Steven Windmueller
Is it Good for the Jews?

Our Jewish Communal System and COVID 19

Reinventing Messaging: The pace and scope of how organizations, schools and religious institutions have retooled can only be described as striking! The introduction of new systems of delivery, alternative programming and the presence of on-line services is revolutionizing much of the work product of nonprofit organizations.

Financial Pressures on the Nonprofit Sector: Depending on the intervention levels of key donors and foundations, we are likely to see a significant and long term negative economic impact on the third sector. Similar to 2008 and other moments of fiscal upheaval, we may anticipate the closure of some philanthropic, social service, educational and religious-based institutions and the downsizing of others!

Economic Fallout and Social Behaviors: The longer we experience this significant disruption to our economy, the greater the risk of seeing a significant change in the life style choices emerging out of this crisis, as families make alternative decisions in connection with giving and/or belonging to core communal institutions, be they religious, cultural, educational, etc. Such choices will be made in part by how responsive these agencies and institutions have been in reaching out to the community during this critical timeframe. A second and compelling factor will be the financial health of individuals and families in the immediate post-crisis period, permitting them to continue their involvement. A third reality involves a fundamental cultural/personal shift in social behaviors resulting from this period of isolation, as differing life priorities may redefine their specific affiliation and communal practices.

About the Author
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Prior to coming to HUC, Dr.Windmueller served for ten years as the JCRC Director of the LA Jewish Federation. Between 1973-1985, he was the director of the Greater Albany Jewish Federation (now the Federation of Northeastern New York). He began his career on the staff of the American Jewish Committtee. The author of four books and numerous articles, Steven Windmueller focuses his research and writings on Jewish political behavior, communal trends, and contemporary anti-Semitism.