Ask the Rabbi

Rabbi Carla Freedman
May 2021 QUESTION:

What are the plans for returning to the temple building for in-person services, classes, and other activities?

May 2021 ANSWER:

This is a work in progress. We will, of course, follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and other leaders, with respect to the number of people in a room, the wearing of masks, etc.

Recently, two Board members took some blue tape into the sanctuary, and marked off seats, and even whole rows, so as to conform to the CDC instructions about sitting in such a space. The useable seats numbered 33.In the social hall, we will remove the tables, and set up seats, theater style, in front of the 80-inch TV, to give us another 33 seats
(set widely apart, of course). Though it is not quite the same as being in the sanctuary, you will be seated with other
members of the congregation, and the sound and picture are excellent there.

The first people we will bring into the temple will be those who have no computer, smart phone, or tablet, so that
they have not been able to “attend” anything in more than a year. This is a small number of people, and we owe them
this courtesy.

We are creating a system to determine who will attend in person on which dates, and we will share that with you shortly. Some people may not be ready to come to the temple when we can begin to open up, and we will respect that.

REMEMBER THAT WE WILL TRANSMIT VIA ZOOM ALL OUR FRIDAY EVENING SERVICES, EVEN WHEN WE ARE BACK
IN THE BUILDING, so that, on an evening when you are not in the temple group, you can still be part of the service (as we get closer to that moment, we’ll give you lots of information about how things will work, and what you need to do, and we will offer a “dry run” as we did before the High Holy Days last fall.)…the tech team is working to make home access to the livestreamed services easy and simple.

In the sanctuary, we have installed two large screens, on which you will see the musical presentations and the text of
prayers, just as you do at home now via Zoom. Prayerbooks will of course be available for any and all who want to use
them. We look forward to being able to read Torah once again, as a congregation.

Until further notice, there will be no Oneg Shabbat in the building after Friday services. But we encourage you to have
your own Oneg Shabbat (Sabbath delight) at home…ice cream? cake? cookies?… whether you’ve attended in person or via Zoom.

We will not livestream our Shabbat morning services (held on the 2nd and 4th Shabbat of the month) because that service draws a small group, which we will easily manage in the building. I will be discussing this with the “regulars”, and also the Torah study group…we could conceivably hold a morning service, then eat lunch (not pot luck style, but our own individual “brown bags”) and do Torah study, which we would transmit by Zoom for those unable/unwilling to come to the building.

As for classes and other activities, we will check with participants and make plans accordingly. No one will be required to
come into the building. If you’re not comfortable with attending in-person, all you have to say is…”not yet”. We will
respect that. And we will make classes and other activities available via Zoom as long as it helps some folks to participate in the life of our temple community. Of course, there will be no hugs and kisses, no hand shaking, etc. There will be some new procedures in place, intended to make our temple home safe for everyone…a small price to pay for getting together again…b’mehairah uv’yamainu… speedily and in our days!

 

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