NEW YORK – Eight major Jewish organizations led by The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) formed an emergency coalition today to help the Jewish community collectively respond rapidly and effectively to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Jewish life.
Among the initial top priorities will be to clearly identify and broadly share the reality of short and long-term interruption of service to the Jewish community; work together to obtain both public and private financial aid to ensure Jewish institutions can continue to provide critical services; coordinate to leverage each member organization’s resources; collaborate to support Jewish communal professionals who have been impacted by layoffs or reduction of work; and share other common challenges and best practices in responding to the crisis.
The coalition, which will seek to assess the pandemic’s impact on the millions of people served by more than 1,000 member organizations, includes BBYO, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Hillel International, JCC Association of North America, Moishe House, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, and Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools. The group includes the major national network organizations that focus on human services and education.
“Working together and collectively we can achieve more than any one of us can do alone,” said Mark Wilf, chair of the Board of Trustees of JFNA. “We are all being challenged by this crisis to sustain Jewish communal life in North America and it is heartwarming to know we are empowering and supporting each other to sustain Jewish life and the work we all do to help others at this critical time.”
Meeting regularly in the coming weeks and months, the coalition will:
- Ensure ongoing communication and information-sharing;
- Develop and implement shared strategies to maintain services to the Jewish community to the greatest extent possible;
- Protect and support professionals in health and economic crisis;
- Preserve communal infrastructure through combined advocacy efforts, shared planning and resources, and coordinated fundraising.
“Hillel International has an important role to play in supporting Jewish college students as they navigate this period of social distancing and isolation and to ensure Jewish life is waiting for them when they return to campus,” said Skip Vichness, Ph.D., Chair, Hillel International Board of Directors. “Through this coalition, we will work with our community partners to support our professionals and students throughout this crisis, and to develop the resources, programs and tools that sustain Jewish life for students for the months and years to come.”
Recognizing that there are additional critical networks within the Jewish communal ecosystem, JFNA has been and will continue coordinating with other Jewish engagement organizations and the denominational congregational movements.
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