It’s not easy out there right now with COVID-19 restrictions and guidance changing almost daily, it can be hard to keep up. The Ottawa Jewish E-Bulletin has rounded up some of the most current advice while pediatrician Dr. Karen Palayew, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s outgoing Campaign Chair and current Federation Board vice-chair, offers some words of encouragement for these trying times:
“As we enter 2022, we face many of the same challenges we have been navigating through during the past 21 plus months. The pandemic has impacted all of us. While we may be managing, we are all struggling with the effect on our lives at home, at work, and in our community.
“Although there are many uncertainties, the one consistent reality has been our care for one another as individuals, and as a community. The support for every aspect of Jewish life in Ottawa has been a priority, helping all of us feel safe and secure.
“As we move forward, we need to continue working together with strength, hope and optimism. We need to do so with care and compassion for one another, sharing acts of kindness, and at the same time, allowing ourselves to reach out for help when needed.
“Let us all continue to be present for each other, and look forward to a healthier, more engaging and brighter year ahead.”
Here are some resources to help you make decisions for your and your family’s safety. You may have received this in a community email earlier this week, along with this message from CEO Andrea Freedman:
“As Canada’s top doctor. Dr. Theresa Tam said: ‘Every pandemic comes to an end throughout history,’” Freedman reminded us.
“It can be challenging to remember this as we lose count of what wave we are in and all of our individual resiliency is sorely tested. It is precisely when things are most difficult that our community resiliency becomes even more important. And our community resiliency remains exceptionally strong. Community organizations continue to provide invaluable programming and services. Federation continues to make regular emergency allocations. Volunteers continue to help and step up to the plate to help one another. And we all do our best to practice self-care and kindness to others.”
Pastoral support: Last week, Federation organized a meeting of community rabbis to discuss how to support the community at this difficult time. Recognizing that not everyone is a member of a congregation, the incredible rabbis stepped forward to offer pastoral care to any community member in need. Here is a list of rabbis willing to help, the congregation they are affiliated with and also their language skills, (e.g. Hebrew, Russian or French).
The meeting also launched the Community Kahoot event, a special family-friendly Jewish trivia event and Havdalah event on Jan. 15 at 7 pm, aimed to help people connect and feel part of the community. Visit here to register and for more info.
Jewish Family Services (JFS): JFS continues to provide a range of services to community members in need. Through additional support from Jewish Federation of Ottawa, JFS can help during this uncertain time. Please reach out if you are experiencing food insecurity, mental health challenges, abuse, loss of income, confusion around government support and eligibility, challenges in supporting unwell or senior family members, or disconnection from family and community because of social isolation and distancing. Phone: 613-722-2225 x300 and leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org. JFS attempts to respond within 24 hours.
Ottawa Kosher Food Bank: If you are struggling to put food on your table, the Kosher food bank can help. Contact through the online form.
Ten Yad: The support provided by Ten Yad (in the context of COVID) extends to those families where, in addition to the normal difficulties of COVID, there were further health complications, such as a pregnant mother fighting the virus. In short, Ten Yad will offer support and step in when the Covid-challenge extends beyond “low grade” illness.
In addition, anyone who is hospitalized and unable to access the Kosher Pantries in any of the four locations can reach out to Ten Yad. They make every effort to arrange for in-hospital volunteers to deliver kosher snacks and/or basic Shabbat items like electric candles and grape juice, which offers not only practical assistance but a sense of comfort as well.
Jewish Ottawa Helps: Federation’s Facebook page remains an excellent place to go if you need non-professional, short-term assistance. For example, if your entire family is in isolation and you need groceries delivered, simply post what you need and an incredible community member will help. If you are in a position to help, please offer assistance where you can.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH): OPH maintains a helpful website with useful links on everything from vaccination to the latest health measures in effect. Find it here.
They also have valuable mental health information including 24/7 crisis hotlines here.
If you are in crisis, contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-722-6914. If you have a youth in crisis, contact the Youth Services 24/7 Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-260-2360.
OPH also has helpful infographics for when to isolate, based on your symptoms: