The Westchester Jewish Council's
Community Connection

 Your bi-weekly and every so often e-newsletter

March 19, 2020 23 Adar 5780


We know that it is beneficial to maintain routine during these uncertain times, so we will continue to send out our newsletter to help to connect with you.

--Thank you to the leadership of the Council membership organizations that have taken part in 7 separate Council Roundtable meetings this past week alone. As we get more familiar with technology, we will expand our online Roundtable meetings and offer even more ways to CONNECT our community. Speaking of connecting...

We are inspired by the numerous online learning and engagement opportunities offered by our 136 member organizations. We are pleased to share these with all of you in our Council calendar . Be sure to keep checking back for more as we are updating it on a daily basis. And, if you are a Council member organization, continue to post your online activities that are open to the public.

--Not every community member receives this newsletter , and we invite you to forward this newsletter or post this link so others can sign up for their own online newsletter.

-On another note, we are looking to share not just news but also some joy and levity. We invite the "young and young at heart" to send us a video of themselves telling their favorite joke…(not related to the coronavirus of course) We may include the link in a forthcoming publication. Please share this request with your community as you see fit.   Our panel of judges will review all submissions and share the jokes that are appropriate.... and funny.  Our hope is to bring much needed humor to our lives in these strange times. Please submit jokes to

In closing, we send prayers of health to those that are ill, and wishes of thanks to those that are providing strength and healing. We have so much to be grateful for.

Stay healthy and enjoy the first day of Spring!
Shabbat Shalom,

Lisa Roberts, President
Lori Kurlander, Communications Manager
Elliot Forchheimer, CEO

(Lots of interesting links and articles in this newsletter. Please read to the end for an interesting article by Dr. Steven Windmueller. Enjoy)

(The Council is financially supported by donations from individuals,
dues from 136 member organizations and grant support from UJA-Federation)
Please support the work of the Westchester Jewish Council. Your donation makes a difference each and every day. Click here to donate
visit the full Community Calendar at

The Council has updated the Community Calendar on our website to focus on online/remote content. We will actively promote this online calendar/connecting tool. If you are a Council member organization, we invite you to post your online events on the calendar.
Once the calendar is populated, we may want to coordinate our offerings so that we are not duplicating efforts. Suffice to say this is a collaboration and not competition. This is about engaging with thousands of those in our Westchester Jewish community that are scared, anxious, isolated, some alone and many ....bored. 
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. We thank you in advance for your cooperation. We know many organizations are already offering remote offering. Please let us know about your success so we can grow together.

Please click here to connect to our calendar -

 Thank you for your help in helping
to make our community continue to feel connected.
The Hebrew Free Loan Society (a Council member organization) will be offering interest-free bridge loans for anyone affected by the coronavirus who lives in the five boroughs of New York City, in Westchester County, or on Long Island. Read more about it by clicking on this link -

Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits Now Eligible for Assistance
Small businesses and not-for-profits in Westchester are now eligible to receive low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital if they have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We wanted to share this important information with our members. Our small businesses and not-for-profits are the lifeblood of our community. This first wave of assistance from the federal government is essential to provide some stability to our businesses and not-for-profits struggling with cash flow. The BCW is grateful to the SBA for including us in the declaration. Access to EIDL funds will help businesses cover basic essentials, such as payroll and fixed costs, in the short term, and will bring much needed certainty and stability at a time when it’s needed most.
Westchester became eligible (along with Putnam and Dutchess Counties) because we are adjacent to Connecticut, which made an Emergency Declaration allowing us to apply for the funds. 
Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at . Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
Because of the high volume of interest, we caution everyone to remain patient as the SBA is still working to get up to speed. With that in mind you can begin gathering information to start the process. We will share more information on this, as it becomes available.
— Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester
For more information about the Coronavirus, please visit .
The United Way of Westchester and Putnam announced that in response to the hardships created by the Coronavirus it is releasing funds totaling up to $50,000 through grants to nonprofits in Westchester. The organization will be awarding grants up to $5,000 to nonprofits directly helping the underprivileged or ALICE populations, those who are employed but are living paycheck-to-paycheck, that are displaced or actively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Westchester County.

