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Shabbat Services

Update about In-Person Davening - 12/8/20

Dear Friends,

As a shul, throughout the pandemic we have sought to strike a balance between the imperative to protect life, and the importance of being able to gather for prayer and other communal activities.  During the past several weeks of increased infection in our community and the nation as a whole, we deemed it prudent to suspend in person services, in spite of the fact that we had strong protocols in place to minimize the possibilities of COVID-19 spread in our services.

After a period of reduction in cases locally, Bais Abe's COVID-19 committee, which includes staff, lay leaders and Infectious Disease specialists, has approved a plan for resuming in-person activities, with some slight adjustments to our previous COVID-19 protocols.

The new protocols are as follows:

We will be spacing chairs even farther apart. In order to accommodate the increased distance, attendance at any indoor event will be capped at 18 adults.  This number is sufficiently large that those who do not count towards a minyan should feel free to attend without fearing that doing so will interfere with our chances of making a minyan.

Because of the limit on attendance, prior registration is required. If you don't register ahead of time (by noon Friday for Shabbat services), we may not be able to accommodate you. You can register on the website below.

Children under 12 do not count towards the limit, but should only attend if they can adhere to the requirement of wearing a mask, and can remain at their seat together with an adult from their household for the duration of services. In addition, children with any symptoms whatsoever, including congestion or runny nose, should not attend services.

We will no longer have a greeter taking temperatures or asking screening questions in person, as the risk due to exposure to the greeter outweighs the benefits of the temperature checks.  However, screening questions will be posted prominently, and we ask that no one enter the space unless they can answer "no" to all the screening questions.

Although as a policy we have discouraged singing along with the shaliach tzibbur, this has not always been strictly enforced.  When we reopen, there will be no singing at all, except by the shaliach tzibbur. To minimize risk of spread from the shaliach tzibbur, leyners and those making announcements, the shtender where davening and leyning will take place will be at an increased distance from other attendees and those leading services will continue to wear a face shield in addition to their face masks.

As always, please do not register or attend if you cannot answer "no" to all of the screening questions found on the Bais Abe website.

As always, masks must be worn and a minimum distance of at least 6' between people must be maintained at all times while at Bais Abe.  Please do not approach within 6' of anyone outside your household bubble to speak with them even briefly.

Our indoor space is very well-ventilated. However that is still not as safe as an outdoor space.  Therefore, whenever the weather is forecast to be above 50 degrees and dry, we will hold services outside.  If services are going to be held outside, we will announce that in the shmooze or in a separate email prior to Shabbos.

As always those who are able to should make every effort to use the restroom at home, prior to arriving at Bais Abe.  The restrooms at Bais Abe are closed, and available for emergency use only.  Anyone who does have to use them must follow the restroom use protocols, posted in the restrooms to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

If you refer to the graphic here, based on an article which appeared in the British Medical Journal, even indoor group activities can be low-risk if they are well-ventilated, people are well-distanced, everyone wears masks, and there is no singing or yelling involved.  Our protocols are designed to ensure that services at Bais Abe present the minimum risk possible. However, there is no such thing as a zero risk group activity.  Everyone should make their own decision about whether to attend based on their own vulnerability to COVID-19 (or contact with those who are vulnerable to COVID-19) and tolerance for risk.

I look forward to seeing many of you in shul once again soon, and I pray that the day comes soon when this pandemic is safely behind us and we can all gather again together in person.

Rabbi Garth Silberstein

Because of the limit on attendance, prior registration is required. If you don't register ahead of time (by 1 pm Friday for Shabbat services), we may not be able to accommodate you. Thank you for your understanding.


Sun, April 11 2021 29 Nisan 5781