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Please check this page for up-to-date emails and information being sent out to all staff at Pearlstone

How to stay up-to-date and informed:

  • Make sure you are on the TEXT ALERTS from PEARLSTONE – text jalert.prc to 292-929
  • Sign up for TEXT ALERTS from State of Maryland – text MDReady to 898-211

Important Information:

  • Watch this Animation on how social distancing really does help
  • Watch this video on proper hand washing
  • You MUST conduct a health assessment before coming to work everyday.
  • If you know of a senior citizen in Baltimore County who could benefit from a daily check-in phone call, please click this link
  • Here are two great links from the CDC on the updated recommendation to wear face coverings.
    • Wearing Face Coverings video
    • How to Make your Own Face Covering video
    • Why masks are effective
  • Here is information on appointment-only drive-thru COVID-19 testing
  • JCC information Video and Letter
  • Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery PDF
  • A Walk in the Woods – staff able to come use the trails – click HERE for details
  • Our state government authorities offer these critical resources—all of which point us to call 211 or visit pressone.211md.org
  • Latest info on testing, hospital surge capacity, Personal Protective Equipment, and contact tracing, and more information about all of the points above, can be found here
  • PHASE 1 FOR MARYLAND ANNOUNCED

Current Key information:

  • Pearlstone closed to all events thru May 15th – subject to change
  • No staff lunch until we re-open
  • Everyone who can work from home should work from home
  • If working from home – use the TEAMS app in Microsoft outlook

COVID All Staff emails

Staff Update May 31

We hope you are enjoying your weekend and those that celebrated Shavuot had a meaningful experience and good blintzes.

We have important news from the Governor and Baltimore County:
Over the past two weeks, we have been encouraged by the successful Stage One reopening all across the state and by the improvements in important data and metrics statewide. All of this progress allows us to now safely move forward with the completion of Stage One of our recovery plan.
Gov. Hogan announces reopening of outdoor dining, youth sports and day camps, outdoor pools, and resumption of other activities with restrictions on Friday, 5/29 as MD completes Stage One of COVID-19 pandemic recovery: Read more.
Gov. Hogan says health officials will continue to monitor data closely. If positive trends continue, MD may be able to move into Stage Two of COVID-19 recovery, which includes reopening non-essential businesses.
Gov. Hogan stresses that LOWER RISK DOES NOT MEAN NO RISK. Stay home and avoid crowds. If you leave your home, practice physical distancing, wear masks in indoor public areas, and avoid public transportation unless absolutely necessary.
MD has nearly 100 major COVID-19 testing sites statewide available including MVA facilities, local pharmacies, and at the Six Flags America amusement park. Visit [coronavirus.maryland.gov]coronavirus.maryland.gov for an interactive map of testing sites.
Read the full news release and find additional reopening guidelines: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/05/27/governor-hogan-announces-resumption-of-outdoor-dining-additional-activities-to-complete-stage-one-of-recovery/
“Baltimore County to Fully Enter Stage One Reopening, Takes Next Steps to Reopen, Align with State Protocols while Promoting Public Health Measures to Minimize Spread of COVID-19” Read more here

With this news, we can now move forward with reopening planning and procedures.

REDUCTION IN FORCE
While our county and state begin reopening, we are tragically still many months—and millions of dollars—away from the financial sustainability we need in order to avoid the significant reduction in force discussed at our recent all-staff meeting. Therefore, we are moving forward with these conversations so that everyone understands their employment status moving forward. As we enter this week of momentous conversations with all of you, our intention is to provide clarity, compassion, and support however we can.

CONNECTING WITH OUR TEAMMATES
Join us every Thursday for our Weekly Wellness Connection. This Thursday, June 4th we have a new time: 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM and our topic will be “Laughter Is Medicine”. Join Joan and others for a light hearted gathering featuring Jokes, Cartoons, and Funny Stories. Please send your favorite joke, cartoon, and/or story to Joan by Tuesday June 3rd at noon. And, come ready to share a funny!!! It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. Zoom link.

HOSPITALITY
Next week our fourth delivery of Mitzvah Meals goes out to healthcare heroes - 140 meals will have gone to Sinai Hospital and Levindale Senior Center and Hospital. Here is a love note from our healthcare hero meal recipients: "Thank you so much for the meals! The last time you donated, employees were raving about how delicious the meals were; they truly appreciated them".

Pearlstone Kitchen has expanded! Not only are we delivering delicious meals 5 nights a week, but we now offer Sushi on Thursday’s and Fridays. 5 delicious rolls are available for purchase. And we are excited to be offering Pearlstone’s Certified Strawberries through Pearlstone Kitchen! They are available for $10 quart. See our Current Menu.

Have you seen any guests on site? We are so pleased to be able to welcome guests back to Pearlstone. We have rented a cabin out to a very small group and have had a different group come stay in a few hotel-like sleeping rooms. We celebrate these tiny steps forward and have built many standard operating procedures to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect guests and staff.

Have you heard about our Open Air Celebrations? We are actively booking weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, mitzvahs and other celebrations for very small groups. We have beautiful pavilion options for parties and people can bring in their own caters or have Pearlstone cater the meals. Look for more information coming soon!

PROGRAMMING
This week our team created an amazing Shavuot Sojourn—an entire week dedicated to Jewish Agricultural and Earth-based Torah learning. Our 15 sessions have attracted several thousand views already! If you missed any part of it, check out our Shavuot Sojourn webpage to get access to all of the videos from the sessions by educators from all around the country, along with our very own Pearlstone educators! Click here to see everything our team has produced so far: 70 videos and counting! This coming week we will switch back to our regular online programs with new videos from Joey, Eve, and Joan - come join us.

CAMP
With the good news from the Governor and Baltimore County regarding camps, we are hard at work preparing a new summer program alternative to our normal camp programs which have been cancelled. We hope to finalize and begin marketing our new summer program soon.

STEWARDSHIP
Our facilities and maintenance team are repairing stone driveways by the Forest Pavilion. They are also pressure washing, painting, and staining campus fences and building exteriors. They continue to make repairs – identifying roof leaks, keeping kitchen equipment running, repairing aging water and IT lines – so Pearlstone facilities are in great shape.

Our farm team began harvesting beautiful strawberries this past week! They continue improving soils, planting cover crops, preparing irrigation systems for the dry season, and stewarding many young crops.

Landscaping is in high gear across the entire campus. At the same time, we are nurturing young crops of blueberries, grapes and apples through their early stages towards maturity.

TRAVEL
We would like to remind you that if you wish to come out to Pearlstone for a Walk in the Woods, contact Scott. If you wish to come out for work reasons, you need your supervisor’s approval AND a letter from Jennifer Folayan in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

With deep gratitude for this beautiful team of wonderful people,

THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update May 24

Good morning all,

We hope you are all healthy and safe this holiday weekend. This Baltimore Sun Editorial offers important perspective on what this weekend is all about, and what it means for us all this year in particular:
“…there is never a bad time for silent reflection. So please join us in taking a moment to do so sometime this weekend, paying respects to those who have sacrificed so much for our country. Speaking of sacrifice, lately there has been a lot of talk from some groups about how we have sacrificed too much of our freedom, and that government restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are infringing upon our rights as Americans; the very rights that those we honor this Memorial Day died to protect. But sacrifice really is the key word. And when we think about how so many Americans who wore the uniform paid the ultimate sacrifice so that others could be safe, it’s hard to fathom the same word being used to describe wearing a mask to the grocery store or not being able to go swimming this summer. If anything, those who have sacrificed the most during the last few months have been healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines. Like soldiers at wartime, some have had to leave their families and, yes, some have given their own lives to keep others healthy. Perhaps, during that silent reflection for our war heroes, we should take a moment or two to thank our healthcare heroes who have died too.”

HEALTH & SAFETY
Baltimore County has loosened some restrictions: maximum gathering size remains at 10, and masks must be worn by employees and customers over the age of 2 in businesses opened to the public. Beauty shops and barber shops can also open. To see much more detail on Baltimore County’s current regulations, please read this Baltimore County Interpretive Guidance.
From the Governor’s office:
COVID 19 Safety over Memorial Day Weekend: Remember our fallen this Memorial Day…Home of the free, because of the brave. Marylanders are reminded that they are safer-at-home this Memorial Day weekend!
COVID-19 testing opportunities for Marylanders have drastically expanded at Walmart locations. Learn more here
Rite Aid is using its Baseline COVID-19 Program for screening, scheduling, and return of results at two MD stores: 5804 Ritchie Highway, Anne Arundel Co. and 5624 Baltimore National Pike, Baltimore County.
CVS is offering coronavirus testing available to qualifying residents at 17 drive-thru sites in MD, with more expected to be announced in the coming weeks. For locations, visit: www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing
If you would like to come walk the trails or just enjoy the beauty of the Pearlstone campus, you must let Scott know at least one day beforehand. And we need you to honor our 20-foot social distancing rule to stay safely apart from everyone not in your group. Please read the Walk in the Woods guidelines and contact Scott Katz with questions.

REDUCTION IN FORCE
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the all-staff meeting Monday morning May 18th. Jennifer Folayan has sent out an email with documentation of what was discussed at that time, along with a clarifying FAQ document as well. We will meet with every staff member individually to communicate how this impacts you personally; Jennifer will reach out this week to schedule those meetings for the week of June 1st. This is a very stressful and difficult time for our entire team. Please know that we are all working very hard on this enormous challenge impacting all of us individually, collectively, and organizationally.

