These past few weeks, our pandemically traumatized nation was further shaken to its core by the death of George Floyd and the resurfacing of the centuries-old plague of systemic racism. "I can't breathe" wrenched our hearts as protesters took to the streets to demand justice and affirm that black lives matter. Jelani Cobb writes:
"The shock of revelation that attended the video of Floyd's death is itself a kind of inequality, a barometer of the extent to which one group of Americans have moved through life largely free from the burden of such terrible knowledge."
We are happy to announce that beginning Saturday, June 20, the J will offer weekend family recreational swim times. In order to participate, a reservation must be made ahead of time. Reservations are available beginning Thursday, June 18.
On behalf of the entire J staff and Board of Trustees, I hope that you and your family continue to be safe and healthy. We continue to see increased participation at the outdoor pool, tennis and fitness centers and look forward to seeing you soon. This week, for the first time since March 13, children and their parents were on the campus to meet and greet their teachers at the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School. Our staff are looking forward to reopening our Early Childhood programs in West Houston and Bertha Alyce, along with gymnastics, tennis and our new Summer Fun at the J program.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we implement our plans to reopen the J. We have had a successful first week of operations in fitness, tennis and aquatics, and we are now prepared to implement our next phase.
We are thrilled to share with you that effective Monday, June 15, we will reopen the Bertha Alyce School, Ellen Boniuk School in West Houston, Summer Fun at the J and Merfish Teen Center, and expand the use of the gymnastics facilities. Specific program details and our health and safety protocols for BAS, West Houston, Gymnastics and Summer Fun will be emailed later this week to all program participants.
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.