Federation coordinates multiple agencies to shoulder crisis
Through grit, hustle and “the power of the collective,” the Dallas Jewish community mobilized its resources to assist the organizations and families that were displaced by the Oct. 20 tornadoes.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas President and CEO Mariam Shpeen Feist and A.J. Rosmarin recapped the community effort in an email to the community Friday before Shabbat.
“The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas has been moving toward our ‘new normal’ in the aftermath of Sunday evening’s tornado. We are grateful that our partner agencies, congregations, Jewish organizations — locally and nationally, local agency executives, and rabbis have reached out to see how they can assist our Dallas Jewish community as a whole.
“As you expect of your Federation, we have convened several organizations which are offering resources to the community. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
“•Jewish Family Service (JFS) has provided the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas with temporary office space this week in their building. They’ve gone out of their way to help us feel at home;
“•Jewish Community Center (JCC) has provided office space beginning next week while the Federation’s offices next door are uninhabitable for the next few months;
“•Dallas Area Torah Association (DATA), Congregation Ohr Hatorah, and Simcha Catering & Event Design are providing the Jewish Federation with lunch for our staff as we work to continue business as usual alongside all our mitigation planning;
“•Simcha Catering & Event Design are ensuring that our seniors, who have been displaced, continue to receive their hot, kosher Meals on Wheels meals;
“•Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, Congregation Tiferet Israel, Congregation Shearith Israel, Bnai Zion and Legacy Senior Communities have offered space in their buildings for the Federation to hold internal and external meetings along with events;
“•Legacy Senior Communities is conducting a collection of items geared toward seniors’ needs and is partnering with Jewish Family Service, JCC, Temple Emanu-El and Congregation Shearith Israel to best distribute the items;
“•Congregation Shaare Tefilla has taken in the JCC’s Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center so they can continue to offer childcare to their families even as their building is shut down by the storm;
“•Greene Family Camp has been offering pop-up day camp at Temple Emanu-El for children whose schools have been closed by the storm;
“•Congregation Shearith Israel has set up a collaborative spreadsheet where individuals can post resources and expertise they have and are ready to offer to those in need as they rebuild their lives;
“•Temple Shalom has offered to host Community Homes for Adults, Inc.’s (CHAI) digital infrastructure until they are up and running;
“•Federation’s Community Security Initiative Director, Bill Humphrey, has been working with the Dallas Police Department and the JCC to ensure our campus is monitored and the perimeter is secured around the clock;
“… and many, many more. Our organized Jewish community is in close contact.
“Additionally, our national system, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has been in touch with us daily to ensure we have the resources to help our community recover. They are ready and willing to help with our infrastructure whether we need it now or in the future.
“This is the POWER OF THE COLLECTIVE.
“As a reminder, should you need any emergency services or someone to speak with during this difficult time, please call the Federation’s hotline at 214-369-3313. Your call will be returned during normal business hours.”
Power was restored to the Aaron Family JCC Friday, Oct. 25, and the JCC reopened Sunday, Oct. 27. The Northaven entrance to the J remains closed and members are asked to enter through the Valleydale entrance.
Seniors were eating hot lunches and the Goldberg Early Childhood Center was open on the JCC campus Monday, though its outdoor areas are still being cleared of debris.
ECC Director Tara Ohayon has kept in close contact with ECC families through detailed daily emails which include tips to talk to young children about the storm.
“A good rule of thumb when talking about these difficult topics is to take your child’s lead. Answer the questions that they ask without giving too much information. Naturally we elaborate when answering their questions and in these situations, sometimes our elaborations can give them too much information. When we give more info than they need, we could accidentally give them something new to worry about.”
On Monday morning, the J hosted GECC parent and psychologist Kristen Ohlenforst, who shared additional ideas on how to talk to young children about the tornado. To see the video visit: https://youtu.be/JQMCAnWcONY.