COVID-19 Update


  • The Path Toward Reopening
  • Virtual Schedule
  • Love & Support
  • Resources & Ways to Help

בָּרוּךְ… שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽינוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה

Barukh… she-hehiyanu v’kiyemanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed is the One who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this moment.

Over the past 14 months, we have learned in a new way what it means to be interconnected. We saw how a tiny virus, thousands of miles away, could quickly spread across the entire world, and turn our lives upside down. And we felt the power of the community we have built. We showed up for one another differently, found that we could still connect—meaningfully and miraculously—through Zoom and Facebook and phone calls and distanced hellos.

But we have looked eagerly to the day when we could safely be together, hearing each other’s voices blend, feeling the energy, celebrating and grieving and laughing and crying and dancing together once again.

With tremendous gratitude, that time has arrived. We are excited to announce that IKAR will resume limited in-person Shabbat and holiday services beginning on Shabbat morning, May 8th. We will also continue broadcasting our services via Zoom and Facebook Live throughout this time, especially knowing that most people who will access our services in this transition period will do so online.

We are immensely appreciative of our Medical Task Force and Reopening Committee for the many hours they have spent thinking through these next steps, and to everyone who shared feedback, questions, and concerns about this process.

As we navigate this time of transition, we recognize that we may be moving slower than some of you want and faster than others are ready for. Our gatherings will not yet look as they once did or as they will one day again, once all restrictions are lifted. This process will require patience and generosity of spirit from all of us. We know also that each person and family is making the decisions that feel right for them, and we hope that as a community we can hold one another with gentleness and care.

What will this transition look like?
On Friday evening, May 7th, our clergy and davening team will join together for an intimate, in-person, soft launch, streaming services together from the rooftop of Shalhevet. The next morning, Saturday, May 8th, we will come together with approximately 50 people on the rooftop of Shalhevet, distanced and masked in household pods. This number will grow as time goes on and we learn how to safely and effectively create sacred space in person together.

How do I sign up?
Right here, on this form! Please indicate your top three preferences for a Shabbat to attend during May and June, and we will do our best to accommodate. Children are welcome to come (this is IKAR after all!), as long as they remain with their family during services or in a designated area for kids. Our highest priority is to keep you safe, so everyone present will be expected to follow all mask and distancing protocols. Please note: At this time, we are only welcoming IKAR members to join us in person.


Vaccines:
Receiving a vaccine—for those eligible and medically able—is the single most important thing one can do to engage in pikuah nefesh, the imperative to save a life. We have all seen this past year as the number of COVID cases and deaths rose and fell based on the actions and decisions of individuals. We believe that there is a Jewish and moral imperative for all who are able to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible—for your own sake, and for the sake of the broader community.

Since full eligibility for 16+ has just opened, we recognize that not all have yet been able to be fully vaccinated. Therefore, our initial gatherings will remain small, and we will encourage but not require that everyone present is fully vaccinated. Beginning June 11th, once vaccines have been widely accessible, we will only make services available to adults (16+) who are fully vaccinated and their children, as well as those medically unable to vaccinate.

If you have concerns or questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, we encourage you to speak with one of the medical professionals in our community who is happy to have a frank and confidential conversation. Please reach out to [email protected] and we will connect you.

More questions? You can find more details and answers here.

We cannot wait to see you.

Shabbat shalom,
The IKAR Team

With incredible gratitude to our Reopening Task Force:

Dr. Deborah Ascheim
Dr. Mark Benor
Dr. Bryna Harwood
Dr. Nicole Nourmand
Betsy Uhrman
Kwasi Gee
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Melissa Balaban
Rabbi Ronit Tsadok
Samuel Alleyne
Ethan Goldstine
Mo Langer

Even as we start to slowly reopen our Shabbat services for in-person attendance, much of our programming will continue to be held virtually. Please visit ikar.org/calendar to explore our programs and for more details.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please let our clergy know, and look below for a number of ways to get and give support:


Financial Support 

Thanks to a small grant from The Jewish Federation, we are able to disperse small contributions for members who need a helping hand, whether to pay for rent or groceries. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you can benefit from some assistance. We are here to help, and of course, this will be kept confidential.

Sharing is Caring

If you own gently used baby clothing or supplies (cribs, bottles, etc.) or home medical equipment (commodes, walkers, shower chairs, etc.) and would like to lend or give them to a fellow IKARite please register them here. If you need any of these kinds of items, you may view the list of available items and make a request here.


Prayers for Healing

There are many among us, both near and far, who are fighting illness — community members, family members, and loved ones. We are collecting the names of those in need of healing so that we can include them in our prayers. If there is someone in your life in need of healing of body or spirit please share their name and your relationship with them here and you can find the names of those who need extra healing here. You may indicate whether you wish to share the names with IKAR clergy only, or with the whole community. We wish a speedy and complete recovery to all who are struggling with illness.


Whatsapp Groups

Connect with other IKARites over Whatsapp about your passions, skills, and ways you are staying busy during this time. To join the Whatsapp group, you need to have the app downloaded on your phone. (Download WhatsApp from the Google Play Store on Android or the App Store on iPhone and create an account, if necessary.) Click on the link of the group you are interested in joining and select join group. This can be done on your phone or the desktop version of Whatsapp.

