The Interfaith Solidarity Network breaks down barriers and inspires solidarity among communities in the San Fernando Valley.
*We build relationships across cultures and faiths
*We educate our communities
*We organize for peace and justice
*We mobilize against intolerance
*We embrace the principles of nonviolence
ISN COVID-19 UPDATE
Faith Community Call with Mayor Eric Garcetti
Visit corona-virus.la for the most up-to-date information.
The executive order prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people, we strongly encourage you to livestream or videotape worship services online.
While you may not be able to provide direct assistance because of your own financial hardship, we encourage you to share resources coming from the City, including the L.A. Jobs portal. Go to lajobportal.com to apply for jobs that need employees today.
One of our top priorities has been to increase our capacity to test people to see if they have the virus so that we can more effectively treat them and contain the spread of the virus. We now have some testing kits but they are strictly for Los Angeles residents who are in the most vulnerable populations (1) Angelenos who are 65 and older; (2) Angelenos who have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma and people who are immunocompromised, including as a result of cancer treatment. If one of your parishioners is eligible for testing, they can check availability at coronavirus.LACity.org
On Thursday, County partners and the Mayor announced the new Safer at Home Order sending a message to all that it is safer to stay home if not performing essential activities. This order stopped all public/private gatherings that would occur outside of a single home and ceased all non-essential business that require in-person attendance by workers at the workplace. This does mean that the traditional approach to worship services is temporarily suspended.
Permitted essential businesses include grocery stores, restaurants (for take-out, drive-thru, or delivery), financial institutions, transportation services, healthcare operations, hardware stores, and organizations and businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, including food banks hosted by our faith community and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or needy individuals.
We encourage you to use online giving as a tool to receive offerings and monetary donations.
This is a great time to get youth involved in our worship spaces. Think about having one of them record a video message to send via social media. Also, consider sending phone trees or email blasts with the most up-to-date information about the City’s response.
It’s important to check in on our seniors. While we are encouraging social distancing, we know that social interaction is very important
Q & A:
Q: Are we adhering to the letter and spirit of the order if we have a clergy member stand right inside the gate of the synagogue, and invite members to walk by, in immediate family groups only, to exchange shabbat/sabbath greetings, with 10-feet of distance maintained?
A: We are asking that we all refrain from gathering. We know this is difficult, especially when our worship calls for gathering. As much as possible, please conduct ministry activities virtually so that we avoid the spread of COVID-19, especially to our most vulnerable populations.
Q: When the Safer at Home measures are lifted, I imagine there will be some kind of lighter-touch social distancing still required--what will that look like and will faith orgs start to be able to congregate again?
A: The short answer is: we’re not sure. We are working to overcome daily challenges that don't allow us to think that far in advance.
Q: Will there be any subsidies to assist houses of worship financially during these difficult times?
A: The City will not provide subsidies for houses of worship. It will need to come from the federal government. There are private dollars available. For example, The Lily Foundation supports religious organizations with grants for coronavirus relief. You can go to lilyfoundation.org to apply for those dollars. Also, the Jewish Free Loan Association is offering no-fee and interest free loans for individuals and small businesses who have lost wages as a result of the pandemic. You can access those resources at jfla.org.
Q: As we get closer to celebrating important religious holidays, such as Easter, what accommodations can our houses of worship make to celebrate in person?
A: As we get closer to celebrating important religious holidays, such as Easter, we ask that you get creative with worshipping virtually. This is a very important time for many of our communities and it is essential that we celebrate. We're asking that we celebrate in a way that may never have done in the past. It will be different and maybe difficult but this is important for the safety of everyone.
Q: Many churches need support to have the capacity to stream services. For some, there is a need for expanded wi fi to low-income areas, particularly in South LA. Others need help getting funding to hire 1-2 people to work with small churches & faith spaces to get streaming media capacity. Do you have any thoughts about whether BIDs or others might be able to help with this?
A: Here’s what we have done so far. In partnership with the California Emerging Technology Fund and EveryoneOn, the City is helping Angelenos find options for low-cost internet services, access to computers, and digital literacy services. A few carriers are stepping up as well. We’ve shared that information at GetConnectedLosAngeles.lacity.org. For assistance with live streaming, this is a perfect moment to engage youth and young adults who are tech savvy in our communities. You can use phones to stream live on Facebook and other platforms. I strongly encourage you to reach out to them and ask for assistance while other resources.
Q: How else can faith organizations help during this pandemic?
A: We encourage you to stay in communication with your parishioners, whether that be offering text study on Facebook Live or through other live streaming platforms -- many of you are already doing this great work. Stay connected to seniors by creating systems to check in on them by phone and to stop by their homes. LAUSD and the Red Cross need volunteers to help distribute food to students and families at our 60 Grab and Go stations. Individuals can sign up to be volunteers by going to https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org. In addition, please encourage your members to volunteer through the Volunteer LA portal. They can sign up to volunteer at https://volunteer.lamayor.org/ to serve in various capacities. If parishioners have funds they can donate to helping Angelenos through this pandemic, please encourage them to donate at https://corona-virus.la/.
Q: What is the City doing to help people who are out of work because of the coronavirus?
