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COVID-19 Update

For the latest messages regarding Shearith Israel and the COVID-19 pandemic, please see below.

Daily Minyan services are taking place both in-person and on Zoom. Shabbat morning services are being held in-person and may be livestreamed. Click here to participate via Zoom or livestream.

Visit the Calendar for programming details. To participate in member outreach or request support, click the button below.


 

Thursday, July 14 2022 - 15 Tammuz 5782

Masking is currently optional in our building. We understand and respect that some members of the congregation may not be comfortable being around unmasked persons indoors at this time. 

Please note:

  • Our medical committee strong recommends that every eligible person, including children over age 6 months get vaccinated and stay current with booster doses as recommended.
  • Rabbi Kaiman strongly believes that it is the halachic duty off all congregants to get vaccinated.
  • Given the very high vaccination rate of our congregants, high levels of background immunity from vaccination/prior infection/or both, and reduced efficacy of vaccine for preventing transmission of current COVID-19 variants, CSI will no longer be monitoring vaccination status nor mandating that all present be vaccinated or have medical exemptions.
  • We will continue to follow CDC guidance and rely on the counsel of our medical committee. If conditions change for the better or worse in the Metro Atlanta area, we will make changes accordingly. 

If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms, please join us remotely by Zoom or livestream.


 
Friday, March 11, 2022 - 8 Adar II 5782
 

Based on decreasing infection rates and new guidance from the CDC, the current level of risk in our area is sufficiently low to allow us to modify our universal masking policy. Beginning this Shabbat, March 11, masking will be optional in our building and we will resume indoor Shabbat Kiddush on March 19.

We understand and respect that some members of the congregation may not be comfortable removing masks or being around unmasked persons indoors at this time. Shearith Israel will provide expanded seating options during services for those that choose to remain physically distanced. In addition, the tent will remain available for those who prefer to eat outdoors and we will continue to offer Zoom and livestream options for services and programs.

Please note:

  • Our vaccination requirement is not changing at this time. Everyone that enters the building who is eligible to be vaccinated must be fully vaccinated, unless our medical committee has granted an exemption.
  • We will continue to follow CDC guidance and rely on the counsel of our medical committee. If conditions change for the better or worse in the Metro Atlanta area, we will make changes accordingly
  • If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms, please join us remotely by Zoom or livestream.

 
Friday, February 11, 2022 - 10 Adar I 5782

 

Our community follows the CDC's guidelines for quarantine and isolation procedures with respect to COVID-19. Click here to read more about the CDC's up-to-date guidelines.  

If you wish to request a medical exemption, please submit supporting medical documentation to the CSI office. Your request will remain confidential. It will be presented to medical committee and you will receive a written response.

Sunday, January 16, 2022 - 14 Shevat 5782

Throughout the pandemic, our congregation has striven to make our campus as safely accessible for as many members and guests as possible. Since last summer, when we danced our Torah scrolls back into the sanctuary, we learned that many congregants still felt unsafe entering the building. After much thoughtful and challenging discussion, the Board of the congregation has voted to implement a Covid Vaccine Requirement for in-person attendance at all indoor shul events.  

Beginning Monday, January 18, we will require all vaccine-eligible (individuals 5 years of age and older) in-person attendees of services, study groups, meetings and other indoor synagogue functions to be fully vaccinated.

We pride ourselves on our welcoming environment, and we are painfully aware that with this decision, we may be excluding a small number of congregants and potential guests.

The wonderful news is that an extremely high percentage of our Shearith community is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccination offers protection from serious illness, fulfilling the mitzvah of Shmirat Ha-guf (caring for the body). Vaccination also protects those around us by significantly reducing the probability that the virus will be transmitted to others, fulfilling the mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh (saving a life). Vaccination is a mitzvah. A religious obligation. 

Although with this policy we risk losing in-person interaction with people we care about, without this policy, there are others who do not feel safe or responsible returning. Our Medical Committee tells us that even a large gathering of vaccinated individuals is unlikely to be associated with significant levels of COVID-19 transmission; thus offering protection even for those unable to be vaccinated (those < five years old and those less likely to mount the necessary immune response post-vaccination). 

Vaccine Policy:

All vaccine-eligible congregants and guests (individuals 5 years of age and older) attending in-person, indoor activities at Shearith Israel must be fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated is defined as two doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, two doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine PLUS a booster dose by the seventh month following the final dose of the vaccine. 

