Mask Mitzvah

Mask Mitzvah

JCC Families,

This message is about facemasks.

We wanted to share that at the top so we could all take a deep breath, process whatever debate and anxiety the topic causes, and talk together about what’s next. A few months ago – could you even have imagine that ‘masks’ would be such a visceral, omnipresent subject of debate? Yet, here we are. #thankscovid

Here’s the reality – our community is continuing to struggle with the impact of this pandemic, and the results are not getting better nor is the effect decreasing. People are getting sick, businesses are hurting, and organizations are seeking some path towards survival. But we still have a few incredible assets on our side in this fight: incredible members, exceptional staff, and inclusive values that guide us.

The JCC is, and will continue to be, a mask-up environment. With a few exceptions (outlined below) it is our belief that being in a face covering is the safest, most inclusive, most respectful option for our entire community. If we’re not prioritizing safety, inclusion, and respect – what are we prioritizing?

This is more than a mandate, policy, or recommendation – it’s a mitzvah. As with so much of Judaism and our traditions, there’s a dualism in the word mitzvah; as both a commandment and a good deed. We believe our community is ready for more acts of kindness, more demonstration of care for each other, and more action to build a better world around us. Our values and traditions call us to do right unto each other and to do so actively and without judgement. That’s the mask mitzvah.

Here’s how we’re going to demonstrate our values to you, and ask that you join us in demonstrating those values to each other:

Staff:  JCC staff will be wearing masks at all times indoors and in direct service to members, students, and participants. The only time you’ll see a JCC staff member with their mask removed is outside in direct service of our early childhood and youth summer programs, with lifeguards where six feet of physical distancing is assured, and with group fitness instructors teaching a vigorous class.

Members – Whitefish Bay:  All members will be encouraged to wear masks upon entering and leaving the facility, picking up and dropping off students, and moving about our program spaces. Members should consider the JCC a ‘mask-up’ facility. Click for updated info based on orders from State of Wisconsin in effect as of 8/1.

Children & Youth – Whitefish Bay, Mequon, and Fredonia: All age-appropriate youth program participants will be asked to mask when coming and going from their program areas. Participants ages 5 and older will be asked to mask in indoor program spaces. Masks may be removed in outdoor spaces where six feet of physical distancing is assured.

Jewish Community Pantry Staff, Volunteers, and Clients – Milwaukee:  All participants, staff, and clients will be masked throughout the duration of their visit and service.

JCC Water Park Members and Staff – Mequon:  All members and staff will be masked upon entry and exit of the Park; staff will remain masked at all times unless in direct service in a lifeguard chair. Members are strongly encouraged to stay masked while moving about the Park when six feet of distancing cannot be assured.

We know this is a hard topic, and we respect diversity of thought and a willingness to share (and hear) different perspectives. At the end of each day, we ask ourselves – did we do everything we could to express our values, serve our community, and partner to build a healthier community? With that lens, the choices we make don’t become easier – but they do become clearer.

Please join us in this mitzvah.

Nancy Kennedy Barnett, Chair, JCC Board of Directors
Mark Shapiro, JCC President & CEO