The CDC has identified our entire region as being at "high risk for transmission" of COVID-19, and rates are continuing to rise every day. Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the difficult decision to pivot from in-person, indoor gatherings back to virtual events. This includes weekly Shabbat services, High Holy Days, adult education, and the start of the year for TJCRS. Contact the Education Director for details about religious school: firstname.lastname@example.org. The synagogue office will continue to be open and Rabbi will be available for video and phone meetings and, on a case by case basis, in person visits. We will continue to monitor official guidance and revisit our decision when the transmission risk falls to "moderate."
With your generous support, we have greatly upgraded our technology for livestreaming. (And we've gotten pretty good at it, too.) You can join us via Zoom for weekly Shabbat services and Torah Study as well as for the High Holy Days. Our hope is to have a few outdoor gatherings during this holiday season, as we did last year.
We share your disappointment that we cannot gather together in person. But we must balance the value of kehillah, community, with that of pikuach nefesh, safeguarding life. Pikuach nefesh requires us to contribute to the broader community effort to end the pandemic and protect people still vulnerable to COVID-19. Large gatherings offer more opportunities for transmission of the highly infectious Delta variant, so this year, only Rabbi and Choir will be in the sanctuary, and the congregation will attend virtually.
Kehillah asks us to maximize lower-risk opportunities for gathering in-person as well as ensuring that members can still participate and connect, fully and joyfully. To this end, we encourage you to create “moveable minyanim” and attend services virtually as satellite groups of households and “pods.” Our “moveable minyans” will help preserve the sense of community and connection that we cherish. We will make a special effort to reach out to our members who do not use computers to help them join by phone.Please be in touch if you have questions, concerns or suggestions. The Jewish people have celebrated Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur all over the world, in uncountable circumstances, for hundreds of generations. We are a resilient people, deeply rooted in a tradition of caring for each other and for the world. We celebrate apart this year in order to care for each other, and we look forward to High Holy Days to come when we will celebrate together again.
Wishing you a happy, healthy new year of 5782,
Debora S. Gordon, Rabbi
Beth Hershenhart, President