In order to track those who are vaccinated, we ask that all vaccinated individuals upload their vaccination cards to their Member account at the following link:

CSI COVID Vaccine Attestation Form

Masks that fully cover the nose and mouth will still be required indoors at all times. 

Kiddush Lunch will continue to be served indoors, but eating or drinking may not commence until fully outdoors.

B’nai Mitzvah families will be required to manage and monitor their guests’ compliance. 

Signage will be posted at all building entrances and on the website explaining this policy.

As a community of faith, we trust and expect that all members and guests will honor this policy as you do all other policies and procedures of the building; including informing your guests. 

All services will continue to be streamed, and efforts will be made to engage with those who cannot be in-person.

FAQ:


Q - Why has the Board enacted this policy?

A - While the Board struggled with the decision, we acknowledge that it is a central Jewish value to preserve life and to protect the vulnerable from an illness that can be fatal to those with compromised health. 

Q - What if I choose not to be vaccinated?

A - We respect your decision, but ask that you not attend indoor activities in the building.

Q - Do I still have to wear a mask even though I’m vaccinated?

A - Yes.  Everyone is still required to wear a mask that fully covers the nose and mouth, at all times, when inside the building. 

Q - Do I have to get a booster dose in order to come to Shearith Israel?

A - Yes.  We ask that all eligible individuals obtain a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine no later than the eighth month following your second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine; or your single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

Q - How can I attend Services if I can’t come into the building?

A - Shearith Israel will continue to host services remotely via Zoom on weekdays and Sundays, morning and evening, and Shabbat morning services will continue to be livestreamed. These links can be accessed on the front page of our website. Outdoor services, which should resume with the warmer weather will be open to all, regardless of vaccination status.

Q - If I’m not vaccinated, when will I be able to return to the building?

A - At this time, we don’t have an answer to this question. 

Q - Will someone be checking vaccination status at the door?

A - We will not have someone checking status at the door; however, we do expect that all of our attendees will honor the policy which will clearly be stated in signage posted at the entrance to the building.

Q - My child’s B’nai Mitzvah is coming up. What do I need to do?

A - Please inform all guests attending in-person services that they need to be fully vaccinated, and that while in the building, a mask that fully covers the nose and mouth must be worn at all times. This should accompany notes that all men should wear head-coverings, that all cell phones should be silenced and put away during services and while in the building, and that photography is prohibited during services.

Our hope is that this policy will allow all of our Congregants and guests to feel comfortable while inside the building during this challenging time. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.

-Rabbi Kaiman, Jodi Salomon, Heidi Einhorn


 

Friday, August 27, 2021 - 19 Elul 5781

The CSI Medical Advisory Committee recommends the following for anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19:

  • That everyone be aware that symptoms of COVID-19 infection in vaccinated persons can be very mild and confused for allergies or a common cold. Please quarantine if you or any family member have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 until testing can exclude COVID-19 infection
  • Asymptomatic infections can occur, particularly in children
  • All parents who have children in a school where masking is not universal are at risk of becoming infected
  • Parents of unvaccinated children should avoid indoor, unmasked exposures to others outside their family unit, particularly if any symptoms exist
  • The home COVID-19 test kits can be very helpful. We recommend that every family attempt to obtain these tests for use when persons develop symptoms or if there is a high risk exposure, including those at school. The home tests include BinaxNOW by Abbott and the Ellume COVID-19 home test.
  • These tests are in high demand, availability is sporadic. There may be better availability at Walmart than CVS or Walgreens. (FYI, these stores typically restock in the AM). As of this morning, neither test is available on Amazon but the Ellume test (a bit more expensive) is available for mail delivery from Walmart.

The CDC’s updated guidelines advise that if you are fully vaccinated and have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you should be tested 3 - 5 days after exposure, and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result. The CDC's latest recommendations for fully vaccinated people may be viewed here.


 

Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 20 Av 5781

When our Matriarch Rivkah saw her betrothed, Yitzchak, from far away, she alighted from her camel and veiled her face before her beloved. 

We are always one step away from what’s next, but we never know for sure what “next” looks like. We have all learned this lesson many times during the pandemic. The CDC just updated their guidance to recommend universal masking indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission.

The medical team and some of our senior leadership met this morning and came to the conclusion that Shearith Israel will take another step forward into what’s next that looks just a bit different than what we had imagined. We hope to avoid even a single transmission event at Shearith Israel, in the interest of ending this pandemic as quickly as possible. 

