Facing The Communal Challenges of the Corona Virus

It is with a heavy heart that we all have been watching the cascade of communal events being cancelled across the country due to the loving care we have for those in our communities to protect them from COVID-19. So, too, here at Bet Haverim, every decision that we make will be done with careful consideration, conversation and collaboration with our leadership team and health care professionals. Our Jewish value of Pikuach Nefesh, the importance of saving a life, ultimately guides all of our decisions. Our primary goal is always to protect one another from getting sick and prevent the further spread of the Corona virus to the best of our abilities. This pandemic is a brand new challenge that we are monitoring closely, as the protocols are changing day by day, so that we can respond in the most judicious way possible.

As we consider which Bet Haverim activities we will need to cancel and those that will continue, please know that we have not come to these decisions lightly. We also understand that each community and synagogue will have to make decisions that feel right based on their size and other pertinent factors. At Tuesday night’s meeting of our Board of Directors, we decided unanimously that we would not be able to host our annual Community Passover Seder and be able to ensure the health and welfare of those who participate. This is very disappointing for us and we are here to help people make connections to be able to celebrate Passover with others. We would encourage those who are hosting seders at their homes, and feel comfortable doing so, to reach out to friends to make sure that everyone has a place to go for Passover.

Our Shabbat services, b’nai mitzvah celebrations, Torah study (now being held in the Social Hall) and other classes will continue for the time being. We will be taking special precautions to protect the health of all who choose to join us for these events. Please remember that if you are feeling unwell or are experiencing symptoms of a cold or fever to stay at home. Practice good health etiquette. Refrain from shaking hands and hugging. Bumping elbows is now fashionable. Wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizer available at the synagogue.  If you are in a particularly vulnerable demographic or have underlying health issues please choose wisely and stay at home for the time being. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable joining us in person due to health concerns, know that you have our blessings. We are exploring opportunities to join services and, perhaps, other events through Zoom. Stay tuned.

With all of us working together and following the “rules of engagement,” we certainly hope that we will see this most modern plague pass over us soon and in our day. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of our leadership if you have any concerns or questions. We are here to support you through this difficult time for all of us.

With blessings for health and resilience,

Rabbi Greg