The Jewish Center, a synagogue in Princeton, has successfully scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments for all of its senior members over 80 years of age who needed help making an appointment.
This was accomplished by the Chavurat Chesed (Hebrew for “compassionate community”), a group whose mission is to assist congregants in need.
Chavurat Chesed members, as well as several other volunteers, contacted every synagogue member over the age of 80 to find out if they needed a vaccine, help with scheduling, or assistance getting to their appointment, according to information provided by the synagogue.
The need for this outreach program became apparent after the synagogue office received phone calls from a couple of senior members inquiring about assistance in getting a vaccine appointment, according to the statement.
Naomi Richman Neumann, The Jewish Center’s vice president for membership and administration, along with President-Elect Alexandra Bar-Cohen and Martha Friedman, one of the heads of Chavurat Chesed, decided to find out if other seniors needed help with vaccine appointments.
Friedman took the lead in coordinating this task, and with Richman, was able to assemble 17 people make calls to seniors asking if they needed help with a vaccine appointment, according to the statement.
Once they had the names of congregants in need of appointments, they divided them among a small group of volunteers to try to find appointments nearby.
Lisa Rogol, one of the volunteers, is largely credited with successfully scheduling many of these appointments, according to the statement.
This effort was started on March 5 and by March 9, all the seniors who needed an appointment had been scheduled.
“I am so proud that so many people offered to help. Not one person said they were too busy to make phone calls,” Neumann said in the statement.
About 100 phone calls were made to the senior congregants. Most of the congregants had arranged for their vaccines individually, but eight members were helped by members of The Jewish Center, according to the statement.
The same group of volunteers is now helping get vaccine appointments for members ages 65-79 and those with underlying medical conditions.