Despite some hopeful signs that, at least in California, our compliance with social distancing guidelines is helping to flatten the coronavirus infection-rate curve, clearly we are in for many more weeks of hunkering down.
That means continuing to shelter in place, which will only increase the economic suffering.
Yet even in the face of unimaginable disruption and so many aspects of normal Jewish life grinding to a halt, our Bay Area Jewish community is rallying to support one another. As detailed in our extensive coronavirus coverage, mobilization has been swift and sure.
For example, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation is raising millions of dollars to provide assistance to vulnerable populations, including seniors and furloughed workers. The Federation also pumped more than $1 million into the coffers of Hebrew Free Loan, which had been inundated with loan requests exceeding funds on hand.
At Jewish Family and Children’s Services in S.F. and Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay, social workers are in battlefield mode, fanning out to aid everyone from special-needs kids to homebound seniors at grave risk of contracting the virus. For clients in need of therapy, Skype and Zoom have allowed JFCS therapists to stay in touch, helping clients navigate their terrors as normal life has been upended.
Countless ordinary folks in the Jewish community have answered the call to volunteer.
Like health care workers across the country, these professionals are heroes, and our gratitude is endless.
Innovative solutions have been popping up all over the community. Synagogues, Jewish day schools and other educational institutions have quickly shifted to online distance learning and livestreaming services, so that even as we shelter in place, Jewish life continues to thrive.
Then, there are the volunteers. Countless ordinary folks in the Jewish community have answered the call to manage phone banks, deliver groceries and hot meals, and call or visit the sick and frail elderly trapped in their homes. It says everything about our community that when so many are in need, we overcome the impulse, born out of fear, to shut ourselves off.
Of course all of these efforts cost money, an increasingly precious commodity these days. For readers who can afford to give a little (or a lot), we need you to step up and donate generously. Now more than ever, our community is relying on the kindness of others. This is the time.
May you, your family and friends stay safe and healthy, and may we come back from this pandemic stronger and more united than ever.