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Dear Congregants,

The value of preserving individual and communal health is of the utmost importance in Jewish ethics and Jewish law. Decisions made to protect human life and well-being – known in Hebrew as pikuach nefesh – are so weighty that they supersede nearly every other religious statute. In accordance with this priority, and in keeping with the most recent recommendations of the CDC, the Central Conference of American Rabbis issued a resolution last month clarifying that every eligible and qualified member of our community is morally obliged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This resolution makes it clear that each one of us must do all we can to preserve the health of our synagogues, our cities, and our nation. As we have since the early days of the pandemic, our congregation’s leadership remains focused on your safety and continues to follow the guidance provided by our medical advisors and local and national government agencies. Their guidance, coupled with promising vaccination rates and other local data about COVID-19 activity, has allowed us to safely make the following general and specific changes, which will begin implementation on June 11:

 
VACCINATIONS
  • All congregants and visitors attending Emanu El events who are eligible to be vaccinated, including those making informal visits to our facilities, are expected to be vaccinated. Simply stated: if you are not vaccinated, you are not safe and you may put others at risk. Additionally, if you have a condition that weakens your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you have been vaccinated.
  • If you have any concern about in-person attendance or visits, please consult your physician for guidance before attending indoor events, or before deciding to stop wearing a mask or social distancing.
  • While we highly encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated, we realize that not everyone will be able to do so. If you are not vaccinated, for your personal and others’ safety, please consider attending meetings, events or worship services remotely.
  • Children under 12 and those not fully vaccinated should continue wearing masks and observe social distancing while attending programs and services at temple.


MASKS
  • In alignment with the above vaccination policy, masks will no longer be required at either indoor or outdoor events for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • While no longer required, we certainly understand that some of you will choose to wear a mask and respect your decision to do so.


WORSHIP SERVICES
  • Attendance will no longer be limited. Further, it will no longer be necessary to register in advance or undertake health screenings prior to entering the sanctuary.
  • Congregational singing will once again be permitted at services.
  • The plexiglass barriers on the bimahs will be removed.

LIFE CYCLE EVENTS & MEETINGS
  • Attendance will no longer be limited.
  • Certain events or meetings may have capacity or advance registration requirements as in the past. These restrictions will be communicated separately as part of specific instructions for the event or meeting.

HYBRID (MULTI-ACCESS) SERVICES, EVENTS OR MEETINGS
  • We realize that virtual attendance has become popular and we plan to continue virtual options whenever possible. Such options will be communicated separately as part of specific instructions related to the event.

FOOD
  • Oneg Shabbat receptions will resume later this summer.
  • When food is served during or after a worship service, event or meeting, we will follow all health and safety guidelines. These guidelines will include masked and gloved servers and limits on table sizes.

We are pleased to be moving forward toward the full resumption of in-person worship and events at Emanu El. The implementation of this final phase will take place over several weeks. As always, we will continue to actively monitor pandemic trends and the most up-to-date scientific recommendations as they evolve. Details about High Holy Day worship will be communicated later this summer. As updated guidance is available, we will be prepared to make appropriate changes, while always prioritizing your safety and our Jewish value of pikuach nefesh.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.

Regards,

David Lamden, Executive Director
Jeri Amundsen, President
Oren Hayon, Senior Rabbi

Sun, June 20 2021 10 Tammuz 5781