CONNECTING WITH OUR TEAMMATES AND PEARLSTONE
Join us every Thursday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for our Weekly Wellness Connection. This Thursday, May 28th we will be joined by a new Pearlstone board member, Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen, who has been at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for 16 years. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen will be facilitating a conversation on Empathy in the Times of COVID-19, “the fuel for connection,” in a world that often promotes disconnection. Please check out this beautifully animated video from Dr Brené Brown on the subject. Join us Thursday with this Zoom Link.

PEARLSTONE KITCHEN
Pearlstone Kitchen has surpassed 250 orders, with over 1100 servings! That plus the meals we provided in April for Baltimore City Schools means we have served over 3,000 meals during this pandemic crisis. We are also touched that 150 of those meals have been donated to local HealthCare Heroes through our partnership with LifeBridge Health, funded by generous donations from our community. We are also offering add-ons for the upcoming holiday, blintzes for Shavuot and salads for Memorial Day. See our Current Menu.

EMERGENCY FOOD RESPONSE
Thanks to support from our partners at the Associated and Promise Heights, we are now funded to begin providing prepared meals to youth and families experiencing food insecurity in the West Baltimore communities of Upton/Druid Heights. Our team has been hard at work planning and seeking funding for this project, which can now begin in June. With exponentially increased food insecurity reported across Baltimore and beyond, our goal is to increase Emergency Food Response funding and operations in the months ahead.

PROGRAMMING
Pearlstone Online this week introduced new content from Joe, Eve, Psachyah, and Joan - check out their videos and more of our wonderful offerings. And now, today marks the beginning of our Shavuot Sojourn—an entire week dedicated to Jewish Agricultural and Earth-based Torah learning. Join us for one or more sessions: check out our Shavuot Sojourn webpage to see the full line up featuring a diverse array of amazing educators from all around the country, along with our very own Pearlstone educators! Click here to see everything our team has produced so far: 60 videos and counting!

TIYUL ADVENTURE CAMP UPDATE
We will be communicating the statement below with our camp community tomorrow/Monday (please keep confidential!):
“With great sadness we have decided that we cannot run our Tiyul Adventure Camp program this summer. We arrived at this decision after intensive communication with local public health experts and other camps both locally and around the country. There are just too many risks, known and unknown, for us to move forward with our program. Our top priority has always and will always be the safety and wellbeing of our campers and staff, and we feel clear that this is the right decision for our Tiyul camp community. But don’t lose hope yet for the chance to come learn and play outside at Pearlstone this summer! We are hard at work developing a new outdoor Tiyul summer day-program on the Pearlstone Campus that will be 100% aligned with public health protocols while enabling small socially-distanced groups the opportunity to connect with our goats and chickens, play in our creek, learn to build a campfire, and more. We will only run this new program, Summer Tiyul at Pearlstone if the Baltimore County Department of Health approves our plans AND if we feel confident that we can move forward safely. We look forward to sharing more with you about this possibility in the weeks ahead.”

STEWARDSHIP
We are creating parking spaces by the Hess House and are pressure washing, painting, and staining campus fences. They also continue to make repairs – identifying roof leaks, keeping kitchen equipment running, repairing aging water and IT lines – so Pearlstone facilities in great shape. Our team is also in high gear to keep up with landscaping across the entire campus. At the same time, we are nurturing young crops of blueberries, grapes and apples through their early stages towards maturity. Our farm team has continued improving soils, planting cover crops, preparing irrigation systems for the dry season, and stewarding many young crops. They also began harvesting beautiful strawberries this week! Pearlstone’s certified organic strawberries are one of many farm-to-table ingredients on Pearlston Kitchen’s menu. The strawberries and other produce are available for home delivery through our partners at Chesapeake Farm to Table.

IN THE MEDIA
Along with partner organizations across the country, we are encouraging Jewish organizations nationwide to consider how we can/should respond to increased food insecurity with our community farms in mind. We’ve signed on to this open letter to the American Jewish community: May All Who are Hungry Come and Eat: Jewish Community Farming in the Face of Coronavirus.
This week, the Associated highlighted our collective resiliency and adaptation during this crisis through this article that was sent to the entire Jewish community: Pearlstone Reinvents Itself in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic

WORKING AT PEARLSTONE
We will continue working remotely until further notice. If you wish to come out for work reasons, you need your supervisor’s approval AND a letter from Jennifer Folayan in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

Wishing you all a week with plenty of sustenance—both physical and emotional.

With Gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update: May 15th

Good afternoon!

After two months of the stay-at-home order in Maryland, Governor Hogan has announced that at 5pm today we will move into Phase One of the reopening plan. See the picture above to see what’s included in Phase One.

While these changes will affect some counties across the state, each county and city is deciding if they need to continue more strict public health precautions due to the varying numbers of infections and public health concerns across Maryland—a very diverse state.

Baltimore County is continuing more extensive precautions, including:

· Residents Should Continue to Stay Home

· The prohibition against gatherings of 10 or more people has been extended

· Personal Services Remain Closed: this includes barbershops, nail salons, and hair salons, must remain closed.

· In-Person Religious Institutions Remain Closed

· Retail Stores Curbside Pickup allowed

· All Manufacturing businesses allowed to to Reopen

IMPORTANT ALL STAFF MEETING:
Please join us Monday morning, May 18th for an important All-Staff Meeting, 9:30 am – 11:00 am. We will learn from each other about our continued good work together, and also talk about what the future holds for Pearlstone and for all of us. Click this link to JOIN:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86915566569

CONNECTING WITH OUR TEAMMATES
Join us every Thursday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for our Weekly Wellness Connection. This Thursday, May 21st, Ayurveda Self-Care for Spring: Ayurveda is the 5000-year-old holistic health care system from India. With seasonal recommendations based on a person's individual constitution, Ayurveda is the ultimate in self-care rituals. Susan Weis Bohlen, a certified Ayurvedic consultant, will introduce us to some simple, soothing, calming, healing techniques we can do in spring time to detox and rid the body of accumulated toxins from winter, and get us ready for the hot weather to come. Through food choices, self body massage techniques, herbs and spices, we can establish a state of perfect health. Ayurveda is a sister science of yoga and meditation which will also be discussed. Susan is the author of the mega-best seller Ayurveda Beginner's Guide: https://bit.ly/35XfsVm , and the forthcoming Seasonal Self-Care Rituals from Ayurveda: https://bit.ly/2WOg1we . She lives in Reisterstown with her husband and three dogs. Join this link.

Come connect with Pearlstone and bring those in your home with you. Currently only for staff and their household, come out to our campus for a Walk in the Woods- click the link above to learn more. Please read the rules so we can be respectful of the grounds and the staff who are working on-site.

MOURNING TOGETHER: A VIRTUAL COMMUNITY GATHERING:
On May 19, 2020, 7:00 - 8:00 pm join JCS and the community for an online gathering to acknowledge and honor the memories of loved ones who recently died. We will come together to comfort one another, in ways that have not been possible during these unique times. Learn more here and register here.

FOOD SERVICE:
This past week, the Food Service department continued to serve our friends and neighbors in the community by delivering our Pearlstone Kitchen meals to homes in the area, both near and far. We also supplied our first batch of soup to seniors through a partnership with CHAI—a sister agency of the Associated. To cap off the week the team made its first delivery of Mitzvah Meals to front line workers at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center on Wednesday. We are looking forward to continuing these efforts, and beginning new ones, in order to provide much needed emergency food relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also working to provide sushi through Pearlstone Kitchen.

PROGRAMMING:
Pearlstone Online pivoted this week to bring a version of our beloved TEVA program online to the 6th grade students at Krieger Schechter Day School. While they did not get to be on our beautiful land, eating our food, having raucous singing sessions in the dining room or meeting "Chris the Carrot" they did get to learn some of the lessons we teach in TEVA about the environment and ecology, but focused on their space, not our space. We received this comment from the head of the middle school who was on the zoom session the first day:

"I thought it worked out great... the group I was with was engaged and participatory, and the activities were creative. The first hour all together was a bit tough for the kids to get used to (the Teva spirit, the singing, etc.), but I think that will come with more familiarity. I give your staff tons of credit for their positive attitudes over zoom!"

Click on the link on the right to see everything our amazing team of educators has produced so far: 55 videos and counting! Like us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our content.

STEWARDSHIP:
Our facilities and maintenance team of Glenn, Yoella, and Menashe are removing old tent platforms by the Hess House, repairing the Farm Pavilion and Lake Stage for micro-weddings, and repairing the deck and shed roof outside the Big Max. They are also working on opening the wells. Our farm team of Aimee Jo, Lindsay, and Adam are planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, cut flowers and more. While we will not be able to host our wonderful UPick harvest this spring, we are grateful to be able to offer the harvest to our beloved community in other ways. Strawberries will be featured on the Pearlstone Kitchen menu, and will be available for home delivery through our partners at Chesapeake Farm to Table.

Perri, Menashe, Joe, and David are in high gear to keep up with landscaping across the entire campus. At the same time, they are nurturing young crops of blueberries, grapes and apples through their early stages towards maturity. It’s a tightrope walk, and they are doing it with skillful grace.

Look how the bunkhouses are coming along! What a great addition they will be to camp, immersive retreats and other retreat groups.

TRAVEL TO PEARLSTONE:
If you wish to come out to Pearlstone for a Walk in the Woods, contact Scott. If you wish to come out for work reasons, you need your supervisor’s approval AND a letter from Jennifer Folayan in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

SPRING BEAUTY:
The colors this spring are so brilliant – blue skies and vibrant green leaves. Wildflowers and fruits are following close behind in our meadows and forests. Wherever you find yourself these days, we hope you find time to relax in the great outdoors.

