom meeting we reserved for the event! Don’t worry, we’ve updated the system to allow for more than 100 participating families moving forward! That’s a heartening sign of how much people cherish the relationships that are the beating heart of community. We will continue offering these virtual experiences. Right now, these PJ events are scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

On Thursday, the Federation and Jewish Family Service collaborated to put on the first of three virtual pre-Passover learning sessions with Rabbi Samuel Klein, our Director of Jewish Engagement, and Beth Huppin, Jewish Family Service’s Project Kavod/Dignity Director. There were 150 community participants who tuned in to share the learning experience together.

 Tonight, we are hosting an online Shabbat for our Honeymoon Israel and Rest & Refresh cohorts, in partnership with Temple De Hirsch Sinai. We anticipate approximately 50 participants will virtually gather.

We Need You Now More Than Ever

To do all of this, we rely on your generous support during normal times and will rely on it more than ever at this challenging time. We are only able to respond so quickly and do so much because of our annual campaign. Please help us continue to do this vital work.

In his address to the global Jewish community, President Rivlin said, “Our mutual responsibility is the fundamental value that has always protected us. This is the Jewish spirit, and if we guard it, it will guard us as well.”

We all have that Jewish spirit. We all care about each other and our community. Together, we have the power to confront this crisis and emerge on the other side, stronger than ever.

Nancy B. Greer, President & CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle