We have made the difficult decision to cancel all non-essential programs and close all facilities of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, which includes the Merfish Teen Center, Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School, Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood Center, Houston Gymnastics Center, Fitness Center and Boniuk Family Tennis Center beginning Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 29.
As essential services, we will continue to offer both:
- Meals on Wheels - delivers meals to homebound seniors living in Southwest Houston and is the only provider of Kosher meals in Houston; and
- J Ride - provides safe, reliable, non-emergency medical transportation for Jewish adults age 60 plus and adults with disabilities. Please visit our website if you need that service.
Non-essential programs will include all adult and children classes, recreational facilities and programs, any rentals including birthday parties. Our Houston Jewish Film Festival and Jewish CultureFest will be canceled on their current dates and a decision will be announced at a later time regarding new plans.
We will be back in touch with you to update you as we know more, by the last week of March.
We want to be clear: We are not aware of ANY reports of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 at our Houston J. We are taking this step because we are listening to health experts who say the best way to keep everyone safe is to practice social distancing.
We know that now more than ever, many in our community will feel isolated. We are committed to our core values and we know we are MORE THAN JUST BUILDINGS. As we write this letter, our staff is mobilizing to create virtual opportunities for us to stay connected in the areas of family engagement, health and wellness, Jewish learning, and arts and ideas. Please take a look at our web page for virtual program offerings throughout the next two weeks; it will be updated often.
To our JCC Members and enrolled program participants: please know that we take seriously the investment you make in your and your family's JCC participation. We will communicate directly with you as soon as we are able regarding your membership or missed programs. As our staff is occupied prioritizing health and safety and reorganizing certain operations, your patience is appreciated.
There is so much we don't know, and yet what we know is also powerful. We know that we are responsible for one another. We know that at times like this, generosity expands our sense of well-being. We know that when we are kinder and more caring, we not only help others but help ourselves as well.
At the end of the day, the board of directors and the staff made this decision together. We did so with tremendous thoughtfulness and care for the community and staff. It is in just these moments when we understand how important the volunteer/staff partnership really is, and ours is quite extraordinary.
We also want to give a huge shout out to the entire staff of the J. They are the most dedicated folks we have ever seen and are balancing their own health concerns; travel issues, and family challenges along with the rest of us. We are all strong for their commitment and dedication.
We hope to have better news in the weeks to come. Please look for more communication from the J no later than the last week in March. We are a resilient community, and we know we will get through this—together. In the meantime, please do everything you can to stay healthy and ensure the health of those around you.
CEO, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC
Lauren Kaufman Blachman
President, Board of Directors