Missing you all, and looking forward to seeing you Monday morning.

Shabbat Shalom—Have a Great Weekend!

With so much gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update: May 10th

Happy Mothers Day! Deep gratitude, appreciation, and love to all the moms out there. Where would we be without you?! As we continue on this strange and difficult path, today is an essential reminder of what’s most important in life. So, with Moms in our minds and hearts, here is our update for this week:

HEALTH & WELLBEING:
Our state government authorities offer these critical resources—all of which point us to call 211 or visit pressone.211md.org:
“The pandemic may be especially stressful for workers who find themselves on the front lines in difficult situations. If you need help, please reach out!”
“COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Social distancing and isolation can worsen feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, stress and depression—especially for those who have lost their jobs, are in a difficult relationship, face financial burdens, and/or live alone. Check in with those you love regularly and reach out for help if you need it! If you or a loved one experiences depression, or thoughts of suicide, reach out!”
“Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic may be particularly frightening for children. Talk to kids about the virus calmly and confidently. Answer questions, inform them, and limit their exposure to the media.”
Again, call 211 or visit pressone.211md.org for help

Our campus can be a wellbeing sanctuary for you and your household members to decompress and relax. Please feel free to come out for a Walk in the Woods. Click link above to read our rules and sign up.

FINANCE AND COMPENSATION:
As we all know, this global pandemic has caused enormous damage to our institutional finances at Pearlstone. Our Payroll Protection Program loan has provided critical, temporary relief. With over 20 million Americans losing their jobs in April, close to half of that group (8.6 million unemployed people) are part of our hospitality industry. Please attend our upcoming All-Staff meeting; we will not have any specific information yet about our financial future, but we will share a broader update about our general direction as an organization. We have had some scheduling challenges with that meeting; we will finalize that date/time tomorrow, Monday May 11th.

REOPENING:
From our Governor, Larry Hogan—[Bit.ly/MDGovNews5620]click here to learn more
“While online and distance learning will continue, MD schools close for the rest of the academic year and release long-term recovery plan.”
“Permitted outdoor activities are expanded with proper health and distancing measures, including boating, fishing, golfing, camping, and more [hiking/already is already allowed]. State parks and beaches reopen for safe recreation.”
“I realize that these are only small steps, and that they may be of little comfort to those who are out of work and struggling. But it is thanks to all of you and your incredible sacrifices that we are making great progress.” —Gov. Hogan
“Latest info on testing, hospital surge capacity, Personal Protective Equipment, and contact tracing,” and more information about all of the points above, can be found above.

At Pearlstone, the health and safety of our staff and guests remain our top priority. Second on the priority list is organizational survival. We are now developing plans for increased safe activity on our campus—including ramped up Pearlstone Kitchen production, outdoor micro-weddings, family summer getaways, more walks in the woods, and other activities that allow us to meet our mission and bring much-needed revenue to the organization while continuing to prioritize health and safety. The next renewed on-site activity will probably be outdoor micro-weddings; we do not have any events confirmed yet but we anticipate bookings soon. As always, for all campus activities we will abide by all guidelines set forth by public health authorities. We are working closely with the Associated’s Reopening Task Force, and we are launching our own Pearlstone Reopening Task Force with our board as well. New health and safety protocols will continue emerging for all staff and guests on an ongoing basis. We will share more information about these plans as they develop further in the coming weeks.

CONNECT WITH OUR TEAMMATES:
Join us this Thursday, May 14th, 1– 2pm for our Weekly Wellness Connection: Tips for Ergonomic Wellness with Marc Plisko, CIH. Marc will facilitate a discussion on how to reduce body stress from sitting at the computer for extended periods of time. Topics will include circulatory health, workstation ergonomics, and five-minute micro-vacations.

PEARLSTONE KITCHEN:
Pearlstone Kitchen delivers fresh and healthy dinners Monday-Friday, lunches for local organizations, and specials like today’s Mother’s Day Brunch! We are now producing and delivering up to 100 meals each day. The feedback from our customers has been tremendous:
“Last night's dinner was excellent. The portions were large, the food was delicious and the presentation/packaging professional. Please congratulate your team and thank them for us.”
“Tonight’s dinner was fantastic!!!!! My middle one could not get enough, his favorite meal ever!!!”
“We genuinely enjoyed our Shabbat dinner from the Pearlstone kitchen. Everything was presented beautifully, the meal was fresh, bountiful, and delicious. We felt like we were enjoying fine, kosher dining right in our home.”
“Lots of food, so I haven’t had a chance to sample everything yet, but the Peruvian chicken was so tender and amazing, and I shall probably dream about the roasted potatoes, carrots and beets tonight!”
Here’s a Facebook post shared by our greatest ambassador: “During this Coronacation, we’ve used GrubHub three times from really good restaurants. The bill has always been way over $100 and the food has been barely passable. Then Pearlstone started delivering meals, and it changed everything…For waaaay less than the cost of eating out, you get an amazing meal that you can also feel good about. Organic, sustainable, and oh-so-delicious. Even if you don’t keep Kosher, it’s an incredible deal and an incredible meal.”

MITZVAH MEALS FOR HEALTHCARE HEROES—#FEEDTHEFRONTLINE:
Our partnership with LifeBridge Health enables us to deliver Donated Meals to Healthcare Heroes at two local hospitals. We already have over 100 donated meals, and a generous donor just contributed $1000 that will provide a matching opportunity so that the next 50 meals donated will actually result in 100 meals total for our local healthcare heroes. Read more at https://www.pearlstonecenter.org/pearlstone-kitchen/donate/ and help us spread the word!

HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED:
Soap for Students is a new Pearlstone initiative in partnership with Student Support Network to support Baltimore County students living in poverty. During the current crisis, the Student Support Network has distributed thousands of meals and grocery gift cards to support students dependent on school meals. Thanks to our Board Chair, Aaron Max, we are now connected with this important organization and, through generous donations from our community, we will donate our goats milk soap to the food distribution-site at Owings Mills High School. For more information on the emergency donation program, go to this page https://www.pearlstonecenter.org/donate/community/.

Plans are in development for our food service team to provide significant Emergency Food Response in partnership with a number of local organizations. Once funding is secured, we plan to produce and deliver over 1,000 quarts of soup each week to community members facing food insecurity. More details coming soon.

PROGRAMMING:
Pearlstone Online highlights this week include cooking videos with our own Deputy Director Eve Wachhaus. And check out our own Joan Plisko featured in The Upside, a new community-wide video series created by JMore and the Associated—Joan provided gardening tips as part of our new Grow Your Own initiative. Click link on the right to stay up to date with all our content.

STEWARDSHIP:
The stewardship team continues working on site providing produce for the Pearlstone Kitchen and preparing the grounds for outdoor micro-weddings. Strawberries coming soon! And the construction on the first bunkhouses is moving towards completion—excited to share pictures next week.

TRAVEL REMINDER:
The Governor’s Shelter in Place order is still in effect, and masks are required in several indoor spaces. If you wish to come out to Pearlstone for a Walk in the Woods, contact Scott. If you wish to come out for work reasons, you need your supervisor’s approval AND a letter from Jennifer Folayan in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

SOME GOOD NEWS:
These are very trying times for all of us. Don’t forget to smile and laugh! To help you with that, we highly suggest you check out this new startup series, Some Good News, highlighting all the good happening out there every day.

Wishing you all a Happy Mothers Day! And a week of good health, peace of mind, and spring beauty.

With so much gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update: May 3rd

Good morning all!

Spring is here! As this extended chapter of isolation and remote communication continues into our 8th week, we hope the blossoms and birds and sunshine bring you all joy amidst the intense challenges we all face. Our good health and peace of mind are what’s most important! To help us all achieve those priorities, we hope you find time to come out to our campus for a Walk in the Woods- click above to learn more and sign up.

FROM OUR PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES:
Here is a helpful summary of recommendations from the CDC: What You Should Know about COVID-19.
Governor Hogan designated yesterday, Saturday May 2nd, as Healthcare Heroes Day in Maryland. He also called for MD Flags to be lowered to half-staff thru today, Sunday May 3rd, to honor COVID-19 victims, fallen heroes, and frontline workers. “Please join me in keeping our heroes and our fallen in your hearts, and let us continue to pray for each other, for our state, and for our nation as we face this crisis together.”—Governor Larry Hogan

CONNECTING WITH OUR TEAMMATES:
Join us every Thursday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for our Weekly Wellness Connection. This Thursday, May 7th, join Mary Kate Fries Hershfeld, licensed physical therapist, for live demonstrations and discussion on how to keep your back healthy while tethered to your home desk and endless Zoom calls. Mary Kate is part owner of Oella Physical Therapy and will bring her years of experience and light-hearted nature to our team. In addition to PT, and Feldenkrais Method, Mary Kate specializes in spine care, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, PNF, and general orthopedics. Join us!

PEARLSTONE KITCHEN:
Pearlstone Kitchen grew significantly in our second week and now features lots of adds-ons such as soups, salads, and our one and only Aji Verdi Sauce! This week we are expanding to 100 meals each night, featuring an amazing menu including Chicken Breast Shawarma with Lebanese Flatbread, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Hummus From Scratch, Cuban Black Bean Soup, Almond Baklava and Lemon and Ginger Cheesecake. We are selling out regularly! Huge kudos and thanks to the entire team for launching this enterprise with such great success.

