Columbus Jewish Community

Columbus Jewish Community

Sarah Naiman

A mid-size midwestern Jewish community, Columbus, Ohio is a great sample of an American Jewish community. With nine synagogues, two day schools, a kollel and mikvah, the JCC, Hillel, Chabad, Jewish Family Services, JewishColumbus, and a senior living center, the community possesses a variety of unique Jewish institutions. When COVID-19 hit, these institutions were united by their desire to keep the Jewish community safe. Moreover, from this sample, it appears that the coronavirus strengthened the Columbus Jewish community. The solidarity demonstrated by all institutions, as well as the increase in participation by way of Zoom and Facebook, united and strengthened the Jewish community.


Despite their differences, Columbus' synagogues united in their response to the pandemic. All nine congregations were compliant with government and secular policy and chose to close during March. In many ways, the literature produced by these synagogues indicates that the pandemic has been a period of growth. By offering services, Sunday schools, and other programs online, many synagogues felt better able to reach more congregants. Still, the synagogues are taking different approaches to reopening. It will be interesting to see whether this sense of institutional unity and strength lasts beyond the pandemic. Explore below to learn more about specific congregations.

Guide to Shavuot at Home

Torat Emet Shavout Guide

The Window

Temple Beth Shalom Monthly Newsletter

Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim

Weekly teaching from Agudas Achim

Sukkat Shaloms Plans and Support

Guidelines published by Sukkat Shalom

Good Yom Tov!!

Creative flyer from Beth Jacob

Image of synagogue sign

Sign posted outside of Beth Tikvah

A Thought Before Shabbat

Facebook post from Tifereth Israel

Image of virtual Shabbat flyer

Ad for Temple Israel virtual services

Jewish Columbus testimony Sugarman

A JewishColumbus appreciation post

Community Organizations

Much like the synagogues, Columbus' Jewish community organizations were compliant with secular and governmental guidance. Columbus' Jewish community organizations are greatly varied in their functions, stretching anywhere from the OSU Hillel to the JCC to the community Kollel. The general themes of the literature and data produced by these varied institutions includes using virtual platforms like zoom, explore ritual and worship changes, and focusing on community and unity. 

COVID-19 101 On Campus

A graphic put out by OSU Hillel

Image of mask donation

Two women donating masks to WHV


A note to CTA parents

Image of virtual music class

A student at a virtual CJDS music class

Note of solidarity during Passover

JFS' Passover message

Image and note of two men prepping meals for vulnerable population

Two JCC workers prepping meals for vulnerable populations

Image of Hebrew School on Wheels

Chabad's "Hebrew School on Wheels"


Policy statement from the community mikvah


Overall, the Columbus Jewish community's response to the coronavirus demonstrated unity, community themes, and a general dedication to making the best of the situation.  All institutions turned to virtual platforms like Zoom and Facebook. Though one may have expected a greater divergence in Orthodox vs non-Orthodox responses, the differences in their initial responses to the virus were minimal. Generally, the slight linguistic difference was the Orthodox community's emphasis on (faith in) God, while the non-Orthodox communities spent more time discussing how community members can help each other. Furthermore, as the Jewish community has begun its reopening efforts, it will be interesting to see how Orthodox vs non-Orthodox communities diverge. Still, solidarity permeates the Columbus Jewish community's response to the coronavirus, as all institutions focused on counting their blessings and working to help those in need.

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