Hayley Lieberman is a sophomore at the Weber school. She loves singing and writing songs, spending time with family and friends, and being outside.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found myself writing. Whether it be in a diary, poems, or a country love ballad, I have always used a pen and paper to express my emotions. I first picked up a ukelele when I was in third grade – it was the closest thing I could get to playing guitar. I wrote songs about boys and world peace, inspired by the music around me. For me, writing is a cleansing and therapeutic process, which is channeled through my music. That is why I’ve been writing bundles of songs during this quarantine. 

Every day I sit underneath dim lighting in front of my piano and try to flesh out a melody or lyrics. It passes the time so quickly. I’m not going to lie, writing has been hard this past month; I have nothing new to write about. I try to dive into the lives of TV characters. I’m currently rewatching Gossip Girl, so it’s never difficult to find some drama to write about. 

But writing music isn’t the only thing I’ve been doing. Every day I try to find a new album to indulge myself in. There’s no feeling better than when a song runs deep through my core. I listen to music when I fall asleep, study, wake up, exercise, and more. It makes the boredom and time float away. My current favorite song is “Brave” by Ruston Kelly. It makes me feel like no matter what I’ve been through, I have and will always come out stronger. I think that is a message that resonates with everyone right now. It’s important to remember that no matter what happens, our community will come out of this secure and determined. Now, more than ever, it is important to write about this unique time in history and immerse yourself in your favorite songs. 

My name is Emily Mand. I am a freshman at The Weber School and I love to play tennis, listen to music, and most of all hang out with my friends! Throughout quarantine, I haven’t been able to do a lot of things that I would normally.

As I sat in my house moping about everything that I lost because of this virus, like my first formal dance and my perfect Spring Break, I realized that I shouldn’t be complaining about losing those experiences. I thought about all of the innocent people who have lost their lives from COVID-19 and the doctors and nurses who are fighting to save every life they can”.

With that in mind, I created Hearts for Healthcare Workers. Working with CustomInk I created a t-shirt and logo to raise money for Direct Relief. Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. In this current pandemic, Direct Relief is working in overdrive to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, as quickly as possible, with emergency deliveries leaving daily for medical facilities across the U.S.donates medical equipment to local medical centers around the country and sends volunteers to help as well. All funds raised from t-shirt sales are going straight to Direct Relief.

My hope is that the fundraiser will not only just help Direct Relief donate more equipment but that this project will inspire others to create something to help stop the spread of this pandemic.

Both my parents and my sister are all doing their part as well. My mom is spending hours and hours making masks for doctors and nurses at Northside Hospital. My sister is making “Thank You” cards for everyone from the UPS driver to the doctors fighting and risking their lives to save patients.

Click here to buy your t-shirt and to help support Direct Relief. I hope to see you wearing your t-shirts soon!! 

Shinshinim Atlanta creates bridges between Atlanta and Israel by bringing tastes of Israel to Jewish Atlanta. The Shinshinim are Israeli high school graduates who defer their military service for a shnat sherut (year of service) abroad. The program is a partnership between the Jewish Agency For Israel, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and local partners including synagogues, Jewish camps, Jewish after school programs, youth groups, the MJCCA, Jewish day schools, and summer camps. 

Especially as the world seems to have lost the meaning of the world “normal,” staying deeply connected becomes more important than ever. As the situation became more serious and schools started closing all of the Shinshinim had to pack up everything and move back to Israel. Though the Shinshinim look forward to returning once the situation has been resolved, for now, the focus has been on how we can continue to provide that personal connection that means so much to people – especially as the isolation continues.

“During those confusing times, many teens are trying to find their way between their new online school routine, whatever it might look like if at all, and the confusion of spending the ‘best years of their lives’ quarantined at home. Being teens ourselves, we understand their difficulties and what they need to deal with. That’s one of the main reasons we try and make it so we’ll be there for the teens of our community, in whatever way it may be. Whether it’s through continuing to join classes at Weber at AJA, through youth movements like NFTY, USY and BBYO which we are continuing to stay connected even from half a world apart.  The other very special thing that we do – which happened naturally – is simply keeping in contact with each other.” – Dor Almog, Shinshin

Particularly due to their closeness in age, the Shinshinim have shared very meaningful connections with many Atlanta teens they met through our partner organizations and host families. On the flip side, because the Shinshinim are in Israel and a year further along, they are able to provide a different, perspective. For example, for high school seniors, this was supposed to be the highlight of their high school lives, the fact that they have someone a bit older to talk to that isn’t part of their daily routine makes a very nice and meaningful addition to their connection with Israel.

“It was really hard for us to have to go back to Israel; but I can safely say for all the Shinshinim, we are truly proud and grateful that they have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing Atlanta community. I sure that some of the connections we made with teens will last for a long time.” – Dor Almog, Shinshin

Passover 2020 – it looks different this year. We may all be thinking about how weird this is or feel a bit depressed that the large family gathering isn’t taking place. These feelings are all normal and are expected to be felt this year.

The Blue Dove Foundation, an Atlanta based nonprofit focusing on mental health education in the Jewish Community, created the Mental Health Seder Plate resource to help ground us all and restore some calmness into our Passover holiday.

Just as the symbols on the Seder plate keep us engaged with the story of Passover, each of us has self-care tools that keep us engaged with our mental health. Self-care refers to ways we attend to our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. The more of these tools we have, the better prepared we are for days when we are at our most vulnerable.

We can use Passover as a time to stop and reflect not only on the Exodus story but on our own mental health. On those difficult days when we feel stuck in a metaphorical Egypt, this mental health Seder plate can offer us inner peace.