MITZVAH MEALS FOR HEALTHCARE HEROES—#FEEDTHEFRONTLINE:
This week we also launched a partnership with LifeBridge Health to say THANK YOU to our Healthcare Heroes! Donors contribute $20 to send a delicious Pearlstone Kitchen meal to the amazing staff at Sinai Hospital and Levindale Geriatric Center & Hospital who are working so tirelessly during this time to save lives. We hope to say thank you by feeding many healthcare heroes in the days and weeks ahead. Please help us spread the word by sharing our webpage and encouraging your network to support Pearlstone and our frontline heroes at the same time.

EMERGENCY FOOD RESPONSE:
We are communicating with a number of partner organizations who are on the front lines working with people in need during this crisis. It is likely that in the weeks ahead we will ramp up our soup production in order to provide these partners and communities with food on a weekly basis. More information coming soon as these partnerships—and necessary funding—fall into place.

PEARLSTONE’S GOAT TALENT!
Are you zoomed out? Feeling cooped up? Need some time to kid around? Brighten up your day with a virtual visit to the Goats & Chickens in Pearlstone’s pasture! Free Range and available for meetings, programs, families and friends on Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and more. Take a Pasture Tour and say hello to all our critters—they miss you! Pearlstone's Goat Talent is our new micro-enterprise where groups can sign up to have our goat join their video meeting or for some goat education. Check it out!

PROGRAMMING:
Pearlstone Online highlights this week include a new in-depth option for Grow Your Own with Joan and Tome, including a private Facebook group and an exclusive mailing list. Click in the box on the right to see everything the team has produced so far: 45 videos and counting! Like us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our content.

STEWARDSHIP:
The stewardship team continues working hard to keep the facilities in great shape and make any improvements they can. The farm is moving into full spring bloom and the strawberries are on their way!

REOPENING: MICRO-WEDDINGS:
Last week we sent out the Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery document (attached here again): there is A LOT of good information here illuminating the steps, challenges, and precautions ahead. We do not yet know the timing of these steps, but we are beginning to look closely at how our on-site operations can restart in the future. The first concrete example is that there are a number of very small weddings that may happen on site in the weeks and months ahead. Local and state leaders have worked closely together to provide excruciating detail on how to create such celebrations while implementing significant health precautions, including the requirement for outdoor gathering space—hence the interest in Pearlstone. Jakir is now in direct contact with the Maryland Department of Health and the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel to ensure that everything we are doing is aligned with these authorities’ expectations and our focus on health and safety first.

TRAVEL:
The Governor’s Shelter in Place order is still in effect, and masks are required in a number of indoor spaces. If you wish to come out to Pearlstone for a Walk in the Woods, contact Scott. If you wish to come out for work reasons, you need your supervisor’s approval AND a letter from Jennifer Folayan in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

We miss you! We will get through this. Wishing you all a week of good health, peace of mind, and spring blossoms.

With so much gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update: April 26

Good morning all,

We miss you! And we wish you all good health and peace of mind during this crisis. While we see the pain and struggles happening all around us, we also see perseverance and hope—including right here on our own team at Pearlstone. Together we are all making a difference. Here is our weekly report as we these continue navigating such challenging times.

Health Comes First: Symptoms, Testing, and Masks
From the Governor’s office:
If you think you may have COVID-19, monitor your symptoms, call ahead before visiting your doctor, and avoid close contact with others.
MD Department of Health offers appointment-only drive-thru COVID-19 testing thru the VEIP (Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program) to residents with symptoms and at high risk for complications. Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Maryland above.
While the data included needs further research over time, this additional link above gives you an idea about the critical importance of wearing masks. Please do so whenever you are around other people!

JCC Furloughs:
Our hearts go out to the entire JCC community as they have been forced—due to financial crisis—to implement painful furloughs for many of their staff. This is a sad time for all of us and for our community. You can see a video message above from JCC President Barak Hermann, and/or read the letter from JCC leadership.

Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery:
On Friday afternoon, Governor Hogan released a “Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery”. Please see the thorough MD Strong pdf above for more information; this will help us in our planning for the time when we can slowly reopen. The Governor’s office also released these statements over the weekend which are important as well:
Marylanders will continue teleworking, wearing masks/face coverings and practicing physical distancing until the State of Emergency is lifted.
Once rates of hospitalizations and patients admitted to the ICU starts to see a downward trajectory or a consistent plateauing, Maryland will be in a position to consider lifting the stay at home order.

Staff Community Connections:
- What a blessing to see 40 teammates on our All-Staff Call this past Wednesday. Learn more about how our team is faring during this crisis through these wordclouds around Food, Entertainment, and Hashtags during this time. If you missed it, we have a recording! Email Jennifer Folayan, HR Team & Culture Associate, to get the link.
- Join us Thursday, April 30th at 1PM for Home Gardening with Joan, Perri, Eve, and Cheli! ZOOM link available from Jennifer. Let’s grow together! Connect with Pearlstone teammates and peer gardeners on how their home gardens are going. Grow Your Own vegetables, herbs, fruits, And more! Come with questions, anecdotes, and whatever else you’d like to share. Check out Grow Your Own and sign up for ongoing support from Tome, our Farmer Educator @ pearlstonecenter.org/growyourown
- Many thanks to Jennifer for The Weekly Beet - a Weekly Team & Culture Report just for Pearlstone staff. We hope these tips and updates are helpful; please give us feedback on how that resource can best meet your needs.

Pearlstone Kitchen Delivery Service:
Our first full week of Pearlstone Kitchen was a great success! There is lots of enthusiasm out there for this offering, and over 50 very happy customers! In addition, several customers purchased Pearlstone Kitchen meals as gifts for middle school teachers, clergy, family, and two donors sent 18 meals to medical first-responders at a local hospital. Building on this idea, we have formed a partnership with Lifebridge Health and will be promoting Pearlstone Kitchen meals as a great way to say thank you and support our medical heroes at Sinai Hospital and Levindale Geriatric Center & Hospital.
Some love notes from our happy customers:
“We are enjoying our Pearlstone Farm catered dinner immensely right now and are looking forward to what’s coming Tuesday-Thursday. Brilliant way to pivot resources and create a revenue stream during the current circumstances. Food is delicious and is allowing for great conversation with the kids on where it came from.”
“It will be a nice change, thank you for cooking and delivering, and in a safe manner.”
“Thank you for helping us celebrate our anniversary!”
“WE LOVE PEARLSTONE!!!!”

Programming:
Pearlstone Online highlights this week include special Earth Day programming, Grow Your Own with Joan, Wilderness Adventures with Joey, Cool Projects to do at home, plus a special Earth Day message to our community, and more. Click the link on the right side to see everything the team has produced so far: 40 videos and counting! Like us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our content.

Stewardship:
The stewardship team continues working hard to keep the facilities in great shape and make any improvements they can. Joe has upgraded the maps and markings for the perimeter trail and E’ruv trail so that there are two gorgeous trail loops at Pearlstone. The land and farm continue to root trees and vegetables into the Earth. Attached is a sign of recognition that Joan received for Pearlstone from the National Wildlife Foundation. It’s a beautiful addition to the main pedestrian trail, and we can all agree that Pearlstone truly is Sacred Ground.

Pearlstone On-Line Gift Shop:
The Pearlstone Gift Shop is going virtual! We are setting up a way to purchase all the favorites including Goat’s Milk Soap and Handmade Ceramic Mugs online with optional local delivery. Another way for us to stay connected to our guests during this time of separation.

Traveling to Pearlstone: Reminder
The Governor’s Shelter in Place order is still in effect, and masks are now required as well. In addition, not only do you need your supervisor’s approval in order to come out to Pearlstone, you now also need a letter in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

These are trying times, and the challenges we face as individuals, families, and communities are profound. Let’s all cling to our hope, passion, and love in the days and weeks ahead. Check out this short video for a dose of inspiration—something we all need!

Sending you all love and blessings. May the week ahead bring healing and progress, one day at a time, towards a return to normalcy for all of us.

In gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Update: April 17th

Good morning all!

It has now been five weeks since we made the transition away from working on site, and this crisis continues to impact all of us in many different ways—including members of our team who have tragically lost friends or family to the virus. Our hearts go out to you, and to everyone in mourning and crisis during this time, all over the world.

As a team, we at Pearlstone are showing ourselves to be resilient, adaptive, and strong. We will get through this! Read on for good news from all corners of our amazing team.

Finance & Compensation:
Big news - We have heard back from our bank and now have a signed promissory note for our Payroll Protection Program loan: this means we now have assurances that significant financial relief is coming to Pearlstone. We expect to receive additional information soon, and in the relatively near future we should receive close to $580,000 that will enable us to continue compensating our team. In light of the terrible unemployment news from around the country, and the tremendous financial hit that we have taken at Pearlstone, we are very proud and grateful to have been able to continuing paying everyone these past five weeks as if we were continuing normal operations. With this loan arriving soon, we expect to be able to keep our team intact through at least June 30th.

Launching Pearlstone Kitchen Delivery Service:
Thanks to an amazing team effort, starting Monday, April 20th we will be launching a brand new food delivery service called Pearlstone Kitchen! Chef Rebecca is leading our culinary team in preparing dinners Monday-Friday, including Pearlstone favorites such as Peruvian Chicken, Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes, Sesame Noodles, and more. Our very own certified organic farm produce will be featured as much as possible. Lee will serve as the sales coordinator for this new enterprise, while Sonja and Rachel Feldman have built the website and online order system, with Rachel Moses implementing an aggressive marketing campaign. Rachael Walkins is leading members of the Retreat Services team in our contactless delivery, ensuring the health and safety of our drivers, and Eve is providing overall operational leadership and systems. This has been a giant, innovative effort—and a great reflection of the innovative spirit, talent, and teamwork we have here at Pearlstone. Thank you to everyone for making it happen! Please click on the link on the right to learn more and help us spread the word! Please like and share posts about Pearlstone Kitchen on Instagram and Facebook.