For the time being, we are asking all people to wear masks for all indoor gatherings at Shearith Israel.

Because there is minimal risk of severe illness for vaccinated individuals, and because the vast majority of the congregation has chosen vaccination, much of what we are planning is remaining the same.

  • We still intend to have in-person, full capacity, traditional indoor and alternative outdoor services for the High Holidays this year. There will still be a live-stream option for the indoor traditional service.
  • We are not requiring pre-registration or limiting capacity for any service.
  • We still intend to move forward with in-person religious school to be held primarily outdoors, and as before, universal masking indoors.
  • No asks are required for outdoor gatherings.
  • Those leading services and reading Torah are exempted from mask wearing while leading if they are vaccinated. 

As always, we do not know for sure what is next, and we make our decisions based on the best information available right now. The world will change again, and we will adapt again in the future. 

For those of us who came to our sanctuary this summer to pray, sing, and learn together, we all were filled with the warmth and love of our community again. We never stopped caring and loving one another. We anticipate spreading that feeling of warmth and love in-person as we move into what is next. 

We may need to cover our mouths and noses a while longer for indoor gatherings, but we are grateful beyond measure that vaccines protect us enough that these gatherings of our loving community can happen.

Please join us in praying that our small contribution to ending this pandemic is joined by the whole world as soon as possible, and that we are strong enough to walk together into whatever is next.

-Rabbi Kaiman, Jodi Salomon, Nancy Gorod, Heidi Einhorn, Elliot Raizes, Jay Steinberg


 

Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 16 Sivan 5781

הֲשִׁיבֵ֨נוּ יְי ׀ אֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ וְֽנָשׁ֔וּבָה חַדֵּ֥שׁ יָמֵ֖ינוּ כְּקֶֽדֶם׃  

Cause us to return to you, Adonai, and we will return; Renew our days as of old! 
(Lamentations)

Over a year ago, we were all reminded that we are always walking without knowledge of what the future holds. All our plans were upended. I remember, at the beginning, all the conversations that tried to get our minds around how long this might last. Maybe we could imagine that a crisis would change Pesach, but what about the High Holidays? Can this pandemic really last that long? Gradually, we all adjusted to the pandemic world. Little by little, we adapted to a world defined by constant emergency. We got used to covering our mouths and noses, social distancing, and became experts at knowing when to mute and unmute in Zoom meetings.  

With deep gratitude to God and the scientists who worked day and night to develop safe and effective vaccines, we are able to plan for a future that brings back what we’ve missed during this time, bringing all that we learned with us. 

The new CDC guidelines specifically state that it is safe for fully vaccinated individuals to attend full capacity worship services without additional protective measures such as face masks and social distancing. Our medical committee confirms that these findings are scientifically sound. The Shearith Israel Board considered this guidance and adopted new protocols for our congregation.  

  • Masks and social distancing are optional for fully vaccinated members and guests
  • Masks are required for unvaccinated members and guests, including children not yet eligible for vaccination
  • Services will continue to be on Zoom until August 7th and then live-streamed for Shabbat and Holidays
  • The sanctuary will be used at full capacity, so registration is no longer required to attend services
  • There will be a designated area of the congregation that will be reserved for social distancing. In this section, masking will be required for everyone. 
  • As with all COVID-related policies, we will continue to monitor public health direction and make decisions with the support of our medical committee as needed

At the heart of these protocols is our belief that we are a community that loves, trusts, and respects one another as we all transition to the next chapter of our community together. As we have all year, we will continue to update these protocols as we learn more. Please do not hesitate to contact the office (404.873.1743) or Rabbi Kaiman if you have any questions about these new protocols

We all know that we’re moving forward at different paces, and we’ll need to have patience, compassion, and understanding. There are many reasons why a person will choose to continue practicing social distancing and face covering in our sacred spaces. Some of your Shearith Israel family will wear masks in solidarity with their children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Some of your CSI family will wear masks because they feel it protects them and others they love.  Some of your CSI family will wear masks because they are medically ineligible for a vaccine. Some of your CSI family will wear masks because they have yet to receive the vaccine.  

In all these cases and in all the cases that a CSI family member chooses to gather without masks and social distancing, we’re going to trust and extend compassionate understanding to one another throughout this transition time. 

Over the next 10+ weeks, it’s our hope, prayer, and expectation that Covid-19 continues to decrease in the Atlanta area. CSI will continue to provide hybrid services with Zoom for all of our prayer offerings during this transition time.

