Covid-19 Update Page
Dear Valued Member of the Cleveland Hillel Community:
I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, as I write this message during an unprecedented moment in time for us all.
The rapid spread of and changes in life due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has challenged all our schedules and plans, and I know that we are dealing with uncertainty and anxiety in our homes, communities and in so many facets of our daily lives.
As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, I am reaching out to all members of our Hillel community to let you know that we are here for you all (as always), and that we are here to address any concerns you might have as the campuses we serve shift to virtual learning for the remainder of the semester.
First and foremost, please know that the health and safety of our students, Hillel staff and all others who connect with us continues to be our main priority and of utmost concern. Following guidelines determined by dedicated health care practitioners and researchers and in an effort to help flatten the curve of COVID-19’s spread, we are implementing social distancing, severely limiting in-person gatherings effective immediately, and asking our Hillel staff team to begin working remotely.
As such, we have decided to close our physical gathering spaces at both Case Western Reserve University and Oberlin College by Wednesday, March 17 at 2 pm. Over the past few days, these spaces have been open and accessible to small groups of students as they prepared to leave campus, offering them individually wrapped snacks and the opportunity to take a moment to breathe and collect their thoughts during this confusing time. As an added safety measure, we asked students to limit themselves to gatherings as groups of 10 or less at any one time over these past few days.
For the remainder of the semester, our Hillel will offer student-driven digital programming, as we did starting last Friday with virtual Shabbat experiences. We are moving to this new method of building and maintaining our Jewish students’ community through online program opportunities, and we look forward to continuing to create positive Jewish experiences, build meaningful Jewish memories and enhancing Jewish pride in these new and innovative ways.
The core values that drive us as an organization – education, leadership development, social justice, Jewish spirituality, and community – will continue to guide our work, even if we need to do so at a safe distance from one another. While are unable to gather in-person, we are absolutely committed to continuing our efforts to offer a supportive, welcoming space in this rapidly evolving social reality.
As this change has reminded us so specifically - Hillel is a community, not merely a physical space or building.
I would personally like to commend the incredible students and staff leadership on all our campuses for showing such a profound dedication to Jewish life, as I continue to be amazed by their creativity and skills in adapting to this new environment.
Thanks also to all our friends, supporters and donors, as you ensure that we can continue to support our Jewish students and young adults in this new landscape, as their needs to be Jewishly engaged is likely to grow in the weeks and months ahead.
Please contact me at any time if you have questions or want to connect about activities on any of our campuses in Cleveland and Oberlin. I appreciate and understand that we all are receiving multiple email messages from so many different organizations in our lives, so I will try my best to limit our communications during this confusing time. I invite you to connect with us on Facebook or Instagram for more immediate updates.
Stay healthy, safe and positive!
Cleveland Hillel Foundation
March 18, 2020