Friends, families and supporters:
As we transition from July to August and move into our fifth month of the pandemic in our region, I feel the need once more to be grateful. As you know from my late note last Friday, last week brought us terrible news. It serves as a stark, important reminder that COVID-19 is every bit as dangerous today as it was in early April. It also reminds us of the fragility of the things we too frequently take for granted…the warmth and joy of relationships, the power of a hug or a connection made without a word spoken, the energy that comes to the whole of the community through our want to reach out to support but a single human being. These are the important things that I miss and for which I am so profoundly grateful.
So many of you have reached out to support JFGH, to embrace our staff and our work, to connect to the heartbeat of the organization. Your generosity has been so freely given, so abundant that we are strengthened by it immeasurably. For all of that to all of you, thank you.
As we look forward, we continue to take a conservative, cautious approach as communities in which people JFGH supports live, work and play re-open. We are, at once, cognizant of the understandable want of people to return to work, to get back out into the ebb and flow of community life, and worried as we see cases increase in other parts of the country and right here in Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland alone , through July 30, we’ve seen a 28.4% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with 78 new cases reported daily (3-day, rolling avg) in Montgomery County as of the same date. The good news is that testing is far more available now than it was at the outset of the pandemic in the region; and, a relatively paltry 4.0% of tests result in a positive case. We believe this reflects an increasing number of people being tested pre-emptively, which we believe is a very good thing.
Still, people are anxious to resume some semblance of normalcy and are anxious to re-engage their communities. We understand this.
We are also paying attention to the research and science. There are peer-reviewed articles we receive nearly every day. We are reading them voraciously in order to assure ours is a fact- and research-informed approach to our own re-opening (we never actually closed, but you know what I mean!). We are learning each day about airborne/aerosol-based transmission risks and how to mitigate them, about the impact of COVID-19 on people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities particularly, and how best to equip, train and support our staff to assure, as much as possible, that people we support and all of us remain healthy.
Meanwhile, we will continue to be creative about growing our connection to you. The distance is certainly making our hearts grow even fonder. We are developing monthly events to help you experience JFGH through our Community Connections event series. Our kick off event is tonight! We hope you’ll join us this evening as Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal leads our JFGH community into Shabbat. Sheila (my substantially better half) and I can’t wait to be together with our community, and we urge you to take 30 minutes to be with us. Click here to be taken directly to the Zoom room at 6pm tonight, Friday, July 31. In August, we have a delicious kosher BBQ drive thru featuring Char Bar followed by a Facebook Live performance by Dan Binstock, the human piano jukebox, to look forward to. We're hard at work to keep us all connected and engaged in the spirit of JFGH's mission. Keep an eye on our website , and don't forget to follow us on Facebook f or details to come! Speaking of Facebook , you're welcome to join us next Thursday, August 6, at 10am for a live update. 

We remain together apart. And we (still) got this!

David Ervin, JFGH CEO,