From the Desk of Moshe Kruger
 
Dear Friends, 
 
Another week has passed under the exponential and terrifying growth of the coronavirus.
Through better preparation, some say, it didn’t have to be this way as needs escalate dramatically in many communities. Our hearts go out to the increasing number of individuals and families who are dealing with economic hardship, illness, and devastating loss of loved ones.
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a major kibosh on many planned events. In my case, instead of enjoying getting to know you and learning about your families and Jewish life in South Bend and Benton Harbor in a more relaxed and informal setting, I’m sheltering and working from home like most Americans. 
 
These are not normal times but the important work of the Federation continues here on our home front. I can report Jewish Family Services (JFS) has mounted an aggressive campaign to speak with all current and former clients. In addition, JFS is flexing with the need to identify others in the community who might be in need of help.
 
Thankfully, the JFS case load is manageable at this time but we should not let this fact lull us into complacency as we are nowhere near the top of the transmission curve in Michiana. Demand for JFS services will increase. We are all vulnerable to this disease. The virus does not discriminate who it infects. In time of need, JFS is here to help, providing social and financial support in our community. 
 
So let me be clear, the Federation’s clarion call is plain ─ to those we have served in the past and to those who may be in need of help for the first time ─  We are here ─  אנחנו כאן. 
 
If you or anyone you know needs help at this time or in the months ahead, please contact Rowan Kelley, Director of JFS at  Rkelley@thejewishfed.org  or at 574-309-1213 to learn more about our  free and confidential  assistance and referral programs.

The Federation was built for moments like this. Your support now for our JFS Passover Appeal sustains and strengthens our Jewish lifeline to all community members in ways large and small. We welcome all donations, at any level. If you can help now it will make a difference to lift up our Jewish Community. Already we have been able to hold to the centuries old custom to provide matzoh and other items for the observance of Pesach for those in need. JFS will safely deliver Maot Chittim to over 40 households. We could not do this without your support.
The burden of responsibility to anticipate our communal needs, I think you would agree, rests with the Federation, as a central resource for the Jewish Community. Instead of saying  it didn’t have to be this way , let’s lean in and prepare for the projected human toll of Covid-19.
 
In the coming days, I will begin an intensive Community Listening Tour. I want to meet you and to get to know you and will be calling on many of you with an up-to-date briefing on JFS and what specific actions we are taking to respond quickly and smartly to our most critical human needs. Alone we can do little; together, our volunteer efforts and tzedakah can do much in these uncertain times to make sure older adults and other at-risk groups in our community get the help and support they will surely need. 
 
During these anxious times, our community needs an abundance of humanity and generosity. And I pray to the Almighty to speedily remove all plague and pestilence from our midst. May we live long and healthy lives and may our community continue to be a source of strength to all who need it during these most trying times.

Chazak V'Amatz -- Be strong and of good courage. 
Shabbat Shalom.
PS:  There is a diverse list of ways we can assist our members. Please visit our Jewish Family Services website to read just a portion of what we are proud to offer.
Thank you!
For More information on Covid-19 resources: