Nonprofit agency executives and lay leadership brief the Congressman on the pandemic’s local impact
Dozens of Jewish community leaders joined Congressman Troy Balderson (R, OH-12) for a conference call to discuss the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, assess community priorities, and understand federal policy options. The call, hosted by the Congressman, was facilitated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Columbus (JCRC) and Ohio Jewish Communities (OJC).
Congressman Balderson began the call with a review of federal actions as well as private sector and individual efforts to combat the spread of the virus. He also discussed the federal stimulus effort and how it is intended to alleviate acute, current issues facing families, businesses, and nonprofit agencies of all kinds.
In the next part of the call, the Congressman heard from several community leaders on how the community has both responded to the crisis to serve those most vulnerable and in need, as well as the legislative or regulatory priorities in ensuring the agencies can continue to accomplish their service missions.
“In a time of crisis such as this, our community must act in unison to support one another and protect our most vulnerable. This pandemic has affected each person and family in a way that is as unique as they are, and we must approach solutions with understanding and respect. I’m grateful to serve as an advocate and ally for my friends in Central Ohio’s Jewish community, and I stand ready to lend a helping hand however and whenever I can,” stated Congressman Troy Balderson.
Joel Marcovitch, CEO of JewishColumbus, detailed the community’s pre-pandemic planning process, including working on an inter-agency contingency plan with Jewish Family Services (JFS) and Wexner Heritage Village (WHV) should key social services be suspended. Karen Mozenter, the CEO of JFS, gave an overview of their work in mental and behavioral health counseling, helping seniors experiencing social isolation, new clients needing housing and food insecurity assistance, and the pivot of their signature workforce development programs to help those newly unemployed with training and placement assistance.
"From the necessary PPP loans to other critical stimulus funds, the focus of Congressman Balderson on the issues that affect our community - and others in Central Ohio - has seen real results."
Joel Marcovitch, CEO, JewishColumbus
Key areas with funding gaps also include technological hardware and software to allow for telehealth, to combat social isolation, and to provide workforce counseling and training.
Marcovitch noted “From the necessary PPP loans to other critical stimulus funds, the focus of Congressman Balderson on the issues that affect our community - and others in Central Ohio - has seen real results. Our agencies, and those they work and serve, have been impacted in a very real way by this legislation. We appreciate the chance to speak with him and look forward to working together again."
As well, Rabbi Avraham Drandoff, Head of School at Columbus Torah Academy, spoke of the new needs they faced beginning in March and looking ahead to the new academic year. Like JFS, these will also require technology such as tablets or laptops as well as PPE and sanitary equipment for the school campus, and potential capital funding to address renovations recommended or required by public health authorities.
Finally, the Congressman heard from Brad Kastan, co-chair of the JCRC, regarding Central Ohio’s potential to partner more deeply with Israel regarding job training for new, post-pandemic opportunities as well as trendsetting medical research, a specialty for both our region and for Israel.
“As our community continues its recovery and its services to anyone in need, regardless of faith, we count on the partnerships with our public officials. The Columbus area Jewish community is lucky to have as passionate a partner as Congressman Balderson. We’ve seen that already on issues such as community security, where he’s been a leader in the Congress. Now, his commitment to addressing the issues raised today will be equally vital as Congress looks to the next stimulus and even beyond,” said Howie Beigelman, OJC Executive Director.
This is the latest in a series of calls and videoconferences OJC and its partners have convened with public officials during the COVID19 pandemic. Previously, statewide community leadership calls were held with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH).
"As our community continues its recovery and its services to anyone in need, regardless of faith, we count on the partnerships with our public officials. The Columbus area Jewish community is lucky to have as passionate a partner as Congressman Balderson."
Howie Beigelman, Executive Director, Ohio Jewish Communities
May 19, 2020
"I’m grateful to serve as an advocate and ally for my friends in Central Ohio’s Jewish community, and I stand ready to lend a helping hand however and whenever I can,”
Congressman Troy Balderson
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