A Ritual To Mark Our Communal Transition:

August 8th is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the High Holiday season, marking one month before Rosh Hashanah. On this day, we are planning a ritual to mark the end of the emergency for the Shearith Israel community. It’s my hope that we all feel ready, and I’ll lovingly understand if it takes some of us longer.

The ritual will create intentional space for us to mourn all that we lost, and celebrate all that we learned. Additionally, it will mark the official transition away from interactive video-conferencing technology on Shabbat to a model of Live-Streaming our sanctuary service. Participants at home will still be able to see and hear all that happens in the CSI sanctuary from anywhere in the world, but we will no longer be able to interact during the service. We also intend that this ritual will mark a return to safely enjoying meals together with outdoor eating space.   

With appreciation to the thousands of people around the world who are working to beat this virus, and deep gratitude to the leaders of CSI who are keeping us together and supported, and unending gratitude to God for giving us sacred values and traditions that bind us together in love, 

Rabbi Ari Kaiman


 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 16 Iyar 5781

I am writing to share another update on the changing status of our in-person prayer experiences as a greater proportion of the congregation is vaccinated and we learn more about the nature of Covid-19.   

With transmission levels falling in the US, but still at what is considered a high level, we are in the position to cautiously make sensible changes without yet fully reopening. The clearest way for us all to return together is for every one of us to receive a vaccine as soon as it is available to us. As of right now, we have heard directly from about 60% of the eligible members on our CSI roster. Every single person we reach reports already receiving the vaccination, so I have reason to believe that our percentage of vaccinated congregants is much higher. If you haven’t yet reported your status yet, reporting now using this form helps us all feel safer together at shul. If anyone is hesitant and would like to speak to an expert from our medical committee, or just be heard by me, we would be happy to make the connection. 

Daily Minyan, Friday Night and Saturday Services

  • Congregants and community members are now able to come to the Shearith Israel sanctuary for all regular services beginning tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 29.
  • Instructions will be on the table on the Bima for using the lights in the sanctuary, the computer, and television.  

    — At this time, we are continuing “hybrid” services, and zoom participants are considered fully present in the minyan.  
    —  Participants in the sanctuary will count toward the minyan even if they are not visible on camera. 
  • Participants in the sanctuary should remain masked and distant from one another, following CDC guidance..  
  • Pre-registration is not required for these services.  

Shabbat Morning - Sanctuary Service

  • We are increasing the maximum capacity of the sanctuary to 55participants on non-B’nai Mitzvah Shabbatot and Yom Tov, starting May 17 - 18 for Shavuot.  
  • At this time, pre-registration is required for appropriate social distancing preparation and we encourage anyone who wishes to register to do so at this link

Shabbat Morning - Outdoor Minyan Ohalecha

  • Congregants under their tents are now permitted to daven unmasked, distanced and outdoors. 
  • Congregants should mask if choosing to visit in close proximity to one another.  
  • Pre-registration is still required via this link.

Our leadership is continually evaluating our practices, listening to our congregants, and attempting to anticipate the current best practices for the majority of our community. I recognize that we will move too slowly for some, and too quickly for others. I’m so proud of how this community has held together and supported one another through this pandemic.  

In this next phase, I encourage you to participate in all our offerings if you are comfortable to do so. Please, do not worry about staying home just to make room for someone else. Shearith Israel is here for you, and we thankfully have more than enough space for most situations.  

While we have many more steps to go before we are through this pandemic, I’m so grateful we are walking through it together.  

With love,

Rabbi Ari Kaiman


 

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 3 Kislev 5781

CSI Covid-19 Update - Avodah (Shabbat Prayer)

I sometimes wish that prayers alone would bring about the change we all wish to see. Despite our fervent prayers for the end of this pandemic, it seems that we are entering the worst phase of its spread so far.  

Our principles have not changed, we are still doing everything we can to prioritize life and do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.  What has changed is our knowledge of how to mitigate the degree of risk if we are scrupulous in following the guidelines of our medical team. Because of their thoughtful advice, we have begun to add more experiences of in-person community to our offerings.  

All of these offerings are conditional about the current state of spread in our  neighborhood. The country is experiencing exponential growth of the disease right now, and if we are not vigilant, we will likely need to pull back on these offerings.

