May 28, 2020
We hope you are doing well in these extraordinary times. Like you, we are wondering when we will get back to “normal” and what that “normal” will look like. We don’t have the answer yet, but we recognize that we need to start formally thinking and strategizing to understand what our next steps will be.
To that end, we have created a “Roadmap to Reopening” Task Force which will analyze Beth David’s multi-faceted needs, consider the ever-changing legal and health rules/guidelines and create a time-sensitive structure under which we can move forward.
The Task Force is being chaired by Margie Pomerantz (Beth David congregant and USCJ Vice-President) and includes members who represent the various functions at Beth David most immediately impacted by our reopening. Members are: Rabbi Alpert, Michael Bierman (Facilities), Barbara Biran (Administration), Rhonda Farber (Education), Grant Goodman (Medical perspective) and Madelyn Isaacs (Ritual). Ex-officio members are Elizabeth Menkin (President), Wendy Glasser (Executive VP), and Rabbi Roller.
This task force has already begun its work even as the landscape constantly changes, collecting and reviewing reports, studies, and public health guidelines, and conferring with other synagogue leaders through USCJ webinars, Zoom meetings, and personal connections. We are appending links to examples of relevant articles that convey some of the complicated topics that go into this process.
In consideration of the facts as we know them today and the number of congregants who have already indicated their concerns, the Ritual Committee recommended to the Beth David Board that we not hold High Holy Day services in the Beth David building this year. The best use of our resources in the time available is to focus on planning a meaningful and enriching experience for the most probable scenario. We have made this major decision now so we can focus on developing one excellent plan. This is a difficult and emotional choice, and we also believe that it is the best decision we can make given the circumstances. Our goal is to keep our members safe while providing spiritual, thought-provoking, and meaningful High Holy Days for all groups within the congregation. You can expect to see varied ways for us to celebrate together, connect to each other and have sweet experiences, safely.
Over the coming weeks and months, the Reopening Task Force will continue to analyze the data, study the governmental regulations and make reopening recommendations to the Board. We hope there will be incremental, safe ways that we can use the building over the next few months.
If you have thoughts, questions or ideas about the process, please share them with the Task Force using this email address: RoadmapCongregation@beth-david.org. Please know that we will consider all of your input, even though we may not be able to respond personally. We will continue to update you as we have new information to share.
We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy,
Rabbi Jaymee Alpert
Elizabeth (Betty) Menkin
Congregation Beth David
A few relevant articles:
“Jewish Values Regarding Physical Reopening of Our Institutions” by Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, soon to be CEO of both the Rabbinical Assembly and of USCJ, Click here or go to https://bit.ly/2Xd37tr