Dear Senesh Community,

I hope this note finds you well and safe. My thoughts are with each of you as you tend to the health of your families, the Senesh community, and others who you are supporting during this time. We're so grateful for those of you in our community and beyond who are on the front lines of the pandemic. Thank you for sharing your stories in our communications. You are inspiring and provide hope for all of us.

Weathering the storm, with gratitude
Shared experiences are the glue of a community - what holds us together. And that's true whether it's through our shared Jewish values and communal history or going through a version of the "modern plague" together. Weathering this storm as a community will make us even stronger on the other side. Our Kabbalat Shabbat experiences via Zoom, with nearly 200 people from faculty, teachers, staff, parents, students, grandparents, alumni and their families, is a testament to our enduring connections, even with the distance.

The Board of Trustees and I are immensely grateful for Nicole’s steady and timely leadership, and the dedicated Senesh staff, faculty, and administration. The thought and care put into creating the distance learning program to meet the needs of students and their parents is the ultimate expression of our mission and values. Students at Senesh are adapting both academically and emotionally as they have the consistent support of teachers who care so much about them. 

Securing the future, our financial realities
My fellow trustees on the Board and I know the degree to which this crisis is affecting individuals, families, businesses, and institutions and that it will take time to repair. We are working hard to maintain the financial stability of the school in the near-term, while we continue to evaluate the longer-term impact of the current economic downturn. 

The Board is actively stewarding the school through this difficult period, with both short and long term planning. We have a COVID-19 task group working closely with Nicole on ensuring the school’s financial sustainability and planning for health, hygiene, and additional safety measures as we look ahead towards opening our doors this fall. Our most significant costs remain fixed, the greatest of which is employee compensation and benefits. We are committed to sustaining compensation at current levels as well as retaining our full faculty and staff for this school year, through the Paycheck Protection Program, an SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis that we recently received. 

Strength in community
While things may be difficult right now, we also need to make time and space to celebrate the strength and beauty of our community, especially as we mark our 25th milestone anniversary this year. Many of you have been in touch to ask how you can support this wonderful community. On Sunday, May 31, we will be holding Senesh's Virtual Community Gala! We will be allocating any funds contributed to the 25th anniversary campaign from now through June 2021 to tuition assistance. We understand and are sensitive to the economic realities we are all facing; if you are in a position to do so, we hope you will make a gift to support this important need at this time. Stay tuned for more details on the Gala coming soon!

At a time like this, we recognize the bonds of a community who is there to support one another and faculty and staff who care so much for our children. With so much uncertainty, we have yet to see the ultimate impact of this crisis. We will make every attempt to keep you as informed as possible on a timely basis. Senesh has weathered other challenges in its long history, and the resilience of our community will sustain us through this one. We also look at how Senesh helps inspire strong, confident, Jewish children who want to do good in the world. We can’t let them down!

I know you all, like me, waffle between hope and hopelessness and some days are better than others. I find solace thinking about the struggles of others who have come before us and knowing we have a choice in how we respond. 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Let us continue to choose the path of light to guide our Senesh journey. Most of all, I hope you stay safe and take good care. Hope to “see” you at the State of School meeting on May 12th from 8-9pm.   Please join via Zoom .

With gratitude,
Judy Schoenberg
Chair of the Board of Trustees