Celebrate Earth Day:
Please join us next week for a special Earth Day Zoom Celebration, Wednesday, April 22nd at 1:00 pm. This is the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day, and part of our celebration will feature art and poetry. Please take some time to create your unique Earth art and send them to jplisko@pearlstonecenter.org by Tuesday April 21st @ 5 PM. We will put together a collage of all the pieces we receive and share them with everyone during our Lunch n Learn. Just before our Zoom call at 1pm, our partners at Hazon are creating a worldwide celebration at noon. Learn more about and RSVP for this inspiring event, known as #SoundtheCall, here. Amidst all the uncertainty and challenges swirling around us, let’s take this time together to celebrate and be thankful for the beautiful, enduring planet that sustains us.

Stewardship:
To cut down on expenses during this financial crisis, our land stewards have taken on the extra work of mowing and trimming three acres surrounding the retreat center. We are strategically letting the grass get longer in some spots to reduce maintenance during this period, while keeping everything poised to snap back into action as soon as normal operations return. A huge thanks to Perri, Joe and Marcus for their extra work and adaptability. Thanks to Yoella and Menashe for leading the way on many small interior and exterior painting projects. All four lodges and the retreat center have received extensive touchup painting. Ghenna even got into the mix a few weeks ago before conditions grew more restrictive. Flowers on the strawberries, young blueberries, and the young apple orchard raise our hopes for a fruitful season to come. Smaller clusters of cherries, mulberries, and seaberries are beginning to flower in the meditation food forest – offering a taste of the abundance around us.

Programming:
Pearlstone Online is going strong! This week’s highlights include special Passover programming and lectures online, gardening with Joan, wilderness skills with Joey, Cool Projects to do at home, and more. Click on the link on the right to see it all. Coming the week of April 20th, cooking videos from the kitchen and special Earth Day programming throughout the whole week! Like us on Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our content.

Social Distancing:
The Governor’s Shelter in Place order is still in effect, and masks are now required as well. In addition, not only do you need your supervisor’s approval in order to come out to Pearlstone, you now also need a letter in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road. Please contact your supervisor and Jennifer Folayan, jfolayan@pearlstonecenter.org, in order to request such a letter. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe. Please continue to work from home if possible.

We are living through unprecedented challenges to our health, our communities, our infrastructure, our politics, and our economies. The last month, and the months to come, will likely be unforgettable for the rest of our lives. May we rise to the occasion, however each of us is able—to help flatten the curve, to help those in need, and to support each other as we make our way towards the light at the end of the tunnel. We will get there!

In gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director
Psachyah Lichtenstein, Education Director

Staff Health Update & beautiful feedback from guests: April 13

Good morning all!

Our update is sent this Monday morning after a long Passover-Easter holiday weekend. We hope everyone is healthy and safe at home having enjoyed family celebrations and/or quality time these past few days. Our hearts go out to all the families impacted by this pandemic, and all the health care heroes and others bringing love and light to this difficult time. It has now been about one month since we last had our full team together on site at Pearlstone. We miss that so much, and are amazed at the evolution of our team and work during this transformative crisis. We are finding our way through this!

Staff Health Update:
A Pearlstone employee has a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19. As of Friday, this employee had not been tested, and they and their family member were showing no symptoms and feeling fine. Our prayers are with them! This employee will be in self-quarantine until April 22.

We have communicated about this matter with all staff who we believe were on site between March 24th – April 7th. Our team’s strict adherence to physical distancing—6 feet at least—has been critical during this time. In consultation with public health advisors, it is our understanding that no one else on staff needs to self-quarantine at this time. Please feel free to contact your health care provider for more specific guidance related to your personal circumstances. Our HR Team & Culture Associate, Jennifer Folayan is available—along with all of us—if you have any questions or need support.

Wellness Lunch Gathering: Featuring Chefs Rebecca, Edwin, and Chris!
TOMORROW, Tuesday April 14th at 1:00 pm—After we check in, Chef Rebecca will share some exciting news from the Pearlstone Kitchen. Then Sous Chef Edwin and our newest cook, Chris, will share cooking tips for Staying Well at home.

Land:
Spring is reaching its fullness. Vegetables and trees have begun being planted in the fields and all of our plantings are receiving nourishing foliar sprays – like vitamins for healthy growth. Many, many thanks to the entire Stewardship team for their commitment to caring for this place. Thanks to Joe, Menashe, and Chris for campus caretaking during the storms and changing conditions this week.

Facilities:
The Farm Village is taking shape! Our first three bunkhouses are well on their way towards transformation, at least as far as carpentry is concerned—lots of infrastructure yet to come. The Retreat Addition project is moving along, with funding, headed for construction this fall. Additional projects include stream restoration, rain gardens, and expanding our retreat center kitchen storage capacity—long overdue! All of these projects require intensive engineering, permitting, and time.

Programming:
Pearlstone Online is off and running—check it out! New this week: Passover lectures online from our scholars (a first), along with hands-on learning in the garden with Joan, wilderness skills with Joey, singing with Sarah and David, and more. Click the box on the right to see it all. Coming the week of April 20th, cooking videos from the kitchen!

Food Service/Retreat Services:
The Food Service and Event Coordination teams are working on developing a delivery meal service! More information will be available as we finalize our plans. Chef Rebecca and her team are also testing home recipes to one day include in the Pearlstone cookbook!

Finance & Compensation:
We have applied for a loan/grant through the Payroll Protection Program as part of the CARES Act passed by Congress and we are awaiting approval. We are continuing to pay everyone as if we were continuing normal operations.

Social Distancing:
Please continue to work from home if possible, and do not come to Pearlstone if you are feeling sick at all. With the Shelter in Place from the Governor, you don’t only need your supervisor’s approval to come onto the Pearlstone Campus but you also need a letter in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road which your supervisor can provide if you are approved to be on campus. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or aren’t feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe.

Our Guests:
The Farm Based Education Network (FBEN) reached out this past week to see how we are doing after they held a beautiful national gathering here in November. As part of their outreach they shared some of their participants’ feedback on their Pearlstone experience, a great reminder of how important our work is and will continue to be, now more than ever:

Highlights of FBEN participant experience at Pearlstone:
- Pearlstone facility was great - the food was INCREDIBLE. The amount of support and consistent presence of people who could help with check-in, field questions provide resources, and receive feedback in the main lodge was wonderful.
- The location at Pearlstone was delightful and worked well for the many workshop offerings. The food was FANTASTIC!
- Walking around the grounds of Pearlstone and feeling at home and peaceful.
- The conference venue and its Judaic influence was a perfect fit.
- Spiritual Agriculture- hearing the similarities and differences between the 4 religions on farming and environmentalism
- The Pearlstone days were amazing-so full of the presence of the hopeful, living work we are all engaged in.

Let’s keep connecting with and supporting each other. Sending you all love!

In gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director

Staff Update: April 3

Good afternoon everyone!

We hope you and your loved ones are in good health, staying home and taking care of yourselves during this difficult time. We miss you! And we are here to help and support you however we can. Please reach out to your supervisors, to me, and/or to our new HR Team & Culture Associate, Jennifer Folayan, if you need assistance or support in any way. If you know of a senior citizen in Baltimore County who could benefit from a daily check-in phone call, please click the link in the top section of the page to utilize this helpful resource from Baltimore County.

As we are all work to continue navigating our way through this crisis, we deeply appreciate everyone showing such strong support for each other and for Pearlstone during this time. Here is our weekly update regarding what is happening throughout our team, thanks to all of you!

Staying Connected:
We hope you have enjoyed our Wellness Lunch n Learn Zoom calls. Join us on Tuesday, April 7th at 1:00 pm for a check in and then insights from Clara Feigelson and Joe Murray on Central Maryland's Shifting Climate. They attended a conference on the subject in January 2020 and are excited to share their knowledge. Please join us thru ZOOM and enter the meeting id 189 850 054. Look out for more information from Jennifer on additional opportunities to connect with each other next week.

Stewardship:
Our Land & Maintenance teams continue to work on site while following all necessary health and safety protocols. Progress is happening on the bunkhouses as well as other work around the site. We have also been harvesting our crops and sold $1,000 worth of produce to Chesapeake Farm to Table, a collaborative created to support small farms.

Food Service/Retreat Services:
Ever wonder if Pearlstone could have a cook book? Chef Rebecca and her team are using their time at home to test recipes for home use! The recipes we use in the Pearlstone Kitchen are designed to feed large groups. Quantities, proportions, equipment and even ingredients need to be reviewed when creating recipes anyone can make at home. Although, we know many of us would want Ají Verde sauce for 100, but...
Also, our deepest thanks to two members of the Retreat Services and Housekeeping teams: Dave and Alex continue to wipe down bathrooms, surfaces, door handles and light switches each day, keeping up with all recommended CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitation of the Retreat Center. Follow their lead and make sure that you are sanitizing your home each day, too!

Programming:
The program department has been hard at work pivoting to our new online platform of offerings. So far we have offered over 10 online learning videos, two downloadable activities, and two blogs—reaching over 3,500 people! Check out Pearlstone Online (link on the side) to see all our offerings—from wilderness skills to gardening, singing and crafts, Torah study, and more. Coming soon: cooking videos from the kitchen!

Finance & Compensation:
We are applying for a loan/grant through the Payroll Protection Program (info attached) as part of the CARES Act passed by Congress. This loan/grant will be critical to our financial sustainability over the next few months. Huge thanks to our new Director of Finance, Claudia Fath, for working incredibly hard on all our behalf over the past few weeks in order to manage our finances through this crisis. We are continuing to pay everyone as if we were continuing normal operations.

