Monday, March 16, 2020
Fifteen hundred years ago the rabbis taught: “when there is pestilence in the city, stay inside (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma, 60b).” We learn from this teaching that in extraordinary times, we are obligated to safeguard our community’s health by staying at home and limiting our contact with others. As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the country, we must take steps as a community to help slow down and mitigate the impact of this disease.
We are unaware of anyone who has been in our building testing positive. However, we have determined that the most responsible way for us to care for our congregants, families, and staff is to close the Temple office and to suspend all on-site and off-site programs effective today, Monday, March 16. We plan to re-open the building and resume normal operations on Tuesday, May 26. On occasion, you may see people coming and going from the building to perform essential services.
We know that this poses hardships on all of us, but we feel confident that this is the right step to take in order to keep our community safe.
Effective Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, May 26, Temple Israel will:
- Close our building to the public. During that time, we will conduct a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of all surfaces.
- Cancel all of our educational learning opportunities including: Religious School, Ryterband brunches, Talmud, Torah Study, Torah on Tap, and Cappuccino with the Clergy.
- Cancel all religious services, such as: weekly Shabbat services, Second Seder, Kiddush luncheons, healing services, b’nai mitzvah, and Share Shabbats.
- Hold funerals as graveside-only services. If requested, we will conduct a shiva minyan for immediate family only.
- Meet virtually for counseling and other meetings. We ask all congregants to take advantage of virtual meeting platforms (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.) or the phone to meet with our rabbis and staff, rather than in-person meetings.
- Do our best to maintain rich Jewish programming by using our TIDBits weekly email and Facebook page (facebook.com/tidayton) to promote the best remote Jewish resources available.
- Offer clergy support by checking in on those who are ill, in need, or isolated from family members. We are here for you and are ready in these times to “meet” by phone or Zoom call. Please feel free to reach out directly. If you need to reach any of our staff, please call our main line (937) 496-0050, or email individual staff members. If you have an urgent matter or need to speak with one of our rabbis, please leave a message on our “emergency line” and one of our rabbis will return your call immediately. Otherwise, phone messages will be returned within 2 days.
- Tutor b’nai mitzvah students virtually; families will receive information for Zoom or Facetime from Rabbi Sobo.
- Hold Executive Committee and Board Meetings virtually; stay tuned for instructions on how to connect.
- Post updates and new virtual events on the Temple website www.tidayton.org.
In addition to the list above, the Jewish Cultural Festival is currently postponed until Sunday, August 9. Courtney Cummings will be in contact with all Steering Committee members regarding the event and how the committee will proceed in the planning process.
If you or anyone in your household has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone with a confirmed case, please let us know by getting in touch with our Executive Director, Suzanne Shaw at email@example.com.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves. Be educated about how you can stay healthy physically, but also try not to allow the uncertainty and anxiousness to weigh you down. Try to keep an eye out on friends, neighbors and strangers. At the end of the reading of a book of Torah, we customarily recite the phrase “chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik” – let us be strong, and let us strengthen one another. We will get through this tough time together, and, despite the challenges, we will strengthen each other in the process.
Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rabbi Tina Sobo (email@example.com)
Suzanne Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Courtney Cummings (email@example.com)