As you know, the circumstances around the coronavirus and how to respond change daily. We are meeting regularly to gather information from local, state, and national public health sources and to coordinate our response to the virus. As always, we are trying to balance the need to remain calm with a desire to be pro-active in every decision that we make. Most importantly, we want you to know that we are here for you. This is a moment when your Jewish community will support you in whatever way we can. We will be reaching out in the coming days for information as to how we can be present for you, but in the meantime if you need anything please be in touch with us.
We have some updates for you that we want to share at this time:
B’nai Mitzvah To all of our upcoming B’nai Mitzvah families, we are open and cannot wait to share in your celebration. As always, live-streaming is available should anyone decide they cannot attend in person. If it becomes necessary, we will reschedule b’nai mitzvah or recreate the experience at a later date.
Food (Beginning this Shabbat, Friday March 14) Food is one of the areas where viruses are transmitted frequently. Therefore, beginning this Friday, we will seek to minimize exposure by individuals to food served at events. Any food served will be either prepackaged or served by designated individuals wearing gloves. Food policies will extend to minyan food, snacks for classes, kiddush, hot lunch, salad bar and to any food served in the building. People are urged to bring their own water bottles to shul for classes and services. People are asked to be patient, as these changes will slow down food distribution. Parents will be urged to carefully supervise their children around food and help us engage in safe food handling practices. Children should not be near the buffet without adult supervision, and should not be allowed to take food directly.
Technology We are making provisions in case we are either shut out from the synagogue building, or forced to quarantine. Congregants and adult students will be urged to join Facebook and YouTube as we plan to use them for classes and potentially services to the extent we cannot make use of the shul based livestream. We will try as much as we can to make use of our livestream capabilities so people who do not want to venture outside can connect via our website. For online learning we plan to use the Zoom platform. We will collect emails for adult students in case we need to move to online learning.
School Trips & Activities As directed by the county for now, any outside activities like field trips or large scale programming between now and Pesahare postponed. This includes, but is not limited, to the two RRS New York trips, KSDS Grade 4 field trip, Shabbat Share, etc. The matinee of the 8th grade play has been cancelled and we are exploring options to hold a matinee here at the shul. Any further news about the play will come directly from KSDS. For the safety of our students and teachers, our Goldsmith team has decided to pull out of the Early Childhood Education conference and school will remain closed on Monday, March 16.
Meetings Meetings and gatherings of fewer than 100 people will stay as scheduled, however the conveners of each individual meeting are urged to consider whether an in person meeting is required or if the business could be accomplished virtually or by conference call.
Events Auxiliary groups of the shul including the Sisterhood and Brotherhood must abide by the synagogue’s new food handling policy, whether the event is held onsite or offsite. While we understand that this makes holding the event more challenging, these policies need to be in place for the entire institution. Any events which have more than 100 people (other than Shabbat services) will be postponed. At Shabbat Services, and all events per the CDC recommendation, congregants will be encouraged to spread out to practice social distancing.
The community second Seder is scheduled for April 9. As of now, we are still planning to hold the Seder. We will make a final determination by March 20, so if we need to cancel there will be enough time for people to make alternate plans.
While we do understand that these circumstances are not ideal, we are doing our very best to keep everyone safe, as well as maintain a sense of normalcy in the building. We ask for your cooperation and understanding as we all navigate this challenging time together.
B’Shalom, Chizuk Amuno Congregation & Schools Clergy and Staff