Rank and File

New Support Groups Help Immigrants During the Coronavirus Crisis

Plus, Nefesh B'Nefesh provides online activities for English speakers stuck at home and Jerusalem English Theater has transformed its website to reflect the current situation

Steve Klein
Steven Klein
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Jessica Leitner
Jessica LeitnerCredit: Dena Goldstein
Steve Klein
Steven Klein

HELP IN TIME OF CRISIS: KeepOlim has announced it is starting free online support groups for new immigrants, in five languages, to help them through the coronavirus crisis. Small groups will meet online with an experienced volunteer therapist, who is also an immigrant, under the direction of volunteer mental health program director Dr. Robert Lubin. “The participants will bond and support each other during and after this crisis is finished, by giving them the tools to be proactive in overcoming the obstacles many olim are facing due to the crisis,” CEO and co-founder LiAmi Lawrence said. “KeepOlim has answered the mentally distressed calls of over 200 olim in their time of need in the last four years,” Lawrence added. “We speak their language: our therapists are olim, we know what they are going through.” The sessions will be available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French or Russian. To register, go to KeepOlim.org

Dr. Robert Lubin
Dr. Robert LubinCredit: Courtesy of Robert Lubin

STAYING BUSY ONLINE: The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed immigration to Israel to a trickle, but immigrant support group Nefesh B’Nefesh is keeping busy by providing online activities for English speakers stuck at home, all through Zoom. On Sunday, Natalie Birnbaum – a trained teacher in the Bhakti and Ayurveda traditions – will offer a yoga and breath class, while chef Todd Aarons will teach “Survival Tactics in the Kitchen” and Nevo Rachimi will show how to grow your own vegetables and herbs. On Monday, certified health coach Julian Brass will offer an exclusive webinar about “owning your anxiety.” Also Monday, you can practice conversational Hebrew at the virtual Cafe Oleh. On Tuesday, there is a virtual fitness class for kids, an aerobic dance workout with Dr. Jessica Leitner, a lecturer at Wingate Institute, and a styling workshop. Later that evening, Gadi Last will present a webinar on finances. Go to nbn.org.il to check out these and other events.

Julian Brass
Julian Brass

THE JET SET: JET, the Jerusalem English Theater community, has transformed its website in wake of the coronavirus pandemic: Instead of listing where you can catch shows in English in Israel, it is now showing where you can find live streams of such performances or archived material online. JET founder Charles B. Davies told Haaretz he is “still learning” how to adapt to the new environment. “It’s hard to track the audience and there’s a big question of allowing people into Zoom or just having them watch a live version on Facebook or YouTube,” he said. He noted that he did a reading with playwright Yasmine Beverly Rana – who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey – of her play “Paradise,” which takes place during Hurricane Katrina, followed by a Q&A with viewers. He also launched JET Live, “which will feature different theater community members speaking about how they are remaining creative.” To find performances, visit https://jetcommunity.org

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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