September 2020: From TBS President Joan Levine
The past four months have been unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. New processes are in place to keep us safe and new words have crept into our language. Before COVID-19, no one spoke of “social distancing”. Happy Birthday was sung at parties instead of while washing hands. Zoom was a noise a jet made, not a platform for socially connecting. The changes have been profound and no more so than at Temple Beth Sholom.
As you know, we have transitioned from services in the sanctuary to Zooming in our homes for safety. We have added Streaming for those not having Zoom capabilities. The Hebrew phrase “Piqquah nefesh” embodies the Jewish obligation to save lives and preserve your health. Jews are obligated to do everything possible to save a life. Preserving a life is of paramount importance in the Jewish tradition and takes precedence over all Jewish laws. During this Pandemic, we are required to preserve our lives and health. Therefore, after much deliberation, the Ritual Committee and the Pandemic Committee with guidance from Rabbi Scolnic, have decided that our High Holiday Services this year will be Zoomed and Streamed only. Sadly, this is the BEST way we can keep everyone safe.
The Ritual Committee will be coordinating the necessary arrangements within the sanctuary during davening (praying), to facilitate the remote services with different congregants each service. We will also be working on providing help to those who need assistance with online access and making sure all congregants have access to Machzors (High Holiday Prayer Books).
You will be getting further information about the High Holidays per our usual letter. We want to assure you that the Pandemic Committee continues to work on re-opening plans when it is safe and as soon as we have details, we will advise you further.
Thank you for your understanding at this most difficult time as we all navigate through this crisis.
L’Shanah tovah – May we all have a safe and healthy year!