Updates and Pandemic Safety Protocols
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, we remain focused on perpetuating Judaism’s highest values for maintaining life and health. Our COVID safety protocols continue to evolve based on current recommendations from health officials and with respect for Jewish traditions and teachings. Please check back regularly for updates.
COVID safety protocols for services and events at the Temple, effective August 17, 2021
We will continue to offer both in-person and virtual options for worship services for the foreseeable future to accommodate those who are not fully vaccinated or who are still uncomfortable participating in indoor public activities.
Masks Are Required – Based on the current health guidance, the Temple will continue to require masks at services, meetings, and other events, with some distinctions for those who are fully vaccinated and those who are not, including children.
For those who are fully vaccinated:
- Masks are required but there is no requirement to social distance.
- Congregants and guests are asked to please sign a brit (a covenantal agreement) attesting that they are fully vaccinated. By stating that you’ve been fully vaccinated, you may move more freely around the building and attend events without social distancing. While masks currently are required at the Temple and Rifkin Campus, signing the brit will enable you to be mask-free in the building at such time as conditions and health guidelines change.
- Please return your brit as soon as possible by email, U.S. mail, or fax so we have it on file to assist us when you attend Shabbat and High Holy Days services, as well as other events. Sign the brit electronically or print out a copy to return.
For those who are NOT fully vaccinated (due to a medical condition, individual choice, or children under 12):
- Masks and social distancing are required in the building. For worship, another option is virtual attendance.
- Important note for the High Holy Days: Due to space limitations in the Goldstine-B’nai Jacob Chapel, only fully vaccinated individuals may attend traditional services in person.
- We encourage those who are not fully vaccinated to attend traditional services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on Zoom or YouTube.
- However, sufficient seating will be available in the Sanctuary at Reform services to allow for social distance seating for those who are not fully vaccinated.
Food at Temple Events – The new guidelines also allow for a return of Oneg Shabbats, the Rosh Hashanah Reception, Break-the-Fast, Corned Beef Fundraiser, and noshes at meetings.
Our Path to Reopening During the Pandemic
After a year of being closed for all activities due to the pandemic, Congregation Achduth Vesholom began a phased reopening of our building in April 2021 for in-person worship with limitations on crowd size and strict mask and distancing guidelines in place. We continue to livestream services for those at home. Some classes, programs, and meetings are being held in person at the Temple, while others continue virtually on Zoom.
Some minor changes to the protocols began in May based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including expanding the number of people allowed in the building with safety precautions in place. Some sense of normalcy returned in the building with our Annual Meeting, two b’nei mitzvah celebrations, and our Rabbinic Consecration Weekend.
On July 19, the Temple’s leadership again looked at potential modifications after reviewing the latest scientific information and recommendations from our congregational COVID Task Force. A robust discussion made clear that reopening is more complicated than closing. On July 29, the Board again reviewed the newly updated CDC mask guidelines in light of the Delta variant.
Along with the nuances of a complicated situation and many unknowns, we recognize the diversity of viewpoints within our congregation, along with the need to be guided by Jewish principles. We appreciate your understanding and patience.
Our leadership continues to monitor the situation, with the possibility of canceling or limiting in-person gatherings if conditions warrant and following recommendations of the congregation’s COVID Task Force. Changes will be shared with members through our weekly email, website, and Facebook page.
The Temple’s seven-member COVID Task Force developed the reopening and safety recommendations that were adopted by the Temple Board of Directors. Our leadership and staff are committed to upholding Judaism’s highest priorities for maintaining life and health.
Worship services are livestreamed on YouTube and Zoom. Most classes and programs continue to be offered on Zoom.
Links are sent through a weekly email to our Temple family. Guests are welcome and invited to contact us for access information at (260) 744-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Are a Kehilla Kedosha (Holy Community)
Our COVID safety guidelines take into account that our members are part of a kehilla kedosha, a holy Jewish community, that connects us through the Covenant (brit) to one another.
- It’s a mitzvah (commandment) to preserve one’s own health and well-being (sh’mirat haguf).
- The COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA (Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J) qualify as r’fuah b’dukah, proven treatment, and it is therefore a mitzvah to get vaccinated unless one has a medical reason that makes it unsafe.
- It is a mitzvah to adhere to standards of safety that avert obvious dangers (sakanat nefashot) to others or to oneself. Jewish tradition has long presumed that recognized medical experts are reliable.
Find the Responsa on Guidelines for Reopening After A Pandemic from the Central Conference of American Rabbis