Within the past month or so, there have been lots of changes – big ones, little ones, and everything in between. Most of our lives are completely different than they were “pre-coronavirus.”

The lack of normalcy and human interaction can really have a negative impact on a person’s psyche. Add into that the fear of the unknown, and well, it can be quite daunting.

In times like these, great leadership is a critical piece of the puzzle we are all so desperately trying to keep together. When I think of those who exhibited exceptional leadership in times of crisis, names like Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Golda Meir come to mind. They were able to pull together available resources to help the largest number of people possible. And even though people may not have known where things were going, their leadership provided much needed comfort and reassurance that the difficult times would pass.

The JCC Association of North America (JCCA) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) have exhibited outstanding leadership throughout this pandemic. JCCA, led by President/CEO Doron Krakow and chair Gary Jacobs, has kept JCCs throughout the nation connected through Zoom meetings and daily emails. They have provided opportunities for us to share pertinent information with each other. In addition, JCCA has suspended monthly dues for April, giving a small reprieve to institutions that are just trying to survive at this point.

JFNA, led by President/CEO Eric Fingerhut and Board of Trustees chair Mark Wilf, has also provided incredible resources. I have been in constant contact with small Federations, which has allowed us to share incredibly valuable information with each other. JFNA has also created a website for Federations which includes information about how to keep the Jewish community connected. One suggestion on the website is to create a virtual community – which we have done. Click here to check it out and see the creative ways in which we are working to keep you connected.

What I have personally discovered is that this pandemic has forced all of us to be creative – at home and in the workplace. From virtual story times, to fitness classes, to mahjong online (for which I am putting together a tutorial), it has shown us the friendlier side of technology. Much of the social media chutzpah has been replaced with people supporting each other, offering encouraging words, and sharing thought-provoking ideas with one another.

It has also produced another very welcome result – the frivolous noise that many of us experienced in our lives seems to have disappeared, even if only temporarily. People are focusing on what is really important. People are appreciating the things they may have previously taken for granted. In a strange way, physical distancing has brought us closer together.

With all of that said, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I am looking forward to regular life returning. One final note: To those of you that are suffering from this virus, or your loved ones are suffering, I extend my prayers for a complete recovery. To those who may have lost a friend or loved one to this virus, our community mourns with you and is here to support you.



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