Our Federation hosted a very well-attended “virtual” seminar about the recent employment changes made in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Two fantastic and skilled labor lawyers, Gerri Sperling and Noah Jordan, volunteered their time to take questions from the over 40 participants representing a huge swath of Pittsburgh based Jewish institutions and synagogues. It was also announced this week that the Jewish Federations of North America, our parent organization, successfully convened a coalition of key organizations to work collectively and collaboratively on navigating the COVID-19 challenges facing communal institutions. This coalition includes BBYO, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Hillel International, JCC Association of North America, Moishe House, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, and Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.
Our Federation Board approved repurposing hundreds of thousands of dollars that are part of the Federation’s operating budget to be used to assist our Beneficiary Agencies. Many of these dollars had been allocated for things like the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Celebration Federation had planned which had to be canceled. Our Funding Committee and Board determined that in the current climate, these dollars could have a higher and more pressing purpose. Now, a committee will work quickly to determine how we can put these dollars to use.
We are providing information to our agencies as we receive updates on the Federal stimulus package from the Jewish Federations of North America and from the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition in Harrisburg. We were just informed that JFNA will host a Zoom call for ALL Jewish organizations and synagogues on Monday to give more detailed information on applying for the SBA loans as part of the stimulus package and we will communicate those particulars to our Jewish institutions.
All of this is Federation at its very best. Doing what no one organization can do to support many, building powerful coalitions for the good of the greater Jewish community and sharing of information and best practices to assist all.
Shabbat Shalom. Stay healthy and safe.
P.S. Natan Sharansky, a former Prisoner of Zion and former head of the Jewish Agency for Israel (one of our key overseas partners) recorded a video where he talks about his time in a Russian prison in relation to what we are all experiencing.