When the coronavirus pandemic virus hit, Pearlstone’s business was booming. Sales from its Retreat Center were growing exponentially, as was its in-person experiential learning opportunities that focused on Living Judaism, like immersive holiday celebrations and Family Farm Camp.
Yet in March, things would suddenly change. The hospitality business was hit hard. So was programming. As the community stayed home and practiced social distancing, it was up to the imagination and innovation from Pearlstone’s professionals and volunteers, combined with the support of The Associated, that led to a reenvisioning of the organization’s work.
“We began to think about how we could sustain Pearlstone and be of service to the community until things began to return to normal,” said Jakir Manela, chief executive officer of Pearlstone. “And we asked ourselves, as people yearn for nature and connection, how can we do that with everyone’s health and safety in mind. We knew we had to pivot, adapt and reinvent.”
In keeping with Pearlstone’s core values of Living Judaism, Connectedness, and Loving Warmth, the agency began to rethink its role. Going beyond virtual experiences, which included adding new programs like “Let’s Get Cooking” and “Grow Your Own” (for budding gardeners), Pearlstone began to reimagine.
That led to an organizational commitment to build on the agency’s strengths. As a result, Pearlstone has created dynamic, new strategies for community impact during these difficult times.
“Although the crisis has hit Pearlstone like a tsunami, our ability to adapt, and our partnership with The Associated and its leaders are helping us through this crisis,” says Manela. “We are blessed to have our leaders.”
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