  • Minyan Ohalecha: A talented team of lay-leaders are organizing in-person, outdoor Shabbat morning services every week. This past Shabbat was beautiful, and a very successful experience. Sign-ups are on our website each week. 
  • Hybrid Indoor Shabbat morning services: Our B’nai Mitzvah services have demonstrated that we are capable of safely distancing and including both our Zoom and in-person participants equally. We will be potentially expanding access to these types of services for different kinds of Shabbatot in the future.
  • Minyan Shelanu: Ori Salzberg is back on Shabbat mornings with an outdoor, social-distanced Minyan for our families. Sign up here for a musical, engaging service experience for families with school-age-children. 
  • Hybrid Outdoor Parking Lot Havdalah: Each week as darkness descends, a small group has gathered in the parking lot to say Maariv and Havdallah to welcome the work week.

We all need prayer in our lives. Prayer is good for the soul, and if we follow appropriate guidelines and respect each other’s risk tolerances, then prayer could even be good for our health.  

In gratitude,

Rabbi Ari 


 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 16 Tammuz 5780

The approaching three weeks leading to Tisha b’Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem, can perhaps give perspective on the challenges we face as Jews in this time of COVID-19.  Jewish life was uprooted with the destruction of the Beit ha’Mikdash and our people were scattered from Eretz Yisrael into the diaspora.  The rabbis, faced with loss of The Temple, the place essential to Jewish practice at the time, re-envisioned Judaism, placing Torah study at the center of religious life.  If the rabbis could remake Judaism in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, surely, we can adapt to the challenges of minimizing the spread of this lethal virus.  

Shearith Israel scrambled in March to continue prayer, education, social, charitable and pastoral missions without a physical building in which we could gather.  Following the halachic (Judaic law) reasoning of the rabbis of the Rabbinical Assembly, that in this extraordinary moment of she’at ha’dehak (dire circumstances), it was deemed appropriate in order to safeguard life (pikuah nefesh), to move prayer services online.  We’ve held morning and evening services online every day since, and will continue to do so until we are able to gather safely again.  Machaneh Shai and Minyan Shelanu programming for children and adult programs have moved online as well.  Ahavat Chinam charitable initiatives, the Chesed Committee and Chevra Kadisha continue their good and sacred work, modified to reflect the reality of social distancing.  Rabbi Kaiman continues to officiate at life events and to counsel members, and Rabbinic Intern Sammy Rosenbaum has added new responsibilities as well as filling in during Rabbi Kaiman’s family vacation this month.  The staff, under the leadership of Executive Director, Jodi Salomon, has remained dedicated and productive.  None of this is the same: not everyone is comfortable online; not everything can be done as well online; Internet access is an issue.  Yet, there have been some silver linings – surprise nuggets that will lead to more permanent innovations.  

Almost immediately after closing our campus, we began discussions of when and how to reopen.  A Medical Task Force composed of three infectious disease physicians and scientists was appointed to advise leadership about the conditions necessary for reopening and procedures that will support the best health outcomes when we do reopen.  Based on their expert advice, in May the Board of Trustees adopted a Plan for Reopening Shearith Israel (which was amended in June).  The plan, which has already been widely shared, includes five phases, moving from extremely limited access to our campus, to a gradual re-opening as conditions permit.  Each phase of the plan places a premium on safe health practices, as well as recognition that not everyone will be able to attend in person for some time.  The plan can be reviewed at: CSI Reopening Plan 2020.

A High Holiday Task Force, co-led by Robbie Medwed and Rabbinic Intern Sammy Rosenbaum has recommended primarily online prayer services and study, supplemented by a series of activities to take place in homes and neighborhood outdoor settings.  Some of the ideas in the report are quite innovative, including Shofar blasts in parks, Tashlich Docent Tours, Yizkor Memory Circles, and “Chag-In-A-Box” kits to support your home experience.  High Holidays 5781 will be different than past years; we are working so that at least some of the differences will be the basis of fond memories.

One unavoidable consequence of the COVID crisis has been our inability to move forward with many of the initiatives laid out in our Strategic Plan, adopted in February.  The pillars of the Plan in organizational health, gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness), avodah (prayer), Torah (education) and facilities, set out a rich agenda for the years ahead.  The Rabbi and Board are laying the groundwork now so that when the constraints of COVID are behind us, we can smoothly move forward with the plan’s objectives. 
    
