November 18, 2020
At Beth El, we are proud to have been running safe, in-person services since August. Following the advice of our Medical Task Force, we have followed strict and effective protocols including temperature checks, medical screening, hand sanitation, mandatory masking and maintaining physical distance of six feet.
The walls of the Field Family Sanctuary are open to include the entire space back through the Blumberg Social Hall, like on the High Holidays, giving people more than ample room to spread out. Our high ceilings, large space and new air filters make our ventilation as safe as possible for an indoor space. Our protocols for those leading the service have made participating on the bimah a safe experience, as well.
While our Medical Task Force believes that these safeguards, protocols and precautions make our in-person services extremely safe, we have decided to pull back from our previous limit of 50 service attendees due to the high level of COVID-19 and the recent guidelines issued by both the Governor’s office and the Mayor of Highland Park.
Beginning next week, all services held in the Field Family Sanctuary will be limited to around 10 participants, so that we can ensure that we have a minyan in order to read Torah and say Kaddish. We will increase this number to 25 only for B’nai Mitzvah services. It is our goal to balance safety with allowing our families to celebrate the simcha with immediate family.
Up to now, we have been pleased to provide four additional minyanim during the week in the same safe environment as our Shabbat services. Beginning next week, we have decided to cut back to only two. We will now hold daily minyan only on Monday and Thursday mornings at 7:30 AM when the Torah is read, something that cannot be done virtually. Please note that ALL services will continue to be livestreamed. We will continue to communicate changes in policy as conditions warrant.
As you know, the most essential value we hold dear in Judaism is that of Pikuah Nefesh, the preservation of life. Let’s all work together to keep each other safe.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Rabbi Michael Schwab
Ron Goldberg, President
Jeffrey Baden, Executive Director
P.S. Please note that we will not hold an in-person service on Thanksgiving morning; however the service will be livestreamed.