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You give our Jewish community a better future



Federation, Jewish Agencies Step Up During COVID-19 Pandemic

Our community finds ways to stay safe while delivering essential services to those in need. Cont’d on page 2


Two weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, the staff at the Mayerson JCC were concerned they wouldn’t be able to keep delivering meals to isolated seniors. Mayerson JCC’s Meals on Wheels program delivers prepared kosher meals for seniors who have difficulty shopping or cooking. What they accomplished—in record time—is impressive. Susan Bradley Meyer, the JCC’s Director of Senior Adult Services, managed the solution with help from dedicated staff and volunteers. The J pushed on its suppliers and ordered hundreds of shelf-stable meals to help carry its clients through. Then staff helped prepare thousands of frozen and shelf-stable meals. The meals stacked up, eventually completely filling the freezers.

JCC Kitchen staff & Meals on Wheels program successfully delivers 5,000 meals in record time.

Staff and volunteers then turned around to quickly deliver 14-days-worth of meals: that’s 5,000 meals. The JCC is continuing with regular deliveries. As of April 22nd, they have delivered over 13,300 meals.

COVID-19: Fear, Hate, and Antisemitism You, through the JCRC, fight for equality and justice During this challenging time, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a part of the Jewish Federation, continues its work of tracking incidents of antisemitism, bias, and hate. We know from history that widespread fear leads to an increase in hateful rhetoric as well as bias-related incidents and crimes.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING If you see a hateful image or rhetoric on social media, report the post to the social media site itself. If you see something locally, please report it to Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC at


On February 21, the Cincinnati JCRC was proud to sign a letter to the Chinese American community, expressing the Jewish community’s support and partnership in fighting hate against their community. Over the past weeks, we have observed a steady increase in expressions of bigotry, xenophobia, and antisemitism, including conspiracy theories, and more attacks against the Asian-American community. The JCRC will continue working with partner organizations to monitor these incidents and respond to them.


20 Couples Explore Israel Together “The feeling is indescribable.”

created the opportunity (before COVID-19) for 20 couples to have fun, make challah, and experience Israel together.

“The love, community, and family created on Honeymoon Israel is hard to describe. We all bonded by letting down our guard and opening up our hearts.” —participant, HoneyMoon Israel trip, February 2020 Twenty couples arrived in Jerusalem the morning of February 14—before COVID-19 restrictions stopped most travel to Israel—and within the first hour were learning how to make challah with a top Israeli chef. “This trip is about how to be intentional about incorporating Jewish values into a couples’ home for their own relationship, for their children, and for future generations,” said Jaynie Levinson, group leader for the Jewish Federation. Honeymoon Israel is a national organization that provides immersive trips to Israel for local couples who have at least one Jewish partner and who are early in their marriage or in a committed relationship. The goal is to build community. Honeymoon Israel collaborated with The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, the Federation, and the Mayerson JCC to subsidize the trip.

“This has been one of the most influential experiences of my life.”


As the global Jewish community’s 9-1-1, JDC is already hard at work fighting COVID-19 around the world.

—Honeymoon Israel participant Brendan Saddlemire

Working with our agencies: Federation is assessing immediate and long-term needs of our partner agencies and congregations. Eighty percent of our agencies report they do not have, or are not sure if they have, the dollars to support community needs. How to re-open safely: Our new SAFE Re-Open Facilities Group is convening our congregations, agencies, schools, and organizations. It curates guidance and emerging best practices; including assessing the need for COVID-19 screening, safety equipment, and sanitizing supplies; and creating checklists to clarify the many complex issues. How you help in Israel: JDC distributed over 4,500 hygiene and activity kits to Israeli Arab and Bedouin families through volunteers, with materials about how to use them and how to practice social distancing. |3

YOU ARE CRUCIAL Rise up. Do good. Be safe. In the face of this crisis, caring for one another is our top priority. More than ever, Jewish Cincinnatians need your help. Donate now to the Annual Campaign—our safety net. GIVE TODAY

You Keep Hungry People Fed During COVID-19 Dear Friend, This crisis has disrupted our lives. But you have reason to be proud—because every day, you are doing so much good. This starts with the essentials: food. Food is harder now. But you are providing vulnerable community members with pre-bagged groceries through the Jewish Family Service (JFS) Heldman Family Food Pantry in Clifton, which remains open with regular pantry hours during this time of crisis. While open, the pantry has put strong safety measures in place for its staff and clients. Recently, Beth Kotzin, JFS Volunteer Programs Manager, and her three sons (all volunteers), went above and beyond to get a big delivery from the Freestore Foodbank and bring it back. “As JFS staff members, it’s important to us to keep the pantry up and running for our clients,” Kotzin said. “In these difficult and confusing times, no one should be worried about where their next meal is coming from right now.” JFS staff are in direct communication with existing 4|

clients, giving instructions on how they can get their grocery supplies. While the food pantry does not currently take walk-ins, JFS continues to accept new clients through the Jewish community’s new, confidential COVID-19 hotline (513-766-3333). Although we must remain socially distant, we are making a huge difference together. Because together, we can do virtually anything. Please, stay safe and mentally and physically strong during these difficult times,

Shep Englander, CEO Jewish Federation of Cincinnati