Once you join the group, introduce yourself, share your favorite meme of the day, and get to know IKARites better!

TRIBE (those in their 20s and 30s)

Mid-Yids (IKAR’s mid-age members)

Boomers (Alta Rockers/Empty Nesters)

Animal Owners and Lovers

Bakers and Baking Enthusiasts

TV & Film IKARites

Find Vaccine Resources here.


From Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles: If you or someone you know qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles and needs assistance registering for an appointment, they’ll be matched with a trained volunteer to help with vaccine enrollment. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to [email protected] or 323-761-8225.

LA County residents aged 16+ are now eligible for vaccination. Please note: The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine currently authorized for teens ages 16 and over. The Moderna and Janssen Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been authorized in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Do you or someone you know need help booking a COVID vaccine appointment? Call Get Out The Shot: LA for assistance. 213-986-7604, www.gotsla.org

Standby list for extra COVID vaccines.

How You Can Help:

Living toolkit from LA County with constant updates related to public safety alerts, health guidance, and economic recovery.

CONFRONTING COVID-19: LA COUNTY RESPONDS

Guidance for Celebrating Holidays


THE NEEDS OF OUR TEENS:

Teen Talk – Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles created the Teen Talk mobile app to provide social and emotional support to teens. Now more than ever, we see Teen Talk as a critical lifeline for teens in Los Angeles and around the world.

DONATE TO AND/OR VOLUNTEER AT A FOOD SHELTER OR FOOD BANK – During this time organizations are running low on food items, help them stay well-stocked for those in need. Food banks are in great need of volunteers to help pack and sort food. They are taking precautions to prioritize volunteer safety. Visit California Association of Food Banks here.

DONATE BLOOD – Healthy, eligible donors are urged to come out and give to ensure there’s lifesaving blood on the shelves for those who need it most. Visit the American Red Cross.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT & MORE

Social Services

The Jewish Federation’s Community Call line is open 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Thursday and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on Fridays. Those needing access to social services or financial assistance can call (323) 761-8305. See the Federation Website for resources for community members in need, volunteer and learning opportunities. If you or someone you know needs access to social services including financial assistance, please call The Jewish Federation’s Community Call Line at (323) 761-8305.

Ezra Network Wraparound Services

The Federation’s Ezra Network provides wraparound social services to those in need in our Jewish community, including government benefits applications, short-term counseling, legal services, job search readiness training, and screening for financial assistance via Federation’s Max Factor Family Foundation Financial Assistance Network. By calling Federation’s Community Call Line at (323) 761-8305, any Jewish community member in need will be connected to the Ezra Network to begin to navigate these FREE services. Learn more here.

Employment Opportunities

JVS SoCal helps people prepare for and find employment opportunities through a variety of services including employment readiness, no cost job skills training, mentoring, career counseling, Veterans’ services, and job fairs. Thanks to The Jewish Federation, JVS SoCal has special programs designed for the Jewish community including comprehensive career counseling, individualized work with a job search coach through the Ezra

No-Interest Loans – To cover expenses related to COVID-19, help with free, no-interest loans is one click away. Resource guide from LA Forward.

FOOD SUPPORT & MORE   

MAZON: Jewish Response to Hunger  Charitable Food Resource Guide during COVID-19

Jewish Family Service (JFS) SOVA – Community Food & Resource Program is now providing prepackaged bags of food to help minimize the risk to both clients and volunteers. The JFS senior nutrition program is now providing all food via delivery. To receive these services, please call JFS Central Access at (877) 275-4537. Network, and an academic scholarship program for students. For more information, contact JVS SoCal at (323) 761-8888 or see the website.

Food Security Support Guide.

LGBQT+ Support – The Equality California COVID-19 Help Center has launched a help center, phone line and email to help anyone who needs to get tested, file for unemployment or a loan, find a foodbank, or talk to a mental health professional.

HELP YOURSELF

Mutual aid networks that may be useful.

Ezra Network – visit here to learn about various community resources including free access to a social worker, job counselor and more.

Relief Resources (reliefhelp.org), a completely free mental health care referral organization for frum Jews, connecting them with frum/frum friendly therapists in the area

Group Therapy LA – Offers telemedicine COVID-19 Support group, couples groups and individual therapy. Read more here. (310) 893-0096

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

For a list of Los Angeles County Psychological Association therapists who are offering free or low fee therapy during this pandemic, please go here. (Please note, in providing this list, IKAR is not making official referrals, but instead sharing this generous resource)

Futures without Violence – resource for survivors of abuse during Covid-19.

Addiction and Recovery Support Groups on Zoom:  Click here.

Resources for Victims and Survivors of Domestic Violence During the Pandemic

This comprehensive guide identifies common abuse types, gives tips on emergency planning, tech safety, and lists support programs for housing, immigration, and financial independence.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines

1-877-7-CRISIS

1(800)784-2433

California Youth Crisis Line: 1(800)843-5200

Teen Line: 310-855-4673, 1(800)852-8336

The Trevor Project (LGBTQ) 1-866-488-7386