Typically I write on Fridays, but during this difficult time I felt it was important to share more.
Amazing how much has changed in the past 10 days. Yesterday, Governor Brown instructed people to stay home except when traveling for essential work, buying food and similar critical supplies or returning to their own homes. I urge everyone to follow the directive.
We all continue to be impacted by this pandemic. And, understandably, we are concerned. These are very uncertain times. Please know that your Jewish community is here for you!
Let me share some important updates:
Our community’s COVID-19 crisis campaign has now raised over $675,000. THANK YOU to those who have contributed. Our communal goal is $750,000 and your support means a great deal to many. These funds will be used for emergency financial assistance and mental health support via Jewish Family and Child Service, a volunteer program to reduce social isolation and bring groceries/medications to those unable to leave their homes, and to assist our Jewish organizations with the financial fallout taking place, among other things.
One person in the community who donated wrote me, “I am trying to make a gift every day to the fund with the money I am not spending by staying home. It's not much but I trust it will add up. Thank you for helping take care of the community.” Maybe we can all think like this. This is truly a communal effort. Please donate here.
At the same time, the Jewish Federation has launched a community-wide volunteer assistance matching program. If you need assistance, let us know, since we have many people willing to help. If you are able to assist others (reach out to those isolated in their homes, as well as deliver food, medicines, and supplies), tell us. Click here (for help/to help) and fill out a very simple form and we will be in touch.
I would be remiss if I did not thank our medical personnel who are working tirelessly on our behalf. They are truly on the “front lines” and providing great care to those in need. Your efforts are not unnoticed.
I did receive an email from a local doctor who told me one of the key things we can do is give blood. Click here to find a blood drive near you. The MJCC is a potential location for future blood drives – just let us know if you are interested.
There are two articles I encourage you to read that describe the potential impact on the Jewish community and our organizations during this crisis. We certainly recognize that this pandemic goes well beyond the Jewish community, but your support throughout the years has created an incredible array of programs, services, and institutions. We do not want to lose that.
Please read this article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and this article by Rabbi Yehuda Kurtzer, President of The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. The messages are daunting.
While at home each day with my family (not easy with a daughter whose freshman year of college ended abruptly and hated having to come home, a son who is a high school junior with not enough structure during the day and no ice hockey at night, and a wife who has watched me turn our dining room into my office), I was thinking about the challenges of quarantine and isolation. It reminded me of something I learned at a parenting workshop by renowned child psychologist, Dan Kindlon of Harvard University.
His talk focused on the differences between children of “today” (well, I probably heard him in 2002 so some of this may be out of date) and children in the past. He discussed the fact kids have too much homework and not enough play time. He talked about the impact of video games and kids no longer playing outside with friends. He shared a few other issues, but one really jumped out at me then and now.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, the average American home was 1,800 square feet, had one bathroom, and oftentimes three generations living in the shared space. In 2002, the average home was 2,400 square feet, had multiple bathrooms, two generations living in the home and perhaps only one parent. His point was, back then the family was “on top of each other” all the time. There was forced interaction and sharing of common space. Today, we each seem to have our own space and, if we choose, do not need to see one another.
Well, with our current situation, those days are over. It is actually nice to rediscover each other and find ways to enjoy our space together. So, make the most of this experience!
I have shared multiple times with my colleagues that this is a marathon and not a sprint. We have no idea when the pandemic will end and the long-lasting impact on our community. But someone else said it even better -- “This feels like a sprint and a marathon at the same time.” Maybe it is. Let’s all get through this by staying home, practicing social distancing, washing our hands, and staying healthy. We are all in this together.
Let me end today with an inspiring message of hope and humor from former Soviet Refusenik and true Jewish superhero, Natan Sharansky. Sharansky, who spent nine years in various Soviet prisons, was recently asked how to deal with the challenges of social distancing and quarantine. In this video Sharansky shares five tips on how to survive (and even enjoy!) home isolation. Watch the short video -- what else do you have to do?
Thank you again to everyone who has donated to the crisis campaign or volunteered. And I look forward to sharing more on Friday during my regularly scheduled Marc’s Remarks.