March 12, 2020
Dear AJC Community,
As we face an unfolding public health crisis that has now been labeled by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, and the many implications for us all, permit me to share a few thoughts.
While we obviously cannot predict what tomorrow will bring, at AJC we are following closely the CDC and other guidelines, and we’re seeking to ensure that staff and lay safety is always priority #1.
That means totally erring on the side of caution when it comes to travel, meetings, etc. I have canceled several trips, and other colleagues are being required to do the same. This also goes for meetings involving large groups. In fact, we have restricted all in-person meetings to ten people or fewer for the time being.
Needless to say, no one now knows how long this global situation will last. But I know there will be an end, when life will return to normal, markets will stabilize, and our wide-ranging programs, overseas missions, leadership retreats, development functions, diplomatic Seders, intergroup gatherings, and so much more can resume full force.
I saw the widespread panic and financial free fall after 9/11. No one knew how or when it would stop and reverse itself. It did.
I saw it again in the calamitous economic crisis of 2008-9. That, too, eventually turned around, ushering in a stable and prosperous era.
In the meantime, as you will see in the coming days and weeks, we are seeking to ensure that we don’t miss a beat in our work, while we adapt to pursue our advocacy, stay closely connected with our AJC community, and make our voice heard where and when it counts. Please keep a lookout for our emails and notices.
As we speak, there are many brilliant minds across the world, including in the U.S. and Israel, seeking tools to diagnose, combat, and defeat the coronavirus. Their solutions may not come as quickly as we all might wish, but come they will. Of that, I have no doubt.
So, while we wait, let’s all be sure that we’re following the public health guidelines, avoiding needless risks, staying in close touch with one another (safely), and advancing our critical mission as effectively as we possibly can.
That mission remains unchanged and as timely today as ever — to help ensure the security of Jews here at home and around the world, to stand up for Israel in the community of nations, and to defend our precious democratic values and pluralistic societies.
Warmest personal regards,
AJC Chief Executive Officer
Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the CEO