For more information and to access the application, please visit the following link - .

To listen to a short video by Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, click here .
For organizations needing help in videoing or livestreaming events/meetings services contact: 

Andrew Stein Videography
914-788-4678 (mobile)
President Rivlin sent a message to Jewish communities around the world with his prayers for their health and well-being

President Rivlin:
“With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well.”
“Take care of others, particularly the elderly who live amongst us - in our buildings, communities and neighborhoods - those at highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.”

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Tuesday 17 March / 21 Adar, sent a video message to Jewish communities around the world with his prayers for their health and wellbeing in light of the coronavirus.

President Rivlin’s remarks in full:

“My brothers and sisters, members of the global Jewish community. The whole world is, right now, in a difficult time of fear and confusion because of the corona crisis which has turned all our lives upside down and which has claimed lives. Now is the time when every country is calling out to its citizens to deal with the dangers together.

But at this difficult time, we here in Israel think of another ‘together’ that we are part of, and look to you, our brothers and sisters of the global Jewish community. Your welfare and ours are inextricably linked. With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well.

The People of Israel, over the years, has managed to overcome danger and crisis and to survive, sometimes against all odds, thanks to the value we place on community and mutual responsibility which are embedded in our Jewish tradition. These are times when we must use this tradition and the values we were given to take care of ourselves while following the instructions, and to take care of others, particularly the elderly who live amongst us - in our buildings, communities and neighborhoods - those at highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.

Our sense of mutual obligation is the fundamental value that has protected us. This is the Jewish spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us. My dear ones, at this difficult time, when the special excitement of preparations for the Pesach holiday gives way to fear and anxiety, we, the people that dwells in Zion embrace you and send our prayers for your welfare and your good health.

He who makes peace in the highest, may he bring peace to us and to all Israel and to all peoples of the world. God bless you and keep you healthy. Be strong and of good courage.”

The video is available at
Credit: video and sound – Avi Kanner
With respect to COVID-19, Census 2020 is moving ahead according to plan. The Census Bureau will follow the guidance of Federal, State, and local health authorities. 
Some resources and answers to recently and frequently asked questions:
1) What does the Invitation to Respond envelope look like?   
See visuals of our Census 2020 mailings here:
2) Can I answer the questionnaire without the code in the Invitation to Respond?  Yes! Visit to complete the questionnaire with or without a code.
3) Will my geographic area receive the paper form first or only the invitation to respond?
Take a look at the Mail Contact Strategies Viewer -- if your census tracts are in green then your area will receive the invitation to respond and the paper questionnaire in the first mailing. Remember, anyone who does not respond by phone or online will receive a paper questionnaire as part of their 4th mailing.
4) I like the paper questionnaire. Will I need to pay to mail it back?  No, it has postage on the return envelope and is ready to mail.

5) What if more than 10 people are in my household?  It is best to answer online or by phone for a larger household as you may include up to 99 people in your response.
6)  Where can I find language assistance for the census?   See print guides in 59 languages here.
7)  When will I be able to see how well my community is responding?   As of March 20th you will be able to Census Self-Response Rates here:
8) Will the Census Bureau provide staff at my agency to help my community complete the census?  We are staffing Census Response Representatives (CRR) mostly in areas predicted to have a low response rate from March 12 through March 30th. After March 30th, we will deploy CRRs only in areas of low self-response for Mobile Questionnaire Assistance.
Census Phone Numbers
" By  failing  to  prepare you  are  preparing to fail" B. Franklin

From Congresswoman Nita Lowey :

I am pleased to inform you that the deadline for applying for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program-Urban Area (NSPG-UA) has been extended. All applications are now due by Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern).
Additional information on the NSPG-UA can be found HERE .
If you have any questions, please reach out to my Grants Coordinator, Adal Regis, at or at (845) 639-3485. Please give us two weeks' notice when you request a letter of support.
Please see the note below that was sent to us from Westchester District Attorney, Anthony Scarpino, Jr.

March 17, 2020

Elliot Forchheimer
Chief Executive Officer
Westchester Jewish Council
925 Westchester Avenue, Suite 200
White Plains, NY 10604

Dear Mr. Forchheimer,

This is a time like no other. All of us are dealing with the added anxiety and uncertainly brought on by this pandemic. And we know times like these can bring out the worst in people. It is a shame that the beginning of the Westchester coronavirus outbreak began among the Jewish Community in New Rochelle. No individual or family should feel threatened during such a stressful time.

We want to assure you, we are investigating emailed threats to both a victim of the virus and a local business. Our cybercrime experts are focused on tracing the sources of those threats which included anti-Semitic language.
Our Westchester Intelligence Center continues to monitor and analyze social media in an effort to identify potential threats against either individuals or the community as a whole.

I hope you know, my staff and I am always here to work with you and put the safety of communities of faith and residents of the County first.
Very truly yours,

District Attorney

As always and per protocol, please report any security concerns immediately to your local Police Department and then to the Council for follow up.

Please send any security questions/concerns to

To our neighbors and friends,

We are committed to ensuring that the need for food is met during this difficult time. We have extended our pantry hours, are continuing to provide dinners via take out, and will be delivering food to homebound seniors. To make this happen, we really need all the community support possible.
Please let us know if you can
(1) Deliver food to home-bound seniors
(2) Aid in the preparation of grocery give outs in the Pantry:
           Mondays from, 9 am to noon
           Tuesdays from 9 am to noon and from 4 pm to 6 pm
           Wednesdays from 9 am to noon and from 2 pm to 6 pm
           Fridays from 2 pm to 6 pm
(3) Help prepare meals to be handed outside of the Dining Room:
           Last 2 Mondays of the month from 4 pm to 6 pm
           Tuesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm
           Wednesdays from 4 pm to 6 pm
           Fridays from 4 pm to 6 pm
Please e-mail  if you have time to volunteer.
Please visit our website  to Donate.
Thank you so much,
Walt Ritz
Executive Director
The Kol Ami Food Pantry is a partner with the Feeding Westchester Food Bank and has been serving the community for many years. The Kol Ami Pantry enables us to feed the hungry within our own community.   If you are able to make a financial donation to the Food Pantry to help it purchase food for others, they welcome your assistance. If you have time to volunteer, they need people who can deliver food to the two local organizations, who will then take care of getting the food to needy families. And, of course, send this email on to your local email list and congregation so that we can, as agents created in the Divine image, fulfill the mitzvah of feeding the hungry. This is the Jewish community we have built and that we cherish, and we now have an opportunity to move beyond our immediate walls to do great good in a moment of crisis.
Kol Ami Food Pantry -  To donate, click here .
If you can volunteer, please email David at

For more information about this critical project, please email David or Eric.
Yoel Magid, a retired Executive Director of Westchester Reform Temple, has the following suggestions for helping meet the needs of the Westchester community at large given the overwhelming anticipated requests for supplying food to those who are able to shop or who cannot afford to stockpile on their own and who may have to rely more and more in the coming weeks on various food banks and volunteer assistance:

1. All congregations that have cancelled services and events should donate to the Westchester Food Bank or similar organizations the total amount of budgeted funds saved from onegs, study groups, and events that have been cancelled.

2. Congregants who have cancelled or reduced catering costs for Bnei Mitzvot or weddings or even family seders should also be asked to donate part of their savings to the Westchester Food Bank or any other organization supplying food to choose in need. Many of us are used to holding Yom Kippur food drives, but now the need is much greater. All congregants should be asked to donate directly to their favorite food bank or similar organization.

3. Each congregation should set up a phone bank (thru staff working at home) to congregants over 60 asking if they need help, particularly for those who may be quarantined or afraid to go shopping on their own. Congregations should then recruit volunteer drivers to shop and deliver food to these congregants.

