Message From The President
My fellow congregants: As promised, I want to keep you informed of what is happening at The Jewish Center and our response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. Beginning immediately, we are cancelling all in-person religious services, including Friday Evening services, Shabbat services, B'nai mitzvahs, and Sunday and Wednesday minyanim. This will continue through the end of March. We will evaluate the situation at that time and make decisions regarding services, programs, and other events for April and May in light of any new data and advice we receive.
Information and guidance about how all religious institutions should respond to the crisis has changed rapidly over the past few days. Although I communicated last week that religious services would continue to be held (albeit with proper social spacing and other measures), virtually all medical and government authorities are now urging people to avoid any group gatherings, including for religious services. Synagogues, churches, and mosques in our area are cancelling worship services and making provisions for congregants to pray via on-line or other platforms. Clergy of all faiths are working hard to make sure the spiritual and social needs of their congregations are being met through the use of technology, in order to protect the larger communities of which they are a part.
Earlier today, the Executive Committee, along with Rabbi Freedman, Cantor Warschauer, Joel Berger, and Sharon Diamondstein, met via conference call to discuss whether we should continue holding services in person. I asked Rabbi Julie Roth to join us to provide her perspective as the leader of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton University. We agreed that as members of the Princeton community, we had an obligation to do what we could to eliminate a potential vector for the illness. We also have a duty to our older members, typically the most vulnerable to the virus, to avoid putting them at continued risk. This was not an easy decision but one that is necessary.
To compensate for our inability to gather in person, many members of our congregation have put together plans and programs to keep all of us connected, identify those of us who might need assistance during this time, and provide religious instruction to our children:
- Bret Jacknow, board trustee, is heading up a program to reach out to congregants via telephone on a regular basis. If you would like to be one of the callers, please contact Bret at email@example.com or Joel Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sharon Diamondstein and the Religious School teachers are conducting on-line and video-based classes so that the children can continue their education in a safe environment.
- Rabbi Freedman and Cantor Warschauer, along with the tutors, will continue preparing children for their b'nai mitzvahs via telephone and the internet.
- Joel Berger will be sending out a list of resources available on-line, including various live streaming services, that will permit you to pray and learn without being in shul. There are other sites as well and your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
- Committee co-chairs and the Vice Presidents will be sending information on programs that will be conducted via webinars, conference calls and other technologies.
There is another aspect to this situation that does not usually get the attention it deserves; the economic reality facing our employees if they are not working. We have an excellent cadre of teachers, administrative office personnel, and building services staff. I want to assure them, and you, that no one will lose income during this period. We will continue to keep all staff on the payroll through the end of our fiscal year.
I do not know what the future holds. We all pray that the COVID-19 crisis passes quickly and that everyone who contracts it heals quickly. However, we are one community, and together, we will persevere. Although this is our "new normal", with your support and participation we will continue to be what we have always been - the home for the Jewish community in our area.
B'shalom, Randy Brett
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 email@example.com