Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit expands reach despite COVID pandemic challenges

Jewish Federation CEO speaks about pandemic challenges
Jewish Federation CEO speaks about pandemic challenges

DETROIT – The Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit has a mission to take care of the needs of Jewish people in Metro Detroit and around the world.

While that hasn’t been an easy mission, they’ve made things work while expanding their reach. Like the rest of the world, the COVID pandemic brought on many challenges for the Jewish Federation.

“It was a tough pill to swallow to tell every temple and synagogue in the area that we would advise that they shut down, effective immediately, basically and send everybody home,” Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit CEO Steven Ingber said.

Ingber said they were able to help the temples and synagogues pivot to outdoor and virtual services, which has broadened the Jewish community.

“Our engagement level is actually at the highest point that they’ve ever been. So we’re very proud of that and we hope to continue that going forward. We’re now sort of in the hybrid mode, it’s both Zoom and in person,” Ingber said.

Expanding the Jewish community is something Ingber has been helping with at the federation for years, but now, as CEO, he’s prepared to continue reaching out to people in Metro Detroit.

The federation has delivered home cooked meals to homebound seniors and is now fighting COVID by setting up a vaccine clinic.

“We started a vaccine clinic here at Federation and we’ve vaccinated over 2,500 people over the last three weeks and we’d like to say, you know, Jewish or non-Jewish, just any of our neighbors,” Ingber said. “We have some people who are practicing and we have some people who are very devout and we have some people who are Jewish by culture and that’s OK, you know, everyone has their own way of practicing Judaism.”

Ingber said the programs are open to anyone from any faith.

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