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Update from Your Re-Opening/High Holiday Task Force

 Update from Your Re-Opening/High Holiday Task Force

Sustaining Our Traditions, Building New Beginnings

To every thing there is a season…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted… a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing… (Ecclesiastes 3)

Dear Synagogue Emanu-El Community:

We hope this note finds you, your family, and your friends safely enjoying summer. We want to provide an update on the work of our Re-Opening High Holiday Task Force, which has now met twice this month, led by chair Al Hawkins. Working with this group of lay leaders, medical professionals and staff has been rewarding, as they reflect such care for all who are connected with Synagogue Emanu-El. Below are key areas the group is looking at, and in some instances preliminary determinations. Please know that our goal is to be transparent and careful in our planning, seeking to meet your needs safely in the coming months.

Covid 19/Health Response Levels: The group has developed a working document which establishes specific and leveled responses based on current information and goals around re-opening our building. We will be sharing this document in the July scroll. During July we expect to slowly increase activity with careful precautions. 

Minyan As First Step/Outdoors Over Indoors: Our Minyanaires have missed the opportunity to gather in person, and this is the first in-person, weekly program that will return. With the leadership of Mitch Gilbert, we are developing plans to begin holding afternoon Minyan outdoors.  The Task Force, based on medical guidance, chose to start with outdoor programs as the safest option with a limited number of participants. Based on the evolving situation with COVID 19, we are currently planning for the first date to be Tuesday July 7th at 5:00 pm. Sign-up will be required and details will be shared soon.

Enhancing Virtual Experiences: We are driven by the Jewish virtue of inclusion of the entire community, including those who may not be able to worship in person at present. One of the key areas the group has addressed is ways to expand our virtual offerings to include internet streaming of services and programs. While details are still being worked out, Gabe and Joe  are gathering information for review. Our hope is to enhance virtual programming and social media use to allow engagement beyond in-person experiences, allowing a greater on-line presence for Emanu-El during these difficult times.

Health Precautions: The committee has reviewed specific protocols and personal protective materials which will be required for in-person programs. Based on the most recent health information, we are pursuing purchase of these materials and establishment of these protocols. We will share more soon about these precautions.

New Ideas and Innovation:  In today’s world, necessity is the mother of innovation. Incoming Rabbi Evan Ravski, Daphne Hubara, and Bob Greenberg have also begun to discuss new programming ideas for Shabbat, the High Holidays, and beyond. We plan to continue to meet the challenges of the day with meaningful experiences, social connection, and Jewish learning. In the coming weeks and months we plan to build on the successful Shavuot experience to invite you to engage in our rich traditions in new ways.

It bears repeating that our community is more than just a physical space, but also a communal gathering of caring people. We want to thank each of you for being a vital part of Synagogue Emanu-El. We also want to thank the Task Force members for their continued commitment of time.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or ideas around the new beginnings that lay before us.



Craig Browdy, Congregation President

Evan Ravski, Incoming Rabbi

Bob Greenberg, Executive Director

Thu, July 9 2020 17 Tammuz 5780