Dear Temple Beth-El Family,
As you know, the Coronavirus is a highly infectious virus and is spreading rapidly. At such a time, discretion is the better part of valor. We have spoken to medical experts in our community. They tell us that the only effective way to prevent people from getting the virus is to refrain from large gatherings. The health and safety of our congregants, visitors and staff always come first. The levels listed below will be determined by the Rabbi and Board President and communicated to the community. The spread of COVID-19 remains a fluid, ever-changing health situation, requiring all to remain flexible as the facts and circumstances change. Thanks for your flexibility and vigilance. We are currently at LEVEL 4.
Level 1: Extreme Caution
Level 1 response is aimed at increasing caution through social distancing and careful hygiene.
1. Congregants who are over 60 are encouraged not to attend if any health issues exist.
2. Congregants who have chronic medical conditions, or are uncomfortable attending gatherings, should refrain from attending.
3. The temple asks all visitors to use Hand Sanitizers located at each entrance of the building.
4. Additional janitorial staff will clean all surfaces including doorknobs, tabletops, and prayer book covers daily.
5. All services and programs will be held in spaces which allow congregants to space themselves out (suggested 6 feet apart)
6. Congregants who have a temperature above 100.4 F or have any symptoms of the virus (runny nose, cough, sore throat) should not attend under any circumstances.
7. Congregants are asked not to shake hands, kiss, or hug, and to give others appropriate distance at all times.
8. Congregants are asked not to kiss prayer books, mezuzot, tzitzit or any other ritual items. Torah readers and service leaders will have hand sanitizer when participating in ritual elements of the service.
9. Communal talisim will not be available at this time, congregants are asked to bring their own.
10. Special caution will be taken with food preparation and serving to avoid sharing of food serving utensils.
11. Livestreaming and online services will be made available as feasible for those not attending to participate in Jewish ritual services.
Level 2: Reduced Program & Gatherings/Virtual Program Offerings
This level is intended to limit social gatherings to small numbers and allow congregants to receive services virtually. All Level 1 responses will remain in place at TBE, as well as the following:
1. No public programs over 10 guests will occur in the TBE facility. Staff will continue to lead virtual services and educational programs with designated lay volunteer assistance, using Livestream, online conferencing and other social media.
2. Staff and limited lay leadership will continue to provide ritual and program services (communications, office function, donations) to support congregants.
3. Specific programming that will continue virtually with no live attendance will be Shabbat services and AM Minyan (via FB Live), JewCurious, Beit Midrash 2.0 and Wednesday morning Torah learning (via Zoom/videoconferencing).
4. Religious School programming will be postponed and rescheduled if feasible.
5. Other programs will be determined on a case by case basis depending on attendance expected.
Level 3: Building Closure/Limited Staffing/Virtual Programming
This level is intended to reduce almost entirely social contact for the safety of our community. Focus will be on virtual programming. Our building is closed to the public except to staff and designated lay leaders. All Level 1 and Level 2 Responses remain in effect.
Level 4: Total Synagogue Closure
Level 4 response will execute total closure of synagogue function until risk is reduced as determined with guidance from medical professionals. No staff or volunteers will be at the synagogue until further notice. Staff and lay leadership will communicate via online/phone to manage synagogue needs.
A Few Resources:
Access the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 updates here.
Check out this Medium article about the Coronavirus: what you should do, when and why.