On May 14 we held our first ever virtual Youngstown Area Jewish Federation event. We were able to showcase the ways our agencies are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Though we couldn’t be together, it was still a wonderful evening of laughter, love, help, and hope. Every day we touch people’s lives through Heritage Manor, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Services, and Levy Gardens. The pandemic has not changed that. We have called older adults and JCC members, set up FaceTime and Zoom calls with Heritage Manor residents and Levy Gardens tenants and their family members, delivered meals to community members age 60 and older, offered virtual programs and teletherapy, and more. We were able to show that through this event.
The evening would not have been as successful without the help of friends. I’d like to thank Mitch Albom; U.S. Sen. Rob Portman; U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.; U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan; Youngstown Mayor Jamaal Tito Brown; Youngstown State University president Jim Tressel; country artist Bob Dipiero, a Liberty high school graduate; NBC TV personality Dave Price; State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan and her husband, former legislator Bob Hagan; State Representative Gil Blair; and the Honorable Dani Dayan, Consul General for the State of Israel, NY Consulate, for their messages of support. I also want to thank Rachel Zatcoff, Alexis Fishman, and YSU music faculty members Kivie Cahn-Lippman and Caitlin Hedge for their amazing performances. Joel Chasnoff made a great master of ceremonies, as did our very own Lisa Long, Federation financial resource development director. It took many people to make this event happen, but I particularly want to thank Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, Federation director of community relations/government affairs, who spearheaded the event.
If you didn’t get to see the event live, or would like to watch it again, click here.
Now, as the state begins to reopen, we’re looking forward.
Many restrictions are still in place for Levy Gardens and Heritage Manor, but they’ve been given the green light to begin reintroducing socially distanced communal dining. Both have started slowly. They’re maintaining a safe social distance, but residents and tenants are able to see and converse with friends. The social aspect of eating a meal together is important to keep the aging brain stimulated.
JFS continues to operate as it has during the crisis: services are still being offered, but by different means. They’re using teletherapy via video or phone to work with clients and to reach out to older adults. Our guardianship manager is assisting wards with shopping needs.
JCC opened the doors to the Main Campus May 26. The Early Learning Center and Camp JCC will open June 1. Logan Campus will reopen June 6. We’re excited to welcome members back! We are following mandatory and best practice guidelines set forth by Governor DeWine so there will be some changes at our facilities. We have adjusted our hours slightly to accommodate vulnerable populations. Members are asked to maintain a minimum six foot distance and help maintain a high standard of cleanliness. The layout of the fitness equipment was adjusted to allow for social distancing. Reservations are recommended for all Group X classes, Aqua X classes, and use of the pool lap lanes. Staff members will adhere to personal protection requirements as recommended by the governor. You can access a complete list of changes here.
COVID-19 has changed the way we do things for the time being, but not the why. We are still here for the people we serve. We will continue to find new ways to engage with you, and we’re grateful for your support. Be well and stay safe!
Executive Vice-President, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation