Aaron Family JCC, Day Schools and DHHRM temporarily close amid COVID-19 concerns

This is a developing story.

TJP Staff Report

The Aaron Family JCC, four of Dallas’ five Jewish day schools and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum announced that they would suspend operations temporarily to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The Aaron Family JCC

The Aaron Family JCC will be closed through March 21 including Goldberg Early Childhood Center, spring break programs, fitness and wellness classes and all other activities.

The Senior Meals program will continue and be available for pickup between Noon and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“As a very important place to many in the Jewish community making the decision to close the J was extremely difficult. Based on the best information at the time it was the only option,” said Artie Allen, JCC CEO.

Jewish Day Schools

Akiba-Yavneh Academy, Levine Academy, Mesorah High School for Girls and Torah Day School of Dallas will suspend classes beginning Monday, March 16. Although the dates are subject to change based on the fluid situation, the schools have initially decided to close based on the following schedule:

Akiba-Yavneh: at least through March 20.

Levine Academy: at least through March 27.

Mesorah High School Girl for Girls: until further notice.

Torah Day School of Dallas: at least through March 20.

Texas Torah Institute will remain open.

In a letter to their respective communities the Dallas Jewish Day School Leadership Team sent a joint letter to their respective communities. The letter states:

“We want to write to everyone in the greater Jewish day school family, and we want to do so together, with one combined voice. We know that these unprecedented times leave everyone unsure and worried. We wanted to address those concerns and, with one clear voice, encourage everyone that our Jewish faith and our Jewish community has always been at its best when we truly come together and rely upon each other.

“For many days we have worked together to discuss and weigh the important choices we have all made to close schools moving forward into next week. We have been working together, consulting each other and learning from each other and we are better for it, as are our schools. While every medical and health agency to whom we have spoken does not require these closures at this time, we collectively felt this was in our community’s best interest to help protect the weakest amongst us fight this health risk.

“Our Torah values have long instilled in our people an appreciation for the paramount value of health and community, and in the unparallel power of our community when we raise our voices in prayer and unity. We are adhering to our best Jewish values and our best American civil responsibilities by taking these collective steps.

“We are working with the Jewish Federation, local synagogues, and many other institutions that make up the fabric of our wonderful Jewish community. Within this anxiety-provoking climate it is important to remember that calm, medically and scientifically informed choices should direct us all. We will learn together through this experience, and we will lean on each other as we do.

“Please continue to follow all medical recommendations about social distancing, handwashing and hygiene, that will enable our community to best protect itself. By coming together, we hope our combined voice will act as a reminder that we are all together in this, and that we will all help each other through this as one perseverant and vibrant community.

“We wish everyone a Shabbat Shalom, a Shabbat of peace, of health, and a Shabbat of feeling more connected now than ever before.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom.”

The letter is signed by

Rabbi Avi Pekier, Head of School, Torah Day School

Rabbi Yaakov Green, Head of School, Akiba Yavneh Academy

Tom Elieff, Head of School, Ann & Nate Levine Academy

Rabbi Mordechai Harris, Executive Director, Center for Jewish Education & Rabbi in Residence, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

The DHHRM will temporarily close from March 14-March 22. It will also postpone all events and programs through Thursday, April 30.

“We are exploring creative ways to provide interesting and uplifting digital content and virtual programming to continue to inspire Upstander behavior during this unsettling time. We are grateful to our Survivors, board of directors, staff, visitors, volunteers, members, donors, and partners for your continued support of the Museum and our mission,” said Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins and Board Chair Frank Risch in an email to stakeholders.

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