24 Hours For the New Normal in St. Petersburg

Tags: Federation, Russia, Overseas

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Below is a letter from our community members in Cleveland's sister city in Russia, St. Petersburg of how their lives had to change after the Coronavirus affected their way of operations:

These last two weeks were by far the strangest weeks in our lives. You guys are a bit ahead of us – you started earlier. But the inevitability of the corona crisis hit Russia as well, only a bit later. As you know, on March 18th, we made the toughest decision in our work life – we closed our JCC Yesod. But, the very next day we went on-line!

I will remember those 24 hours between these two dates for the rest of my life. So will all of our staff.

Our camps (4 shifts for kids 7-11 and 12-15, 75 in total), our studios (7 of them), our events and lectures – everything went on-line practically overnight. Our Lehava students and Lehava Jr teenagers went volunteering the next day (food packaging and delivery, matzo and medicine delivery, talking on the phone and calling the elderly, etc.). Our teachers learned how to use on-line services in two days. Our staff became radio and video stars with our own broadcast JCC TV.

Zoom became our second identity.

And after I saw a Klezmer master class (parallel performances) on-line, I felt like now I’ve seen it all.

What can I say – what is happening now is very tough on all of us and we will never be the same, but it might be that this experience has taught us something very important. For the least, that we can do much more than we have imagined a day before!

We just wanted to say – we are here, we love and care for you, we stay strong. And happy Passover, no matter how weird it will be in an online format!

With love,

YESOD team from St. Petersburg

Learn More: Federation, Russia, Overseas