On a “reopening of “in person” events at the Shul

Fellow congregants, I wanted to use this opportunity in the Voice to give you a further update regarding our planning for a reopening of “in […]

Fellow congregants,

I wanted to use this opportunity in the Voice to give you a further update regarding our planning for a reopening of “in person” events at the Shul.

But I want to preface the update with a few comments that echo the Rabbi’s reflections on the extraordinary situation we all find ourselves having to cope with as individuals in a community that has been forced into a remote online existence.  It has been so difficult, not to be able to be with everyone on Shabbat, enjoying a kiddush lunch and just, in a word, …” being”.  It has been so difficult not to greet people individually in person, and instead trying to deal with each of us being represented by a small window in a zoom call.  It has been so difficult to not be there for each other, as we laugh, and cry our way through life’s inevitable joys and sorrows.

And so, in spite of this agonizing adjustment we have all had to endure, our Shul leadership has to move deliberately, yet with all possible speed to make responsible and prudent choices in way we move to resume meeting each other in person.

A couple of weeks ago, in our Shabbat Shalom newsletter, I talked briefly about the measures we are taking to reopen the Shul – and I wanted to reiterate my comments and go into a little more depth on our thinking.

Back in March, when the Covid-19 Closings were ordered by the authorities, the clergy and staff at CBJ made a rapid and effective transition to an online synagogue environment with online streaming and zoom based services, education, and lifecycle events. The degree of success of this transition has been gratifying – to the extent that I anticipate we will be continuing to offer online options alongside “in person” beyond the end of the Covid-19 crisis.

Now, the state and county authorities have lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions that were imposed back in March.  I wanted to communicate to you what we are doing at CBJ to react to these changes and also what you can expect over the next several months.

Several weeks ago we created a reopening task force, made up of clergy, staff and congregants, including representation from the medical community. This group has met multiple times and has put together a tentative roadmap of the re-openings that we anticipate at CBJ.

The clergy are thinking about ways to bring our congregants back together into the Shul. We all recognize the spiritual role that “in person” events play in our lives, and the reopening task force will look at each of these proposals and advise on the maximum number of participants as well as the health precautions that need to be taken.

The board of directors, together with the clergy, are already discussing these proposals, while also drawing upon medical expertise – and then decisions will be made and communicated to the congregation. To accomplish this, we will hold two extra board meetings in the month of July, and also use the August board meeting.

Meanwhile, I am pleased to announce that we are starting to hold outdoor single family and two family lifecycle events, albeit restricted to a small number of people. We will transition from this to small outdoor services and then larger outdoor services in due course.

High holidays, unfortunately, will be in the main accomplished with zoom and streaming, but we are trying to figure out how to create some small, safe “ in person” get-togethers.

In terms of our youth education plans, separate announcements will be coming from both Religious School and Preschool leadership.

Both board and clergy will continue to put the health of our congregants first, and make sure that whatever activities we do allow are carried out with the highest level of safety for both congregants and clergy.  Let me assure everyone that we are working hard behind the scenes to make prudent decisions as quickly as possible, and we will continue to communicate on our progress. Getting us all back together safely is, and will remain, the focus of our leadership.

Regards,

Steve

 

Steve Dines
CBJ President