AN emergency operations centre (EOC) established by the NSW Jewish communal leadership officially opened on Tuesday, providing assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EOC was founded as part of the Jewish Emergency Management Plan (JEMP), which was activated on March 12. It is a joint response from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD), Council for Jewish Community Security (NSW) and Community Security Group NSW (CSG).
JBOD president Lesli Berger, who is chairing the communal Decision Makers Group, said the centre “will be ready to assist members of our community who are in need”.
“Through the crisis, and through this JEMP process we’ve got a number of subcommittees – we’ve got a medical subcommittee, we’ve got a financial subcommittee – which are starting to prepare and plan for not only what we’re about to face in the coming weeks, but also importantly how we make sure our community is as strong and robust as possible after the pandemic has passed,” Berger said.
He added members of the community “can take enormous comfort” that its leaders are working very closely together.
“We are organised. Every Jewish institution is cooperating – to their great credit,” he said.
“We’ve got many, many volunteers who are willing to help with various tasks and so the idea is that we want to supplement what is going to be happening in terms of government schemes and the like with our own community-led response.”
JCA – which has cancelled its usual major campaign event this year due to the coronavirus outbreak – is working closely with member organisations and the CSG crisis management team to anticipate communal needs and ensure that help gets to those who need it.
“The coronavirus pandemic will test all of us on many fronts. We are fortunate that thanks to years of strong communal leadership and financial prudence and of course the generous support of our donors over decades, JCA and our communal organisations have the capacity and resilience to help our community get through this,” JCA president Stephen Chipkin said.
He said between JCA, the JBOD, CSG and the ECAJ, significant thought leadership is being applied to ensure “that we will be able to assist the community across multiple needs, over and above what the government might be doing”.
Pointing out that JCA was formed in a time of crisis, JCA CEO Alain Hasson added that specialist committees were looking closely at different scenarios that may impact organisations across the community.
“Critical communal services have historically been supported and will continue to be supported by JCA for the benefit of every person in our community,” he said, noting that demand was expected to increase for services provided by JCA member organisations such as JewishCare and COA’s Meals on Wheels.
“However, as the crisis continues to unfold, we will have to make sure that none of these vital support services are lost to our community. It should not and will not happen,” Hasson said.
For more information about communal response: csgnsw.org.au or 1300 JEMP AU (1300 536 728).