Dear Friend,

Because of you, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation never closed.

This week Miami-Dade County began reopening businesses and services to the public after more than two months. While this is a welcome step forward, please continue to exercise caution, follow the CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing.

Since mid-March, we have been seeing the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on thousands of individuals and families who are hurting because of job and income loss. Federation has been working to provide for their emergency needs with grants for mortgage, rent and utility payments, financial assistance, food and other human services. We have been particularly focused on the needs of older adults in our community who were vulnerable before the pandemic and are now struggling with the increased difficulties caused by isolation. Many others were already participants in Federation-supported programs, including hundreds of our cherished Holocaust Survivors.

At the end of the day, this crisis is about people – and helping people is at the heart of Federation’s work – always. Federation never closed because our safety net of services is always open, 365 days a year, in ordinary times and especially in these extraordinary times. If there was ever a moment that pointed to why Federation exists, this is the moment.

As a volunteer-driven organization, we take tremendous pride in the services caringly provided by the hundreds of people who give of their time and resources to help our community through our Jewish Volunteer Center. These days are no exception. While volunteers have had to abide by new safety protocols, we are heartened to share that more than 500 volunteers have collectively performed nearly 1,200 hours of work (which would equal more than $30,500 of paid time!). The mitzvah of gemilut hasadim – literally “bestowing acts of loving-kindness” – is one of the foundational values of Jewish life. If you would like to volunteer to help, please visit us online to register.

We take this opportunity to remind you of Federation’s 82nd Annual Meeting this Tuesday, May 26 at 5:15 p.m. via Zoom. This will be an abbreviated Annual Meeting and we will honor our outgoing leadership at a later date when we are able to gather in person. To RSVP by email for the Annual Meeting and to receive instructions on how to participate, please click here.

Last night we ushered in Yom Yerushalayim, the newest holiday on the Jewish calendar. This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and the Jewish people’s return to the holiest parts of the city including the Kotel, the Western Wall. The extraordinary – even miraculous – story of the reunification of our beloved Jerusalem in 1967, which so many of us witnessed in our lifetimes, fills us with hope and a sense of determination as we all look forward to better days ahead.

If you or someone you know is facing difficulties, please know you are not alone. Your Jewish community is here for you. Please call our Jewish community’s confidential helpline at 305.576.6550 for guidance. Operated by Federation’s partner agency, JCS, calls are answered 24/7 every day of the year.

We wish a refu’ah sh’lemah to all those people affected by this and other illnesses and we continue to pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones.

Please stay safe, smart and six feet apart.

Shabbat Shalom,