Danielle V. Minson — Raising the Bar
How and Why to Re-Open Safely
Some days, during this crisis, it’s felt like being in a boat at sea on a dark, stormy night. Many of us have felt disoriented or isolated. That’s only made it clearer to me how much we need a caring, responsive, well-functioning community.
The Jewish Federation’s “Why” is to plan for, convene, and help fund just such a needed and healing community. But our “How” changes every week during this crisis.
This week, Governor DeWine has started allowing a phased “re-opening” of certain Ohio businesses and organizations. But the reality is anything but simple or quick. With COVID-19 still out there, before re-opening facilities, organizations must understand and comply with thousands of pages of federal and state regulations. Then, they need to deploy new procedures, which may include supplying masks and PPE, and enabling physical distancing and extreme sanitation procedures.
Seven years ago, the Federation launched the SAFE Cincinnati initiative not only to make our community more secure from attacks but also to train our organizations in emergency preparedness and business continuity. This week, that investment is paying off as our new “SAFE Re-Open Facilities Group” will convene our congregations, agencies, schools, and organizations. We will curate guidance and emerging best practices and assess the need for COVID-19 screening, safety equipment, and sanitizing supplies. And we will create checklists to demystify the many complex issues. All to keep our community safe.
We will also start distributing 40 boxes of hand sanitizer that P&G donated to United Way-affiliated nonprofits—the first ones are going to Jewish Family Service direct service professionals.
This week, we will also submit to our Finance and Administration Committee a plan to sacrifice some beloved programs and repurpose Federation operating funds for emergency needs.
Last week, your support of the Annual Campaign enabled our community agencies to overcome quarantine with caring:
Camp Livingston reached out creatively to its past and present campers—seven song leaders led a virtual sing-along on Facebook Live. Over 1500 viewed the event.
Rockwern Academy did a mitzvah of delicious proportions: sharing all of its food for the rest of the year with La Soupe to feed those in need, essential workers, and those in our community affected by COVID-19.
The executive director of Hillel at Miami University and her husband did a mitzvah by bringing a shiva candle to a man whose father-in-law had just died of COVID-19, so he and his wife could mourn when normal mourning isn’t possible. He said: “They did everything they possibly could to help. That’s the generosity of humans.”
One of my favorite passages from Ethics of the Fathers tells us: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” I hope you will find some joy in knowing that this week, together, we are getting some really important work done.