Shimon Fogel on COVID: ‘Everyone at CIJA has been affected’

The following is a statement from Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), to The CJR, regarding the COVID pandemic and how it has affected his organization:

“CIJA has, as you can imagine, been intensely busy trying to ensure that our stakeholders – who are on the front lines of providing services and supporting the most vulnerable – have the resources to carry out their mission.

“As the community pivots to address those needs, all of us have had to make adjustments. In some respects, the COVID circumstances made the decisions for us.

“Schools and universities have closed, so the regular activities associated with those programs have been suspended, with the resources being deployed to social service agencies and the like.

“So the financial impacts have been real and have touched all of us. I won’t elaborate on the specifics, but everyone at CIJA has been affected. Temporary lay-offs are being experienced by all agencies, as well as reduced work weeks and salary cuts even for those remaining on fulltime duty.

Programs have also been affected and our advocacy agenda has been temporarily contracted to focus on COVID-related issues and the ongoing fight against antisemitism, which has asserted itself in new ways as a result of the pandemic. 

“We hope and expect these measures to be temporary and in the interim, the CIJA team is doing extraordinary work in ensuring communal institutions and agencies benefit fully from government programs introduced by all levels of government. We have seen the tangible differences our efforts have had and the sense of fulfilment and satisfaction derived from those accomplishments helps sustain us during these difficult days. The continued support of the Federations and the broader Jewish community is both gratifying and encouraging.”