July 7, 2020
Since early June, the Roadmap to Reopening Task Force has been receiving input from congregants, staff, and lay leaders, analyzing Beth David’s multi-faceted needs, considering the changing legal and health rules/guidelines, and working on a strategic structure under which we can move forward. This communication serves as an update on the status of Beth David’s building use based on COVID-related governmental regulations and the Jewish valued-based decisions made by our Board of Directors.
At the Beth David Board meeting on June 24, the Board approved Guiding Principles for Reopening as recommended by the Roadmap for Reopening Task Force. The underlying theme of these guidelines is that Pikuah Nefesh, “Safeguarding Life”, is the lens through which we consider all decisions regarding reopening. This applies to the lives of congregants, community members and our staff. We will not adopt any practices that are less restrictive than permitted by state and local governing bodies, and in some cases it may be more restrictive if our values point us in that direction. You may see the full text of the Guiding Principles here.
It is important to emphasize that these principles apply not only to our religious services and other clergy-initiated activities, but also to activities led by our affiliated organizations, committees, clubs, interest groups and religious school. Until further notice, all events under the auspices of Beth David will be held online. If you have a question about a specific program or activity, please send a note to RoadmapCongregation@Beth-David.org.
The Roadmap to Reopening Task Force will continue to function as a sounding board for new, adapted, and innovative programming. The task force will vet programmatic ideas and make recommendations to the Board, where decisions will be made. If you have ideas or suggestions, please send them to RoadmapCongregation@Beth-David.org.
Thank you to those of you who completed the Congregational survey on virtual programming held since mid-March. We are happy to report that we have had responses from 131 individuals and have received constructive feedback and excellent ideas on future programming. Very positively, 72% of the respondents indicated they have had an excellent experience with Zoom. While it isn’t the same as praying face to face, we can remain a community for each other until it is safe to come back together in our building.To see more detail, you may review the PowerPoint presentation made to the Board of Directors here.
The Ritual Committee is planning meaningful online High Holy Day experiences with both services and Netivot (study sessions). We are also exploring options for a brief “Parking Lot Program” that will include highlights from the Rosh HaShanah service, including shofar, on the second day. This would run in parallel to our online service that morning. Stay tuned for much more exciting information.
The Task Force is aware that Zoom, FaceBook Live and Youtube do not work for everyone. If you need technical assistance either in the form of “how-to” instructions or lack the proper equipment to access these technologies, please let us know as soon as possible and we will do our best to assist. If we can get you set up now, it will create a much more meaningful High Holy Day experience for you. We can’t guarantee we can help, but will do our best. We can also use volunteers to help those who need assistance. Please don’t delay to send an email with your request or offer to help to RoadmapCongregation@Beth-David.org.
Thank you for your partnership as we move down this path toward reopening. Please keep sending your constructive ideas and suggestions to us – RoadmapCongregation@Beth-David.org.
Rabbi Alpert, Senior Rabbi
Betty Menkin, President
Margie Pomerantz, Chair, Roadmap to Reopening Task Force