Message From The President
My fellow congregants:
As I sit at my desk to write this, the weather outside is magnificent; a warm breeze is blowing, the sun is out, and it looks like spring has finally arrived. Even better, our governor has announced that progress is being made in the battle against COVID-19. Social distancing and the sacrifices we are making to reduce transmission are having an effect. While no one can say when life will return to the way it was earlier this year, I am hopeful it will be soon.
However, the reality is that we are still under restrictions that impact our ability to gather together in synagogue. While state and county parks have been reopened, the stay-at-home order remains in effect. New Jersey is one of 10 states that does not have an exemption for religious institutions, which means that The Jewish Center must remain closed for now.
However, that does not mean that we can't get together to pray, to learn, to meet and to have fun. It is only the venue that has changed. Through our live stream and Zoom accounts, anyone who wants to join a service, take one of our Adult Education classes, participate in a group meeting, or even play mahjong can do so. We can have a "virtual minyan" on-line. Shabbat services and special events (such as the annual Congregation Meeting) are open for your participation even if you do not want to get dressed - you can stay in your sweats and not comb your hair. The Interim Rabbi Search Committee researched and interviewed candidates on-line and used various means to work together without being together. Our nominating committee conducted virtually all of their work without having to meet in person. The Finance Committee prepared the 2020-2021 budget and the Board voted on it via Zoom. Even with the security issues associated with Zoom, which we are addressing, we can use our technology to overcome barriers and work well with each other.
Unfortunately, one group of members have been particularly impacted by closure of our buildings. The families and the children that were scheduled for bar or bat mitzvahs during April, May, and June have had to adjust and look for alternatives to holding the simcha on the originally scheduled date. Through the tireless efforts of Polly Strauss, Rabbi Freedman, and Cantor Warschauer, dates have been changed and/or creative options have been implemented. While none of these changes were ideal, the families and their children have been flexible, and plans adjusted to account for our current situation.
I want to assure you that we will start the process of reopening The Jewish Center for in-person activities once we are able to safely do so. The Executive Committee and I spent considerable time on Sunday identifying the critical issues that need to be addressed as we move towards reopening. Other committees are exploring ways to continue to deliver programs and services if we cannot accommodate everyone in the buildings at the same time due to social distancing rules. While it is still almost five months off, we are even exploring ways to conduct High Holiday services under a variety of conditions.
In other words, I want you to know that The Jewish Center is and will continue to be our home, the center of our community. Despite the travails of the past few months, we have maintained our sense of purpose. We will continue to do so with your help and support. Once the restrictions are lifted, we will gather together and celebrate. Until then, remember that our sacrifices now help our larger community stay well. And that is how we live our values.
Disclaimer: Please check out the website link before sharing them with children. Also make sure you have a virus protection program. I have clicked on most of the links but always be safe. We don't need computers crashing now. And...continue to wash your hands and practice social distancing.
Possible site for Covid-19 testing shared today:
Infocus Urgent Care offers drive-through Covid-19 testing. They ask you to fill out this paperwork
and email it to them. The location is 100 Campus Town Circle Suite 100, Ewing, NJ 08638
next to the College of New Jersey.
500 Free Online Courses From Ivy League Schools That Will Make You Smarter (and Less Stir Crazy)
Peloton is offering its home workout app free for 90 days - here's how to get it
Announcing Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems! (free video series) ✏📚
Join the Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence at Home as Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every weekday at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing-starting today! #MoLunchDoodles - kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems
Indigo Girls virtual concert
(for those of us of a certain age)
Indigo Girls will be going live on Facebook this Thursday, March 19th 6:00pm EST, and playing a low key, home grown set of songs and talking to people directly through Q and A. Plan on tuning in with us!
30 virtual tours at zoos, a farm, national parks and Mars:
Cleveland Inner City Ballet has online ballet lessons for kids:
List of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions Due to School Closings
Download Free Coloring Books from 113 Museums
Can't Travel? 55 Things People Aged 55+ Can Do When They're Practicing Social Distancing
Here's 33 National Park Tours You Can Take Virtually From The Comfort Of Your Home
is a site that provides à la carte online classes (most for a fee) on crafting and other creative activities for kids and adults.
-- Jewish activities for any future listings of things to do
A Tweet from Jake Tapper: On-line two person Battleship game
The Digital Concert Hall now free for everyone | Berliner Philharmoniker
15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home
That should keep you busy for a while. Remember, pace yourself. This could last a while.
If you have a favorite site, or a recommendation of a podcast, movies or audiobook, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org