Social Distancing:
Please continue to work from home if possible, and do not come to Pearlstone if you are feeling sick at all. With the Shelter in Place from the Governor, you don’t only need your supervisor’s approval to come onto the Pearlstone Campus but you also need a letter in case you get stopped by the police for being on the road.
If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or aren’t feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe.

Be Well:
Let’s take this time to care for ourselves and our loved ones, focusing on our health and wellbeing, taking one day at a time. These are trying times, weighing on all of us—and it is important to ask for help if you need it! Please see information on our FREE Employee Assistance Program in the resource section of this page—available to all of us.

Sending you all lots of love!

In gratitude,
THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Family Medical Leave (FMLA): April 1st Update

Dear Pearlstone Staff,

In continuing to provide information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Family Medical Leave (FMLA) has been expanded to include job protection and partial paid leave for employees who are unable to work at the office and/or remotely because schools or daycares are closed due to the public health emergency. The expanded FMLA becomes effective April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

Specifically, the expansion states:
- Employers must provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for their child(ren) under the age of 18.
- Eligible employees are those who have been employed for at least 30 days as of April 1st.
- The expanded FMLA applies to eligible employees who are unable to work at the office and/or remotely because schools or daycares are closed due to the public health emergency.
- Pay requirements under the expanded FMLA are as follows:
* First ten days are unpaid; however, employees may use the two weeks emergency paid sick leave
(capped at $200/day) and/or other available leave time (vacation or sick) during this ten-day period.
* The remaining 10 weeks, employees will receive 2/3 of their regular rate of pay, capped at $200/day.

HOW TO REQUEST EXPANDED FMLA:
- Employees must reach out to their HR representative to request Expanded FMLA. Documentation regarding closed school/daycare provider will not be needed (at this time), but employees will be required to complete an FMLA form.
- Employees status will be changed to non-exempt (if applicable) and time will be entered in Dayforce via Timesheet and coded as C-19 Expanded FMLA 2/3.
- Employees can request that the expanded FMLA be used intermittently in full day increments. Please discuss this with your HR representative.
- Employee may use other leave (vacation/sick leave if available) to make your pay whole.
- PLEASE NOTE: WHILE OUT ON EXPANDED FMLA, EMPLOYEES AND SUPERVISORS MUST ENTER/APPROVE TIME DAILY AS THE PROPER PAYMENT OF THE TIME REQUIRES MANUAL IMPUT BY OUR PAYROLL EXPERTS.

For full details on the Act, see attached Department of Labor notification.

Be well,
Jennifer Folayan

Staff Update: March 27

Good afternoon everyone!

We hope you are all in good health and have the support you need from friends, family, and community. We are here for you too! As we make our way through this extended chapter of separation, the most important thing we can all do is stay home and take care of ourselves and those closest to us. Watch the 2 videos at the top of the page on how social distancing really does help and on proper hand washing so that we all stay healthy.

Pearlstone continues to navigate this crisis, and we appreciate everyone showing such strong support for each other and for this organization during this difficult time. Here are some important updates for you regarding what is happening throughout our team, thanks to all of you!

Staying Connected
To support and connect with each other throughout this time, Joan is leading weekly Wellness Lunch n Learn Zoom calls every Wednesday at 1:00 pm. Please join us! All are welcome, and thank you Joan! Look out for more info on additional opportunities to connect with each other next week.

Stewardship
Our Land & Maintenance teams continue to work on site while following all necessary health and safety protocols. Our maintenance team has reset systems to account for no guests, saving energy and money. Our farm team is uncovering the strawberries, selling the remaining produce from cold storage, and starting seeds in the greenhouse and fields. Our land stewardship team has been pruning the orchard, installing signs on the perimeter trail, and repairing a tractor. Thank you all for continually caring for the land and buildings while everyone else stays home!

And special thanks to members of the Retreat services and housekeeping teams who continue maintaining and cleaning common areas of the main building, and to HR & front office staff who have had to come in briefly for a few critical items on site as well. Most special thanks and farewell to our beloved Missy Richardson. Our virtual sendoff yesterday was beautiful, and we all wish you the best and can’t wait for you to come back and visit!

Food Service
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, our Culinary and Retreat Services teams produced and packed 2000 bagged breakfasts and lunches for Baltimore City youth who would otherwise not have had meals on those days (due to closings related to the pandemic). This was a partnership with the Mayor's Office of Family and Children's Success. Our teams were very happy that we were able to help the kids and stay busy a few more days doing what they love. Thank you all for doing this great deed and helping respond to this crisis.

Programming
The program team has launched a variety of awesome online offerings! Check it out at www.pearlstonecenter.org/online—so much great stuff here for hands-on projects, skills, and learning with our amazing educators. Thank you program team! We’re open to your ideas as well! Please send Sonja (ssugerman@pearlstonecenter.org) your suggestions for online learning opportunities you would like to see us offer in the weeks ahead.

Cancellations & Sales
Many groups have cancelled, impacting all of April, and much of May and June as well. Most are looking to reschedule. Thanks to the great talent and loving warmth exuded by our leader in these conversations, Eve Wachhaus, all of these conversations have built stronger relationships, and in some cases we have benefited from donations as well. Thank you Eve! Heather continues to field calls from groups that are looking to book in the future and she is developing a very creative method for leading “virtual” site tours with a combination of photos and videos. And Scott is receiving inquiries for campus rentals and pool membership as well. It is a great relief and inspiration to receive these ongoing inquiries—the world is not ending and our community still loves Pearlstone and will come back as soon as they can! Thank you to the sales team for maintaining some momentum for the months ahead.

Finance & Compensation
An economic relief package is emerging from Congress that will provide potential loan opportunities for Pearlstone—and millions of other organizations and businesses across the country. This loan will be critical to our financial sustainability. Special thanks to Dana Stein and our new Director of Finance, Claudia Fath, for their hard work on all our behalf. As we work hard to understand what this means for Pearlstone, we plan to continue paying everyone as if we were continuing normal operations. In the meantime, please continue to work from home if possible, and again, do not come to Pearlstone if you are feeling sick at all. Until further notice, you need your supervisor’s approval to come onto the Pearlstone Campus at any time. If you are going to work on campus you must do a health check prior to coming in. If you have a fever or aren’t feeling well, please stay home! We have a thermometer on site and will be taking temperatures in order to keep everyone else safe.

Construction Projects
While the Governor required all non-essential businesses to close earlier this week, several aspects of our operations are exempted from that order: farming, food production, and construction included. Therefore, our Farm Village Bunkhouses are being built as we speak—and they look great! Photos coming next week. Also, renovations continue on 5427 Mt. Gilead Rd, and planning continues for our Retreat Addition, with construction expected to begin this fall.

At times like these, we are reminded of the simple things that matter most: our health and wellbeing; our loved ones; our relationships and our communities. May we all take this time to invest in what’s most important, and to care for ourselves and each other in the days and weeks ahead.

We will get through this together!

With Love,

THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director

Important News & Pearlstone Updates with Resources: March 23

Hello all,

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and their families. My name is Jennifer Folayan and I am your new HR Team & Culture Associate at Pearlstone. My first official day was last Monday and the first week has flown by! I look forward to meeting and greeting each of you in person soon or at our Lunch & Learn virtual Zoom meetings. I will be posting updates and more information as we understand what is happening here in the unfolding of our global crisis. The most important message I want to convey to you is that I AM HERE FOR YOU and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me for support or to discuss any of your needs. I aim to do my best to find the resources you need.

Today Larry Hogan held a live press conference. Here is the summary and what it means for us at Pearlstone:
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered all nonessential businesses to close by 5 p.m. Monday. That includes all businesses not designated as critical infrastructure sectors by the federal government.

Grocery stores, restaurants, farmer's markets, convenience stores, liquor stores and cafeterias can remain open. The prohibition on dine-in service continues. Anyone who works in the food supply chain, from farmers to delivery drivers to retail workers, is considered essential.

Some other businesses that are considered essential and can stay open include: hotels, electrician firms, janitorial firms, laundromats, dry cleaners, TV stations, banks, insurance companies, staffing companies and transportation companies.

Here's a government explainer on what can stay open.

Hogan said the measures are necessary to protect state residents and save lives. He explicitly said the state is not issuing a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order at this time, but police will be enforcing bans on gatherings of 10 or more people.

"Unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, stay home," Hogan said.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PEARLSTONE?
Most employees have been told to stay home. There are only a handful of staff at Pearlstone checking on the farm, animals, and facilities. Please follow all directions given to you by your immediate supervisor. It is important to sign up for the following two text alerts from Pearlstone and the State of Maryland shown below to stay in communication as the situation is rapidly changing. This is how we will disperse information to all Pearlstone Staff as the situation is constantly updated.
Please follow these directions:

Pearlstone:
Text jalert.prc to 292929

MD Ready:
Text MDReady to 898211

Governor Larry Hogan encourages all Marylanders to opt-in to #MdReady, a texting program that allows people to opt in to receive messages via text. To opt in, text "MdReady" to 898211 to begin receiving updates, tips, and alerts about COVID-19 and other threats and hazards.

Some other resources I would like to share is our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) through BHS. I have attached some handouts that will direct you on how to claim your free tools. I know these times can be especially stressful with all the changes in working from home, being isolated, family issues, financial issues, and other matters. I highly recommend using all the free resources that are available to you. It’s very simple, the number to call is 1-800-327-2251. You can call for variable reasons including Relationships, Transitions, Risks, Challenges and more. There is also an online portal for more tools including an excellent resource library.

