Sunday, April 12, 2020
Dear Community Members:
 
As we have all finished our Seders and continue on remaining days of Passover, I want to wish you and your families much health and happiness in the month and years ahead. While we opened the door for Elijah at our meals, I look forward to opening my door to all of you very soon.
 
Warmly,
Danny Cohn
CEO, Birmingham Jewish Federation
Birmingham Jewish Federation
COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

The importance of a strong and vibrant Jewish community has never been clearer than it is today. The Birmingham Jewish Federation, in collaboration with Collat Jewish Family Services, Levite Jewish Community Center, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, and all area synagogues, are proud to play a role in safeguarding the most vulnerable among us, and to help coordinate and communicate the efforts of our community partners.

We are all working together to understand the immediate and short-term needs of members of our Jewish community and the greater community most impacted by the situation surrounding COVID-19. This may include emergency financial support for housing and utilities, medicine, food assistance/delivery, and social work/counseling services.

In response to the current crisis, we have created the Birmingham Jewish Federation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to support our agency partners, Israel and the broader Birmingham Community. While this effort must not replace our annual campaign, there is an immediate need for these funds, which we hope will be above and beyond your generous annual commitment. 100% of all contributions will directly support those impacted by the pandemic, and/or programs providing critical community services.
AJC is a beneficiary of The Birmingham Jewish Federation's Annual Campaign and we are proud of Matthew and Eric for their involvement!
Two Birmingham Natives Volunteer for AJC’s ACCESS Program
Two young adults originally from Birmingham, Matthew Levin and Eric Buchalter, are making their volunteer mark through involvement in Atlanta’s ACCESS program. ACCESS is the Young Professionals division of American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Atlanta. ACCESS equips young Jewish leaders from ages 25-39 to be global agents of change.

ACCESS leaders shape the conversation on today’s critical domestic and international issues by reaching out to diplomats, opinion makers, and young leaders. Through private meetings, conferences, targeted travel, and a global media presence, our young professionals learn how to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, engage key decision-makers, and facilitate meaningful bridge building through advocacy and long-term connections.

The cards sent to honorees are printed with a broad and beautiful message – “Sending Love” – that applies to every woman who needs a virtual embrace right now. (Of course, you can still personalize your card to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”) The Flower Project launches April 1.
Join Jewish Women International ’s “Flower Project”
For Jewish Women International, this time of year is filled with flowers. They have sent flowers to women living in domestic violence shelters across the country for the last 18 Mother’s Days. The gesture sounds simple, but it sends a powerful message of hope, strength, and love to those living through a time of trauma. 

This year, the Flower Project feels more important than ever — for the women in the shelters and the women honored with donations. JWI planned to send “party kits” to the shelters for Mother’s Day, but because of COVID-19 had to postpone those deliveries to the fall. The flowers will still be delivered on Mother’s Day.

Over 35% of Ethiopian Israeli families with school age children live below the poverty line. IWJB funds a program that helps these young people with academics and integration into society.
Israel's Most Vulnerable
Israel is also in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis. The Ethiopian National Project (ENP), a grant recipient of The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Israel World Jewry Bureau (IWJB) has been hit particularly hard. ENP works with some of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens - families who have immigrated from Ethiopia since the 1980’s. Since the closure of Israeli schools, we received the following from ENP describing the dire situation for many of their children:
 
“...many live in small, overcrowded homes, often without space to have a quiet place to do homework…an already at-risk population has been thrust into even greater risk and economic turmoil. Children are unable to participate in distance learning as they do not have internet or computers or are unfamiliar with the technology to get connected and, with no one to aid them, they fall even further behind. Parents are unable to assist their children with homework, as many of them are uneducated. Very new immigrants, non-Hebrew-speakers, are confused with regards to the situation, with the children being required to play the role as advisor, comforter. Many of the parents have been let go and many aren’t entitled to unemployment, as they don’t meet the qualifications." Learn how ENP will be helping these children
 
The IWJB receives funding from The Birmingham Jewish Federation annual campaign and The Birmingham Jewish Foundation, and is part of The BJF's COVID-19 emergency response efforts.
“Social connection is such a basic feature of human experience that when we are deprived of it, we suffer.” - Leonard Mlodinow, Jewish American theoretical physicist
An Update from Some of our Overseas Organizations
We all know how important human connection is; Jewish Federation of North America communities work tirelessly to build and sustain deep connections between Jewish communities around the globe. The Coronavirus and its effects are making this mission harder nowadays, but with a little effort and lots of good will, we are finding a way!
 
Click here to read more about the wonderful things being done by the JFNA overseas organizations in this time of uncertainty.
Passover Recipe: Broccoli Kugel
The Birmingham Jewish Federation wishes you and your loved ones a Chag Pesach Sameach!

Click the video below to learn how to make Broccoli Kugel by Jamie Geller and consider making it as a Passover friendly side dish!
Community Events & Announcements

What Can CJFS Do for You in This Crisis?
To help individuals and families cope with the stress and anxiety of this time, Collat Jewish Family Services is providing remote services, including:
  1. Supportive counseling via telephone at no cost. Call 205.879.3438 or email marcy@cjfsbham.org.
  2. Help for older adults and vulnerable individuals in accessing food and medication. Call 205.879.3438 or email marcy@cjfsbham.org.
  3. A supportive blog, Distancing Together, providing professional guidance on mental health and caregiving issues related to this time of social distancing. Recent posts include: How to Manage Your Emotions During the Crisis, Caregiving in the Pandemic, Pandemic Parenting: Learning as We Go

Birmingham Community Yom Hashoah Service
Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 pm. Rabbi Wright (Temple Emanu-El) and Melissa Self Patrick (Birmingham Holocaust Education Center), along with Cantor Gutcheon (Temple Emanu-El), will lead a Birmingham Community Yom Hashoah service via Temple Emanu-El Facebook live and website live-streaming on Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 pm.

Healing Service Streaming Now
Temple Emanu-El held a Healing Service that was a special spiritual engagement for our temple family. We wanted to use the power of Jewish music and Jewish liturgy to help heal the wounds that Covid-19 is causing to us – uncertainty, anxiety, fear and despair. Watch Healing Service Now
Support our Local Agencies and Synagogues with Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile, a website operated by Amazon lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Please visit: smile.amazon.com If you have an existing Amazon.com account, you use the same account on AmazonSmile. All of our Birmingham agencies and synagogues are listed on Amazon Smile and you may choose one of them as the beneficiary of your purchases.