Beverly B. Liss and Alan J. Kaufman
Beverly B. Liss (left) and Alan J. Kaufman (right).

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit provides insight into how they have played a central role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has been a year like no other.

Without a doubt, we are living in a unique and difficult moment in our history. The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected every dimension of our daily lives, disrupting our social, professional, educational and spiritual pursuits. Worst of all, of course, is the human toll it has taken, the friends and loved ones lost and the families wracked by grief.

It is said that a crisis reveals who we are, as individuals and as a community. And if there is any good news to be taken from the pandemic, it can be found in the way that Jewish Detroit has responded.

From the earliest days of the outbreak, our communal leaders and institutions came together to make sure that our most vulnerable individuals were protected. They worked tirelessly to provide kosher meals and delivery services to seniors and others in need, emergency aid to struggling families, vocational training for growing numbers of job seekers and protective gear for frontline workers.

This has been the most collaborative effort in recent times, uniting individuals from every corner of our community, every organization and stream of Judaism. We have seen an outpouring of concern and generosity, not just for local Jews but for our broader community as well.

The Jewish Federation is proud to play a central role in this response. Our COVID-19 Emergency Campaign raised $7.6 million for critical funding to protect individuals and families as well as the Jewish organizations that are the heart and soul of Jewish life. Just as importantly, we are actively coordinating the response effort, working shoulder to shoulder with agencies, schools and congregations throughout Jewish Detroit on a daily basis.

That is why we say: Jewish Federation was built for this moment. We’ve been taking care of our community for more than 100 years. And thanks to the support of more than 10,000 donors, we will continue to meet the vast and growing needs of all who are counting on us. As we look back across the year, we’re deeply grateful for each and every person who has volunteered, contributed or taken part in the response effort in any way.

Now, as we turn to the new year, we know that uncertainty will persist. The challenge is far from over. Despite this, we will never lose confidence in the strength and vibrance of Jewish Detroit. The year ahead will surely be filled with challenges and with loss, but it will also have times of joy and celebration, connection and meaning.

For those that may find themselves in need, know that your Jewish community is here for you (jhelp.org is a good place to start). With the support of our extraordinary community, we are Here for Good.

May you have a meaningful holiday and a healthy, peaceful and joyful new year. 

Beverly B. Liss is president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Alan Jay Kaufman is president of the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit.

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