A: One of our first acts after declaring a state of emergency was to enact a moratorium on evictions to ensure that people would not lose their homes just because they may have lost their jobs. The moratorium allows people up to 6 months after the local emergency ends to pay back their rent. Similarly, the DWP has suspended power cut-offs for nonpayment of bills. In addition, the City has set up the LA Jobs Portal, https://lajobportal.com, which has information on state, county and City resources to assist people out of work, as well as information on where to apply for jobs with the several companies that are hiring at this time, such as grocery stores and delivery companies. Governor Newsom issued an order making it easy to apply for unemployment or disability insurance in cases related to the coronavirus, including by eliminating the one-week waiting period that is usually required to obtain the state benefits. Finally, we have set up an LA Emergency COVID-19 crisis fund to strengthen our communities, health and emergency response. One of the top priorities of the fund will be grants for people who are facing financial hardship as a result of the virus.
FAITH AND VALUES CONQUER FEAR IN FEARFUL TIMES
QUESTION: Why did I photoshop these two living creatures wearing protective masks? The answer is found in the story of Passover.
Above, on the left no . . . he’s not Moses parting the sea. He’s a Biblical first responder, Nachshon ben Aminadav, first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in Numbers 1:17 and via commentary, inserted into the Red Sea scene in Exodus 14.
Above, on the right no . . . it’s not Flipper, but an unnamed front line dolphin alluded to in Hebrew Scriptures in Exodus 26:14, and via commentary also inserted into the Red Sea scene in Exodus 14.
Exodus 14: Then Moses held out his arm over the sea and God drove back the sea and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split and the Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, (after Nachshon tested the depth of the water) the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left (as the dolphins watched from behind the walls of water). The Egyptians came in pursuit after them.
NACHSHON: Upon arriving at the Red Sea, eager to cross over to freedom and escape, the pursuing Egyptian chariots bent on returning the Israelites to slavery and a certain death in Egypt, Moses realizes that as the leader, he cannot enter the waters first but must find someone who will “volunteer” to test the depth of the water. The ancient story continues with Moses asking: “Who will enter the water to make sure it is safe to cross?”
No one responds. He calls, in desperation again. And again, no response. Finally one person steps forward and while trembling with fear, declares “I shall go!”
It was Nachshon ben Aminadav whose name, which hints at a personality of volunteerism (“nadav”), appears only once in Hebrew Scriptures as an assistant leader of the tribe of Judah. He steps into the sea and begins to walk towards the shore of freedom. The waters rise slowly over his body but, thankfully, cease rising at his neck. It was safe to go. The escape to freedom and life was ultimately due to the act of our first responder, Nachshon.
DOLPHIN: While observing the Israelites running on dry ground from the pursuing Egyptians, the dolphin noticed that the young speedy Israelites had no difficulty reaching the shore of freedom. But the ill, fragile elderly, and very young were much slower and in jeopardy…they wouldn’t make it to the other side without help. The dolphin (along with the other dolphins) selflessly jumped out of the wall of water and onto dry ground knowing they were risking their lives to save others. They quickly surrounded those needing help and carried them safely to freedom. But they were out of the water too long and expired on the shore. In their honor God later commands that part of the traveling Sanctuary be made from dolphin skins, in gratitude for their frontline lifesaving sacrifice.
Today’s Nachshon: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a lifesaving
fire-fighter, a police officer, a hospital administrator, a doctor, a nurse, a caregiver.
Today’s Dolphins: Physician’s Asst., respiratory therapists, CNA’s, custodial staff, maintenance staff, delivery drivers, truck operators, market employees (from shelf stockers to cashiers, to managers), teachers continuing their schooling online, pharmacy employees, food pantry volunteers, food providers,
research scientists, scientists, Coronovirus test analyzers, journalists, therapists & clergy saving our emotional, psychological/spiritual selves, mortuary and cemetery staff, and anyone who reaches out to call, send a card, Skype to reassure isolated family and friends.
The effort of one, saving hundreds . . . of thousands saving millions. Each with a faith his/her ability and skill to be of service to others and a belief in the supreme value of saving life.
Indeed, this is a fearful time for us all. May our respective faiths not only guide us, but fortify us against an immobilizing fear preventing a healing response.
“Stay safe” we each say to each other. But we are indebted to those first responders and front line workers who are the ones who make us safer each day.
When this is all over, let us not forget what they do for us every day.
Rabbi Jim Kaufman, Temple Beth Hillel
Board Member, ISN
Interfaith Solidarity Network is in the business of changing and shaping lives. The work we do at our Non-Profit is aimed at providing a holistic approach to solving some of our society’s biggest challenges. We make sure our partners are empowered by creating opportunities for individuals and communities.
For the past two years, more than 1,000 people participated in the San Fernando Valley's annual Interfaith Solidarity March to protest bigotry and division in the U.S. This year's 1.4 mile march will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2019 from 2-5 p.m. starting at Valley Beth Israel, and will stop at neighboring congregations St. Genevieve Catholic Church and finish at Panorama Presbyterian for a dinner provided by the Sikh Coalition. Hindu Dawali prayers will be offered. More than 1,500 will march to foster understanding, collaboration and unity. Join us! #InterfaithSolidarityNetwork
CONTACT INTERFAITH SOLIDARITY NETWORK
San Fernando Valley, CA, USA