Parents in the Westchester Jewish community: if you are looking for tutoring help for your child/children as they adjust to new learning environments, UJA-Federation of New York , in association with J-Teen Leadership and Hillels of Westchester , is convening more than 50 volunteer tutors who will work with your child pro bono. You can be matched with a tutor by filling out this form and you will be contacted in the coming days. Please note that this is limited to the Westchester community only for right now. Please sign your child/ren up using the form below. 

Covid-19 Resources
for You
UJA’s network of nonprofits, synagogues, and day schools is continuing to mobilize and adapt quickly to the evolving needs of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We’ve compiled resources to help our community navigate these uncharted waters
Click here  to learn more. 
UJA’s network of nonprofits, synagogues, and day schools are mobilizing to adapt quickly to the evolving needs of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
During this unprecedented time, join us each morning at 9:00 am on our Facebook page ( with our Scholar in Residence, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, as he offers our community some words of comfort during this challenging time. Please tune in.
We are sharing an article written by Dr. Steven Windmueller, the author of four books and numerous articles on American Jewish communal trends, political behavior and contemporary anti-Semitism, that was highlighted in ejewish philanthrop y . Click
here to read the article.

ejewish philanthropy has many more pertinent articles this week on topics such as Pesach and social distancing, resources for quarantined families and resources supporting teens during these challenging times. Please click here . Re ad more

Silver Leaf Caterers will be catering for Passover this year. If you are interested in learning more, please email or
call (914)315-7413.

To meet the needs of the community, Foremost Ram Caterers will be offering a TakeOut menu for Pesach 2020. Please click here for the menu and order information.
Westchester Jewish Council
Upcoming C ommunity Roundtables
(The Council thanks the hundreds of people that dedicate time to attend our Roundtables-
a signature initiative of the Council often sponsored with wonderful partners from among our member organizations)
We will be hosting our roundtables via Zoom in the coming weeks.

Some Upcoming Council Roundtables :
Security Roundtable-POSTPONED - new date TBD
Israel Roundtable-Wednesday, March 18-POSTPONED
Youth Professionals- Wednesday, April 22
MOSAIC LGBTQ - Thursday, April 23
Seniors/Grandparents Roundtable, coming in May
Marketing Roundtable-coming in June

Contact the Council office at (914) 328-7001 for information on these and other Roundtables--a key offering of the Westchester Jewish Council.

Please look out for the most updated schedule of dates in upcoming newsletters and on our website.
UJA-Federation of New York and the Westchester Jewish Council invite you to join us for this annual event (date and method-in person or online to be determined) featuring keynote speaker Majority Leader and NY State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and with a special tribute to Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
Silver Anniversary
25th Annual Julian Y. Bernstein
Distinguished Service Awards Ceremony
Join us on Tuesday, June 4th at
Temple Israel Center, White Plains at 7:30pm as we honor 22 individuals for their outstanding dedication to the Westchester Jewish community. In recognition of the Silver Anniversary of the awards, we will also be honoring Donald J. Fleishaker who was the recipient of a first DSA Award in 1996.

This event is free and all are welcome. Reservations requested.
Please register here .

If you would like to make a contribution
in honor of one of the evening's honorees, please click here .

Get involved at the JCC Maccabi Campus Games being held this summer in Westchester. This year's event will be based at Pace University from August 9th to August 14th, 2020. The Games are presented by the JCC Association of North America in coordination with our Westchester and environs communities. Jewish athletes 13-16 years old can join their local team. Adults 18+ can sign up to volunteer. For more information, check out
campus games or 212-786-5128 or contact the Council office.
Westchester Jewish Council Teen Organizations include:
Thank you to the Jewish Education Project for working so closely with our Teen professionals and volunteers!
If you have a job listing to share, please email .

JBS can be seen live 24/7 on Cablevision (channel 138), Verizon FIOS (channel 798), ROKU and on
Westchester Jewish Council
925 Westchester Avenue, Suite 200
White Plains, NY 10604
914-328-7001 | |
For information regarding submissions, please contact Lori Kurlander
The next Community Connection will be published on or about March 26, 2020.