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Earlier in March, just before the COVID-19 crisis became more intense in Georgia, I was at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with one of our community’s wise elders, Jarvin Levinson. Looking back, it was an eerie evening with the seats half full. The music seemed to herald the dark period that has now arrived.

Our world has been transformed. Grateful as I am to reconnect with the basics of a slower pace, self-care, and more time with family, my days are filled with worry about how to meet human needs and the financial health of our institutions.

Yet like any personal crisis I have lived through, or the Jewish people has lived through, when we get to the other side things will be different. I hope we will refocus on the essentials that make our people unique: the obligation to be responsible for each other, the centrality of Jewish education, and all the beautiful communal ways we gather to play and pray.

I am overwhelmed by the generosity that is pouring into our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. More than $2.5M has been raised from hundreds of donors! Grants are already going out to help our community handle food insecurity, social isolation, job loss, the shortage of protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers, and more.

As we welcome Passover, let’s proudly tell the story of Jewish resilience and optimism. Our master story of redemption and survival despite suffering, plagues, and slavery, is everything we need right now.

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