The Mental Health Seder Plate resource consists of several pieces to include in your Passover Seder.

Personal reflection activity – This activity helps individuals to take a few moments to think about their own mental health and what they need, who can support them and how to feel comfortable. Print a copy out for each individual to complete on their own time.

Mental health interpretation of the Passover Seder plate – Offer these as additional explanations or alternative interpretations of items represented on the Passover Seder plate.

Four mental health Passover questions – Share these four questions after the traditional four questions are recited to open up a conversation around mental health.

Download this resource and view additional mental health Passover resources at https://thebluedovefoundation.org/mentalhealthpassoverseder.

The Blue Dove Foundation was created to help address the issues of mental illness and substance abuse in the Jewish community and beyond. Based in Atlanta, they work with people and organizations across the United States and around the world. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected to the Jewish mental health conversation.

Repair the World Atlanta mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. Our young adult Fellows serve full-time for 11 months supporting community-based organizations working toward housing, food, and education justice. Fellows engage volunteers in meaningful service: a cycle of learning, action, and reflection. We believe that volunteering to meet the urgent needs of our communities is a universal value and we celebrate everyone at the intersection of identities they hold.

Serving our communities, especially during this trying time, continues to be Repair the World’s priority. While Repair the World has decided to put our in-person service and learning opportunities on hold, we are shifting our focus to consider how we can mobilize Jews and our neighbors to take action to repair the world as an essential avenue of support for people impacted by the unfolding circumstances. We have been grappling with the question, “what can we do to support those around us?” We know that inequity makes vulnerable members of our community even more affected in times of distress.

During this time of social distancing, Repair is supporting its partner organizations through social distance-safe volunteer opportunities and encourages you to get involved in any way that you feel comfortable: 

Become a Grocery Helper! Concrete Jungle, a non-profit dedicated to harvesting and donating fresh produce to those in need, is mobilizing volunteers to purchase and deliver essential food items for vulnerable families experiencing isolation due to COVID-19.  Sign-up to shop for and deliver groceries to your neighbors here.

Provide a meal to women experiencing homelessness! Rebecca’s Tent, an emergency weather shelter for women experiencing homelessness in DeKalb County, relies on volunteers to provide meals for the residents.

  • Sign up to cook and deliver a meal!  There are more than 20 openings in April. Women are now being housed separately to comply with social distancing. Food is needed for 6 women and should be divided into 6 separate portions.
  • Order essential items off of their Amazon wishlist

Donate for emergency groceries! PAWKids is continuing to support Grove Park families by acting as a distribution hub, providing meals that people can pick up and bring home on foot. 40% of neighborhood residents do not have access to a car. Donations will allow PAWKids to purchase food for families who lack access to transportation to designated school pick-up sites. 

  • Donate directly to PAWKids earmarking your gift for COVID-19 via PayPal
  • Or purchase gift cards for a local grocery store: Publix, Kroger, Walmart. Gift cards can be dropped off at PAW or mailed to: P.O. Box 20468, Atlanta GA 30325
  • Also accepting donations of laptops, phones and tablets for remote learning

“Dena, how can I buy pizzas for a shift at your hospital?” That simple question from my Uncle Shawn to my mother was the starting point for what is now, The Meal Bridge. What began as one good deed, made me wonder if I could amplify that initiative. With friends and family in both the restaurant and healthcare fields, we were witnessing first-hand the growing impact of the coronavirus. Maybe a website could provide a platform to help both. 

That was a Friday. With the help of my father, an advertising creative, we created a name, a logo and a basic website by Monday. According to my father, thanks to a streamlined, cross-kitchen-table approval process, which usually takes months, we knocked out in days. And because my mother works at Emory University Hospital, she was able to find a number of units and shifts that needed to be fed as they worked long hours.

As that first week progressed, the site began its work generating needed delivery business for the restaurants near the hospital and feeding the hungry and tired Emory Hospital employees. Friends and family were the first to donate, but then, with a few articles in the local media and a generous Atlanta community, days of donations quickly turned into full weeks of filled time slots. The Meal Bridge was off and running.

Since that first successful week, we’ve been working to add new hospitals and local restaurants. We’ve discovered that each hospital has its own internal processes to navigate. But slowly, we’ve brought more on board, even some in other cities.

” If a regular American 16-year-old can find a way to help, I like our chances for the future.”

In January, if you would have asked me what I’d be doing this spring, I guarantee you, being quarantined in my house, juggling online school work, a charitable website, and the occasional media interview, would not have been my answer. Like people all over the world, life got different in a hurry. But I feel like I’m gaining a perspective. Hopefully, when this is all over, my generation will be better humans for it. If a regular American 16-year-old can find a way to help, I like our chances for the future.

My name is Grey Cohen. I am 16 years old and a sophomore at Druid Hills High School. I play lacrosse for my school team. I was born and live in Atlanta with my dad, mom, sister, and Olive the dog.

Visit The Meal Bridge website today: https://www.themealbridge.com/

Here’s the deal. The coronavirus has made life difficult for all of us in Atlanta and beyond. Without question, people in the restaurant and healthcare industries are some of the most affected. We created this site to help both. By enabling participating hospitals to post daily shifts open to meal donations and local restaurants providing take-out meals, we hope to simultaneously generate needed business for restaurants and feed our brave healthcare workers.

How it works.

STEP 1: Click on the hospital you would like to donate meals to.

STEP 2: Follow the instructions on the specific hospital page

STEP 3: Pick a restaurant from the provided list, call and order the meals.