The challenges of COVID are not as earth-shattering as destruction of the Temple, but they have nonetheless been substantial.  With children out of school and camp, college students unsure of their plans for the coming semester, salary reductions and job losses, our inability to travel or to visit family members in the hospital or in assisted living facilities, cabin fever and general unease about what lies ahead, we know that some of you may need a helping hand.  Our fervent prayer is that the shul and its members have been of assistance and comfort to you during these difficult months, but please, if there is anything else that our kehillah can do for you, please let us know.

We look forward to the time when we can gather again safely and raise our voices together in worship.   

B’shalom,

Faith Levy, President
Baruch Stiftel, Chair, Religious Life Committee
Rabbi Ari Kaiman

 

 

Monday, May 4, 2020 - 10 Iyar 5780

 
Shalom,
 

We are learning more all the time about how the novel coronavirus is spreading and the wide-ranging severity of the COVID-19 disease. The longer this goes, the more we miss one another's presence.

The leadership and staff of Shearith Israel are closely consulting with a very talented team of medical professionals who have access to the very latest knowledge and are part of the team shaping national guidance. As we work to develop CSI’s plan moving forward, we want to hear from you regarding your thoughts and concerns.

We are also coordinating with the city of Atlanta. Rabbi Kaiman is one of two representatives of the faith community sitting on the Mayor’s advisory committee for reopening Atlanta.

Together, we are creating a framework to guide our decision making as we move through the challenges ahead. The consensus is that we are not returning to the old "normal" anytime soon. We are moving forward to a new normal, guided by our value of protecting life and the advice of CSI's community of epidemiological and infectious disease experts. 

In the coming days and weeks, you can expect to hear more from us, and we want to hear from you too. Please email rabbikaiman@shearithisael.com to share your thoughts. 

With the blessings of health, and togetherness,

Ari Kaiman                     Jodi Salomon                       Faith Levy
Rabbi                             Executive Director                President 
 

 

Monday, March 16, 2020 - 20 Adar 5780

 

OUR VALUES:

Nothing is more important to us than human life. The threat of COVID-19 has already upended all our lives, and many members of the Shearith Israel community are either highly vulnerable, or are directly connected to those who are highly vulnerable to this virus.   

This illness is a proof of how our bodies and souls are more intertwined than we often realize.  There is only one way we can adequately protect all those connected to our community. 

Rabbi Kaiman and Jodi Salomon, Executive Director, in consultation with our leadership at Shearith Israel, the Rabbinical Assembly, USCJ, and experts at the CDC working on COVID-19, have some updated guidelines for the next phase of combatting this illness. 

As of today, the CDC is recommending that there be no gatherings over 50 people.

PROGRAMS & SERVICES:

Until further notice, Congregation Shearith Israel is suspending all in-person services and programs.

On Shabbat mornings with B'nai Mitzvah, close family of the B'nai Mitzvah, prayer leaders, and Torah readers will constitute a small minyan.  Others are asked not to attend these services in person. We are quickly working to enable livestreaming capabilties for these services.  

Many Conservative congregations are considering this a sha'at d'chak - a time that is a particular stress. One of Rabbi Kaiman's teachers in Jewish law, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, holds by this opinion. This legal category permits certain practices that would be normally be forbidden. The relevant example is forming and participating in virtual minyanim. 

Until we finalize our technology and plans in this matter, this is a link to many congregations that provide streaming of their services. I hope that Shearith is added to this list soon.

We are working to develop new ways to connect you to meaningful living through Judaism from afar. The challenges presented by this illness are an opportunity for us to innovate our prayer and study practice.  

MACHANEH SHAI & CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING:

Machaneh Shai, MASA, Kadima, USY, and other programming for children is included in our suspension of programming.  Nancy Gorod is working diligently with our teachers and staff to provide online learning.

IN-PERSON MEETINGS WITH CSI STAFF AND "DROP-INS":

All in-person meetings with staff should be conducted virtually, either by phone or video-conferencing software. The building is closed to drop-in appointments.  

SPIRITUAL CONNECTION IS POSSIBLE DURING ISOLATION:

We can still support one another

We are heartened by the many individuals and families who have reached out to offer support to one another. Rabbi Kaiman is working on a plan to help us connect to one another during this challenging time. Please reach out and call the synagogue or Rabbi on his mobile phone if you'd like to speak or have something to offer. We're all bound up in this together, and we'll all be stronger and better on the other side.

With Abundant Love,

Rabbi Ari Kaiman, Jodi Salomon, Faith Levy, and the leadership of CSI

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783