Go to [bhs.online.com]BHS.online.com
My BHS portal
Username:
ASSOCIATED

The following are some important contacts in the Associated system for all of us as we adjust to the escalating needs of our community:
- To see our Pearlstone program team offerings in online learning, visit www.pearlstonecenter.org/online
- For resources throughout our community, visit https://associated.org/covid-19-updates/
- For information and resources to support people during this challenging time, call the JCS Community helpline at 410-466-9200 or write to info@jcsbaltimore.org
- For JCS virtual groups, please see http://www.jcsbalt.org/jcs-virtual
- To volunteer to help deliver meals or to be a friendly caller, go to https://jvcbaltimore.org/covid19/
- For domestic violence support, call 410-234-0030 or go to https://chanabaltimore.org/contact/
- For no interest loans, contact hfla@associated.org
- For virtual fitness and family activities, visit https://www.jcc.org/virtual-j
- For educational resources, go to https://cjebaltimore.org/resources/educational-resources/
- For cultural activities, see the following links: The Book of Joseph: The Birth of a Play, Morrell Park Projected and http://jewishmuseummd.org/blog/
- For well-being resources for Jewish communal professionals, visit http://thedfi.org/leadershipthroughcrisis/

Have a good evening.
Thank you for your attention,
Jennifer Folayan

Staff Update: March 20

Good morning everyone!

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy at this time. These are unprecedented times we are living through—for all of us individually, collectively, for Pearlstone as an organization, and truly for our state, our country, and our planet. We will continue to send regular all-staff email updates so that we can all stay on the same page, even while apart. Please read this entire email to understand the challenges we face, and our response:

PESACH
It is with a great sense of loss and sadness that we inform you that Pesach at Pearlstone is cancelled this year. All of us contribute to this massive immersive program, our biggest event of the year. Many of our guests come year after year, and they ask about and have come to care for you. There are so many Pesach programs all over the world, but what we do at Pearlstone is unique, very successful, and a sellout every year. We made this decision because of CDC’s recommendation to cancel all gatherings of 50 people or more anytime in the next 8 weeks (up until May 10). While we wish that we could postpone Pesach, that’s not how the Hebrew calendar works. The bad news, besides our disappointment, is that with Pesach cancelled (and many other retreats as well), our organization is now facing significant financial challenges. The good news is that many of our Pesach guests have already confirmed their spot for next year. Pesach at Pearlstone will return!

COMPENSATION
We understand that many of you have questions and concerns surrounding compensation, both during this time when we do not have any retreats in house, and in general moving forward. Until further notice, we are continuing to pay everyone as if we were continuing normal operations. This creates coding questions in terms of sick leave vs other categories of pay, and since this is a system-wide issue we are working with the Associated to provide clarity for everyone. In the meantime, please continue to work from home if possible, and again, do not come to Pearlstone if you are feeling sick at all.

VARIED EXPERIENCES, ALL GOOD—WHEREVER YOU ARE AND WHATEVER YOU’RE UP TO
For those working from home, the Associated created a Business Continuity site filled with resources on working from home. To log in you will have had to set up your two-factor authentication. Click here for the website. While many of us are working at home, HR staff, Housekeeping staff, and the Stewardship team continue to work at Pearlstone while practicing social distancing for everyone’s health. Some members of our hospitality team are not able to work from home or on site; we know this is a very difficult, frustrating situation and we are looking for ways to get our kitchen back in action. Everyone on our team is valued and important—regardless of where you are or what you are doing these days.

STAYING CONNECTED, AND PRIORITIZING OUR WELLBEING
One way we can all stay connected is through a new weekly series of Wellness-focused Lunch n Learns that will be lead by our very own Joan Plisko. We had a great turnout on today’s call, and there will be a calendar invitation going out for future gatherings. Next week we’ll also be saying goodbye to Missy through a zoom call on Thursday March 26th, at 2pm. Please join us! These are stressful times for all of us. Please consider taking an hour to gather, see each other’s faces, and take time to invest in your own wellbeing through dialogue, learning, and fun. This crisis looks like it will be a marathon, not a sprint. Please take care of yourselves!

RESPONDING TO THE CRISIS
In response to the public health crisis engulfing our communities, we are reaching out to government agencies and nonprofit partners in order to maximize Pearlstone’s contribution to the public good. We are hoping to build a partnership that enables our food service team to reactivate the kitchen in order to provide emergency food for isolated, hungry people during this crisis. Our program team is also launching online engagement opportunities to support our community through connections, meaningful learning, and joy during this difficult time. More to come on these and other potential Pearlstone responses to this crisis.

GOOD NEWS
Amidst all the uncertainty and challenge, it’s essential for us to celebrate the good news too. Some items in this category for us all to feel good about:
Our special exception application for the house next door, 5427 Mt. Gilead Rd, was approved! This means that we are ready to launch our rental enterprise with that property as soon as things return to normal. This new added capacity will be a great new option for our guests, and an important new revenue source as well.
The state of Maryland ended their legislative session early on Wednesday (instead of mid-April), passing a budget that includes capital funding for our retreat addition! With this project now fully funded, we are looking forward to the start of construction in late summer or early fall. More information to come on this in the months ahead.
With all of these cancellations, we could have seen devastating financial losses and/or potentially damaged relationships with long term clients, partners, and Pesach guests. But thanks to the extremely hard work, talent, and gifted communication skills of Eve Wachhaus and Laura Kurcfeld, we have been able to limit the damage and retain outstanding relationships with everyone involved, ensuring future business and even stronger relationships moving forward. Thank you Eve & Laura!

PRIORITY #1
Our first and foremost concern is, was, and always will be your health, safety, and wellbeing. Our deepest prayer is for all of us to pass through this crisis unharmed.

Sending you all love and comfort, and hoping to see you on a zoom call together next week!

THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director

Important Coronavirus Update: Please Read: March 13

Good morning Pearlstone team,

What a week! This has been quite an unprecedented time—for all of us at Pearlstone, and throughout our country and across the globe. As we navigate these turbulent times, our shared values and culture of Connectedness and Love will guide us through. Thank you all for remaining calm and committed to treating each other with kindness, and for taking onadditional work to keep our facility extra clean, handle extra phone calls, create new documents, and adapt to rapidly changing schedules. We are allmanaging uncertainty and stress beautifully, and we should all be proud of being part of a dedicated team exhibiting such professionalism, respect, and compassion during this challenging time.

CORONAVIRUS: THE LATEST
With the World Health Organization’s global pandemic declaration and the Maryland Governor’s public health actions yesterday, we are now entering a new, more intensive chapter of this public health crisis. There have been12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland and out of an abundance of caution, public schools and universities are closed through March 27. While there are no directives for any hotels or event venues to be closed, gatherings of more than 250 people are now prohibited as well. This does not impact Pearlstone for two reasons: 1) Our largest groups between now and mid-April are around 100-140, and 2) all of our retreat groups and programs between now and March 27th have cancelled or postponed to later dates—all our clients and partners still very much look forward to being here in the future! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has maintained their stance that risk remains low for the general population, but the risk is higher for the elderly and infirm.

SICK LEAVE
We have implemented liberal sick leave for all staff: this means that any employee who is feeling sick can and must stay at home instead of coming to work, and will be compensated for their time regardless of whether or not they have accrued any paid time off for sick days. We will ensure you receive sick pay if needed. Please communicate openly and honestly with your supervisor; let’s continue to show our care for each other’s health and wellbeing by not taking any risks during this public health challenge.

WORKING FROM HOME
Starting this coming Monday March 16th, all eligible staff will begin working from home until further notice, in consultation with your supervisor. No employee—regardless of your job description—is required to come to work at Pearlstone during this time; please speak with your supervisor to come up with a specific workplan that makes sense for you. If you normally clock in, we will work with HR to make sure your hours are reflected in Dayforce. Attached and below please find some helpful guidance and resources on remote-work technology from the Associated IT Department. Please be extra careful when checking your emails – now is a perfect time for Malware and spam asking you to click on links about Coronavirus. Don’t get fooled!
Email: The best way to access email remotely is to go toapps.associated.org. Directions are attached.

Files: If your files are stored in your P or T drive on fileserver, please connect to theRemote Desktop to access your files. Directions are attached.

Work laptops: If you have one, please take your laptop and power cord home.

Voicemail to email: Our phone system has the ability to deliver your voicemail messages to your email. If you think you would need this, please submit a request tohelpdesk@associated.org. Your voicemails will be delivered to your phone and your email.

Forwarding your calls: If you need to have your calls forwarded from your desk phone to another number, please submit a request tohelpdesk@associated.org.

Two-factor authentication: Some employees have their multi-factor authentication set up to ring their office phone. This will not help in the event that you are working remotely. If this is your situation, please update your two-factor authentication methodnow so you are ready in the event you are out of the office. Directions are attached.

Home computer: If you plan to use your personal computer, please be sure it has anti-virus protection and that all recommended Microsoft Updates have been done. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact the helpdesk.

We understand that many of us are unable to work from home. If you are in that category, please know that we all value and honor your work, no less than anyone else here. We would not be Pearlstone without amazing food, well-organized meeting spaces, beautifully clean rooms and facilities, and our farm. We are committed to making sure that all of us, salary and hourly, get through this together.

SOCIAL DISTANCING
Working remotely but choosing to do so in a coffee shop or with friends does not actually help our communities successfully reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Please practice social distancing as much as possible, at least for the next two weeks! Learn more here about how we can all prepare and effectively respond to this unprecedented situation.

