Friday, March 13, 2020 – 17 Adar 5780
We want to give you an update about COVID-19 and its impact on our congregation and community.
As we have just heard from Governor Murphy, it is inevitable that schools will be closing. Furthermore, in the desire to “flatten the curve” to have a better control of this pandemic and meet the needs of those who succumb to the virus, it is strongly recommended to limit or cease our gatherings at Temple Shalom – worship, classes, outside groups, committee meetings, and the like. Let us be clear, we have no knowledge of anyone in the Temple Shalom family testing positive for this virus. Aside from practicing common sense hygiene as well as keeping a safe distance from others, we are trying to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Because the health and well-being of our synagogue family is our utmost concern, we are putting into place proactive measures to protect the most vulnerable population as defined by the CDC. After deliberating thoughtfully and at length with the rabbi and leadership, as well as with medical advisors, we have decided to proactively take the following steps in the weeks ahead. We are of course monitoring all developments in real-time and any updates to these measures will be published via email, on our social media channels, and on our website.
Tonight’s Shabbat service will be available as a virtual religious services via our live-stream on our Temple Shalom Facebook page. Anyone is welcome to attend services in person, as we will practice proper precautions. All services will be Visual Tefillah so there is no transmission from touching prayer books.
Those who are participating virtually may access a free version of the siddur here.
As a result and after much thought, deliberation, and in the best interests of our congregants, families, and staff, we have made the difficult decision to suspend all on-site temple operations, effective after services tonight, Friday, March 13, 2020. We plan to re-open the building on Friday, March 27, 2020. If we need to reevaluate this date, we will keep you informed. On occasion, you may see people coming and going from the building to perform essential services.
Shabbat Morning services will not stream unless it is a b’nai mitzvah service.
There will be NO RELIGIOUS SCHOOL of any classes until Sunday, March 29th. We will let families know of alternative learning as soon as it is ready.
B’nai Mitzvah tutoring will be done one-on-one via Skype or other methods with Cantor Carla – she will be in touch with you.
Torah Study will follow the same protocol – those who wish to participate in Torah Study virtually may do so using Skype – send a message to Rabbi Malinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will connect you.
All adult learning classes will be postponed in-person until further notice. We are working to provide both streaming and recording options for learning and will keep you informed about our progress.
LIFE CYCLE EVENTS
At this time, all lifecycle events will continue including baby namings, and bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals.
At this time, private events will continue with increased measures to protect guests and Temple’s staff.
Leadership among Temple’s wonderful auxiliary programs, including Brotherhood and Women of Temple Shalom, YMCA Pre-School and other small groups that meet, will be in touch with their constituents regarding protocol.
Rabbi will continue hospital visits via telephone and Facetime.
Faith in Judaism means believing that things WILL be alright, even if darkness makes tomorrow’s light hard to see. Please know that Temple Shalom’s commitment to caring for one another – especially our rabbi and staff – remain accessible to you at any time for any reason. Call 732-566-2621 for rabbinic or pastoral assistance and we will reach back immediately. Please note that Rabbi and Temple Staff are planning to be at the Temple to address our needs during these challenging times. Any congregant that has concerns or needs guidance, please let us know.
Make no mistake about it – Temple Shalom has survived many challenges without the medical advances we presently enjoy. All will be fine, it will just take time before this pandemic is under control. Above all else, we will do everything within our power to support each of you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. How blessed we are to be in the same extended family of Temple Shalom.
Shalom re’fuah u’vracha – wishing you peace, health, and blessing after blessing,