(Updated December 2021)

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve aimed to take a balanced approach, promoting health and safety while also providing personal connections and social interactions.
As Covid continues to be an issue, we want to learn to live with it while continuing to host, taking precautions, and also realizing that risk of Covid transmission remains possible (while serious illness is mitigated by vaccination and effective treatments.)
Our family had Covid in November, despite 4 of us being fully vaccinated.  Similar “break-through” cases may be even more likely with new strains, and while boosters are recommended and will hopefully help, we even know of break-through cases in people who were appropriately “boosted.”  (We are grateful that we did not share Covid with our student guests, and early testing and quarantine combined with lucky timing helped us maintain our zero transmission Covid “record” through JGrads events!)
Winter weather makes it too cold to stay exclusively outdoors, so we’ll be hosting mostly indoors over the next few months.
Attendees must be vaccinated, as is currently required by all local universities (unless one has a medical exemption.)
We’re not collecting or checking vaccine cards, we’ve felt that the honor system is sufficient AND we really need a degree of trust to collectively face this together.
In addition to vaccination, we’d like to remind our guests that:
If you have had a recent, known Covid-exposure or a housemate with Covid or covid-symptoms, please stay home (unless you’ve tested at the optimal time and are cleared…any questions, please ask!)
If you become sick yourself, stay home (unless seeking medical care.)
Please reach out to us if there’s anything we can do to help. We’ve been through Covid and quarantines, and know that it can be a difficult time, but is mitigated through love and help from friends.

(Updated Oct. 6, 2021)

As it gets cooler and more events will be held indoors, guests are required to be vaccinated, as is our staff (except 2 young children). (If you have a medical exemption, please be in touch.)
We’ve found that Grad students and recent graduates in our area are vaccinated.
Thankfully, we have had no cases of transmission through our events since the beginning of Covid.
However, vaccinated individuals are able to contract (and spread) the new strains, therefore this additional safety net and reminder will help us all stay safe:
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a number of guests needing to cancel attending due to a Covid exposure or a housemate being ill.

If you have a known case of Covid exposure or a housemate with a fever or Covid-symptoms, we ask that you use your good judgement and stay home
(until you test or determine that you do not have a break-through infection.)

If you ever do get sick and need help, we have volunteers who can bring you food or medicine.

We’ve been doing this for a long time now, and even if you are new to Pittsburgh, we are friends you can count on.
We will NEVER be offended by a last minute cancellation and if possible, we’ll make your meal To-Go if you need to stay home!

(Updated June 28, 2021)

All of the graduate students we’ve spoken to (as well as our staff) have been fully vaccinated, and average Covid numbers in our county are, thank G-d, at an all time low. We have diligently followed safety protocol until now, and will continue to follow the latest science and Covid health/safety recommendations (we’ll mask-up again or follow restrictions if things change.)

Currently, we are hosting some meals outdoors but many weeks we’re back inside, business as usual (though a little quieter in the summer.)

Super excited to meet and greet the new grad students moving here this summer! Welcome to our community!

(Aug. 24, 2020)
We hope that you are staying safe and healthy.

In light of the continuing threat of Covid-19, we wanted to update our stakeholders and participants on plans for the summer & Fall 2020. As the situation remains fluid, we will adjust and update policies, as needed. Read Chancellor Gallagher’s message, which challenges us to be responsible and flexible in these unprecedented times.

We’ve been in communication with university administrators and are following school, local, state and CDC guidelines. While safety is both a Jewish imperative and personal value of our organization, we feel that it is also healthy and important to see peers and have a social community in the safest way that is currently known.

All current events will follow the following guidelines:

1) Outdoors only, with social distancing.

2) Masks are required (may be removed for eating, when at a social distance.)

3) Limited in number. Advance registration is required.

4) Sanitary and food safety guidelines will be followed, including having hand sanitizer and/or hand washing stations. High touch surfaces will be regularly sanitized.

5) Currently there is no evidence that handling or consuming food spreads the virus that causes Covid-19 (which is thought to be spread primarily through respiratory droplets.) However, we are following general food safety practices with an additional current recommendation to serve food in individual portions (to prevent sharing of utensils or food items.)
Read more:

6) We ask of all guests: if you begin to experience any Covid-19 symptoms before arriving, please cancel your reservation and stay home. (Time permitting, we will try to deliver a meal to you without contact.) We will likewise cancel if our staff/host begins to feel unwell at any time.

We’ll be updating our RSVP Page with more events shortly. Here is what is currently “in the works.”

I. Shabbat Dinners have always been at the heart of what we do. Much more than a meal, it’s time for grad students and friends to relax, be fed a delicious home-made dinner, meet new people, and connect to our traditions. As long as we can safely host (see above guidelines) we would like to do so! Weather will be a factor and space is limited, see our emails for the schedule and registration links.

II. Virtual Events
While some people may have tired of Virtual/Zoom events, we are still exploring creative ways to use this “moment in history” while broadening our network using national connections. We have a few cool ideas & are always open to hearing yours!

III. High Holidays. If you are in town for Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur, we are considering the following tentative options, which would follow the aforementioned guidelines (outdoors, masks, social distancing, size limits…)
1) Small group (in-person) holiday meals
2) Holiday To-Go packages
2) Small group, outdoor services
3) Shofar blowing meet-ups

IV. Individual support
We are here to support Jewish grad students & friends, and it’s possible that the need for support at this time is even greater than before. Whatever we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out, by email or call 412-952-4702. (If you become ill or have physical needs for help with food/shopping, need local resources/info, or anything else, we will try to help or find you an appropriate referral.)