The death of George Floyd and the protests across the world continue to be a reminder of how deep the pain is in our society. We are reminded of the universally applicable Jewish value to love your neighbor as yourself.
When I was in elementary school, I was given an assignment to interview one of my grandparents about World War II. I chose to interview my Poppy Joe, who I knew had served in the army during that time, though I knew little else. We sat down in my grandparents’ kitchen and he told me all about how he flew planes over Burma. He had immigrated to the United States from Poland at 7 years old, and he was so proud to have served his country. And I was so proud to hear his story! I knew him as a small business owner who loved swing music and a good joke, and I had no idea about his military history. The interview revealed a completely new side of my grandfather to me, and I still treasure the recording of it to this day.
On behalf of the entire J staff and board of trustees, we look forward to reopening the fitness and tennis centers and outdoor pool this Sunday, May 31. So much has changed since we closed on March 16, and it is essential that you take the time to review a number of critically important documents to maximize everyone’s health and safety.
Over these past few months, it has quickly become a daily ritual in cities around the world to step outside and applaud the essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a small but meaningful way to honor those who are risking their lives for the health, safety and well-being of others. Countless YouTube videos show people cheering, singing, clapping, honking and singing in appreciation, and it is truly beautiful to watch.
As we plan to reopen the J, the health, safety and well-being of our members and staff continues to be our first priority. Our hearts are guided by our values of caring for those we serve, combined with the need to keep you healthy so we can all connect as a community more quickly.
After reviewing information, data, guidelines and recommendations provided by national, state and local leaders, healthcare providers and scientists, we have developed a plan for reopening in the safest way possible. We also recognize the need to be flexible, as information continues to change daily. We are eager to open again, as we have missed seeing all of you, yet meeting our community’s most critical needs takes priority over any other driving force.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to evaluate and plan for the upcoming summer at the J. Our ongoing discussions have focused on how we can provide a meaningful summer experience to fulfill families’ child care needs in a safe and healthy environment. It remains our goal to provide such summer programming, though it will be very different from a typical summer.
I hope that this message finds you safe and well. Although none of us really know when the J will reopen, I do want to share with you that our staff and committees are conducting extensive research and partnering with many national and local entities to learn about ways that we will need to modify our operations to provide you with an environment that will ensure everyone's safety and well being.
A Jewish couple is shipwrecked on a desert island, stranded for years. Using materials from around the island, they build a house, a store, and a synagogue. Eventually, they've made a whole neighborhood.
One day, they are rescued by a passing ship. The sailors help them collect their few possessions and get ready to leave the island forever. Just before they depart, one of the sailors notices a second synagogue and asks, “Hey! Why’d you build two synagogues?”
With two weeks into social distancing and the city’s new stay at home order, we wanted to share some entertainment you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. We know it doesn’t compare to being together in the theatre – greeting friends, catching up, and giving hugs, but we hope it helps provide a distraction in this challenging time. Until we can reconvene in person, we hope you enjoy these suggestions for books, movies, TV shows, and other ways to enjoy the arts all through a Jewish or Israeli lens.