IF YOU DO COME TO PEARLSTONE
For anyone who does come to Pearlstone to work, please be extra vigilant and observant of good hygiene and public health. This means staying at least 6 feet away from other people at all times. It also means that everyone washes their hands thoroughly multiple times throughout the day. There will not be staff lunch, so please bring your own food as well.

POSTPONED
Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, our LGBTQ inclusivity training with Keshet, scheduled for next Tuesday March 17th, has been postponed and will be rescheduled. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion of all peoples, especially underserved peoples, remains a top priority. We look forward to engaging in that training together, in person, with all of you in the future.

WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!
Now is a good time to step back and appreciate the great work we all get to do together every day. We are a unique, collaborative team that creates sacred space for each other and for people from across the country and beyond. Our mission has not changed and our values remain constant. We face this challenging time together, and we will reunite together on the other side of this difficult chapter. Let’s all continue to support each other throughout this time.

Thank you all!

THE PEARLSTONE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jakir Manela, CEO
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Scott Katz, Campus Operations Director
Rachel Feldman, Director of Business Development
Greg Strella, Stewardship Director
Sonja Sugerman, Program Director

Coronavirus and Pearlstone - Let's talk about the facts: March 3

Dear Pearlstone Team,

It’s time to talk about the coronavirus. Here is what we know, what we can be doing now and how we can prepare. Let’s start with some facts:

Currently the flu is much deadlier than coronavirus:
Coronavirus: as of 02.26.2020: 2,770 deaths worldwide.
Flu: estimates range from 291,000-646,000 deaths worldwide (source: Johns Hopkins Medicine).

In addition, of the current small population who have coronavirus, 3% of that group have died. Of those deaths, 95% were old and/or sick already. That means that currently, the chance of any of us getting coronavirus is small and the chance that any of us could die from it, if we got it, is much, much smaller (source: Share Facts, Not Fear).

While those facts are important, we are equally focused on preventative measures. The CDC has provided some best practices around how to limit the spread of coronavirus and we want to follow those guidelines. Additionally, as a retreat center, we welcome people here without knowing if they could have come in contact with anyone exposed to coronavirus. For the safety of us and our guests, we must follow the following best practices:

Our Health—simple things to do now:
Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home when you are sick.
Use a tissue to cover your sneeze or cough.
If you have plans to travel outside the country, please review the CDC travel guidance and, if your destination is on the list, please self-quarantine for two weeks upon return. That means do not come to work. Please speak to your supervisor about possibilities of working from home.
Reconsider cruise ship voyages into or within Asia.

Communicating with our Guests:
We are drafting an email that will go out to all group leaders reflecting Pearlstone’s vigilance in keeping our staff and guests healthy, and sharing our policy that upcoming guests must refrain from coming to Pearlstone if they have reason to believe they may have been in contact with someone with coronavirus, or if they have traveled to one of the countries currently listed on the CDC website within the last two weeks.

Our Community Response:
We are in contact with The Associated and our insurance provider regarding various scenarios that may unfold in the weeks and months ahead. We will learn more about what financial protections we have if groups lower their numbers or cancel their events with us.

Please take extra good care of yourselves and your loved ones. If at any point you have a concern that you might have the symptoms of the coronavirus, please go see a doctor right away. CDC states that symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and that these symptoms may appear anytime between 2 days and 2 weeks of exposure. We care about each other! Let’s all do whatever we can to maintain our own good health and that of others around us.

We remain so very grateful to everyone who is a part of our Pearlstone community. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please be in touch with Missy, Eve, and/or Jakir directly. We will continue to communicate transparently moving forward. We are all in this together!

Eve, Jakir, and Missy

Emails to our Guests

Pesach at Pearlstone Sadly Canceled

Dear beloved Pesach guests,

As we make our way through these uncertain times, you have been in our thoughts each and every day during this public health crisis. Our first and foremost concern at Pearlstone is, was, and always will be the health and safety of our guests and staff—and our deepest prayer is for all of us to pass through this crisis unharmed.

Like you, we have been closely monitoring public health recommendations from government authorities amidst the coronavirus global pandemic. On Sunday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released unprecedented recommendations to postpone or cancel all gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. “This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus”, the CDC stated. While we wish that we could postpone Pesach, that’s not how the Hebrew calendar works. So in light of the CDC recommendations, with heavy hearts we must inform you that Pesach at Pearlstone will not occur this year.

What does this mean for the world?

This new CDC recommendation is a call to action for all of us. When we stay home and practice social distancing it reduces the spread of this virus. “One should see the world and oneself as a scale with an equal balance of good and evil. When one does a good deed the scale is tipped to the good – both that person and the world are saved”—Maimonides. Please—for your health and for those around you— practice the good deeds of hand-washing, limiting contact with others, and giving tzedakah to protect and help others. Together we can all save lives in the days and weeks ahead.

What does this mean for us?

We will miss all of you so much! Throughout the year we look forward to the beautiful, unique, inclusive Pesach community we all create together. For 16 years, Pesach at Pearlstone has been something truly special, and we are devastated by this cancellation. We have been preparing for months, all of our Pesach food has been ordered, all contracts have been signed, and all our field-trip tickets have been purchased. This cancellation is not only a huge disappointment for our staff, it also represents disastrous financial harm to Pearlstone.

What does this mean for you?

We ask for your understanding and support as we work to navigate this extraordinary challenge together. Moving forward, we are offering a three-part financial response to this last-minute cancellation:

25% of your total Pesach invoice will be refunded
25% will be forfeited to Pearlstone in order to cover all of our expenses already incurred
50% will be carried forward as a voucher transferable to any Pearlstone event occurring within the next 13 months. This moment will pass. When it does, we will all yearn for community, nature, and celebration soon thereafter. Pearlstone will be here with open arms when the time comes!
Please consider using your voucher to come back for a family reunion or special event, to deepen multigenerational relationships at Gramp Camp, to have the time of your life at Family Farm Camp, or to experience Sukkot as it was meant to be: on the land and in beautiful community. There are so many wonderful opportunities to gather and celebrate here throughout the year—take your pick and come for magical experiences your family will never forget! When you are ready, please contact Laura and she will help you apply your voucher toward future events.

Use your voucher to confirm your slot for Pesach at Pearlstone 2021 today! Next year’s program will be better than ever—benefiting from two years of worth of planning and preparation!

For your consideration

This crisis—and cancellation—has caused tremendous challenges for Pearlstone, and we know it has caused hardship for many of you as well. If you are able and interested, please consider donating part of your voucher to Pearlstone as a charitable contribution. You generosity will help us see our way through these uncertain times, and we would be profoundly grateful. Please let Laura know if this option is possible for you.

May all our families, our friends and neighbors, our communities, and indeed the world, stay healthy and safe during the days and weeks ahead. May the Holy One watch over us all, and deliver Refuah Shleimah—complete healing—to all those affected. And may we all have faith! We will find our way through this crisis, and before you know it, we will be together again, celebrating our freedom with a farm to table Seder, surrounded by family and friends on a beautiful spring day at Pearlstone.

Sending love and blessings to you all,

Jakir Manela, Chief Executive Officer
Eve Wachhaus, Deputy Director
Laura Kurcfeld, Director of Guest Services

Cancelling Shavuot at Pearlstone

May 15, 2020

To our Shavuot community,

Our hearts go out to you during this unprecedented crisis; we pray for your health and wellbeing during these difficult times.

After waiting as long as possible for more specific guidance from our public health authorities, with heavy hearts we are cancelling Shavuot at Pearlstone this year. We will miss this gathering so much! Our beautiful, unique, inclusive Shavuot community is a major highlight for us each year. We are heartbroken by this cancellation, amongst many others over the past months and the weeks and months to come. In aggregate, Pearlstone is absorbing catastrophic financial harm at this time.

We ask for your understanding and support as we work to navigate this extraordinary challenge together. We offer these financial options for your consideration:

If we do not hear from you, your registration fee will roll over to Shavuot 2021 and/or may be used towards other Pearlstone program before June 30, 2021. There are so many wonderful opportunities to gather and celebrate here throughout the year—take your pick and come for magical experiences you will never forget!
If you prefer, please contact us to receive a refund, minus your $50 per-person non-refundable deposit.
We ask that you consider donating some of your 2020 Shavuot fees to support Pearlstone during this crisis. We anticipate heartbreaking personnel cuts in the weeks ahead; 100% of your donations will go directly to support our team during this difficult time.
Please be in touch with Ann Ulick to let us know what you would like to do.

Since we cannot celebrate together in person, our amazing program team has been working to develop a variety of great virtual Shavuot programming for the days leading up to the holiday, May 25-27, as well as participating in some local and national Shavuot offerings on the 28th and 29th. Check out our virtual Shavuot programming HERE, and all our virtual program offerings at Pearlstone Online. Lots of great content here—please explore for awesome Jewish environmental skills and learning.

As we look ahead, we know that this crisis will pass. When it does, we will all yearn for community, nature, and celebration together. Pearlstone will be here for you when that time comes!

May all our families, our friends and neighbors, our communities, and indeed the world, stay healthy and safe during the weeks and months ahead. May the Holy One watch over us all, and deliver Refuah Shleimah—complete healing—to all those affected. And may we all have faith! We will find our way through this crisis, and before you know it, we will be together again, surrounded by family and friends on a beautiful spring day at Pearlstone.

Sending love and blessings to you all,

Jakir Manela, Chief Executive Officer
Rabbi Psachyah Lichtenstein, Director of Education
Sonja Sugerman, Director of Programs
Ann Ulick, Immersive Programs Manager