Each of the past two Sundays, Sharon and I have had the amazing opportunity to be a part of our Temple Sholom virtual community as we sat with our kids and participated in school-wide
on Facebook Live. The music wasn’t always familiar to us, though it is becoming increasingly so, the spirit of togetherness and appreciation for what we have, not what we do not have, was pervasive and a real testament to how our team at Temple Sholom is adapting to our new normal.
I have said, to anyone who will listen, that our team is the best and is showing its true colors in this challenging time. I love that while the building is closed, Temple Sholom remains open. This is a message that resonates and comforts...and is a much-appreciated bit of normal in this very abnormal time. When I reflect on what we are doing, I cannot tell you how proud I am of not just the professional team, but our volunteer team, too. So many Temple members answered the call to join our newly formed
Squad, reaching out to our community to check in on their well-being, make them aware of our virtual
services and Adult Education opportunities or simply be a caring voice on the phone.
Part of what enabled this transition to a virtual community is that we have had plans in place to move in a more technologically driven direction. Coronavirus (COVID-19) simply accelerated these plans. Part of our Strategic Initiative is to make more programming available virtually, including Friday Night
and Saturday Morning
live via the Temple Sholom Facebook Page and the Zoom meeting platform, and other ways of streaming meaningful worship, classes and speakers. On Thursday, March 19, our Executive Director, Jeremy Perlin, reported that the temple has installed a new phone system which enables congregants to call the Temple’s main number and listen to services taking place in the Sanctuary. Many other upgrades are in the works – ones that you will hear about in the coming weeks and experience once on-site programming resumes.
As we announced mid-March, we couldn’t be more excited to have Rena Singer officially agree to join us as our next Assistant Rabbi upon her ordination in May from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). She will join Temple Sholom July 1, 2020. We also heard recently that ARZA won the World Zionist Congress Election! This is fantastic news for the Reform Movement and a huge thank you to Jon Siner for coordinating our effort as Temple Sholom’s Congregational Captain
As we look forward to Passover, we remain steadfast as a community committed to making things happen.
We may be uncertain how they will happen, but through our faith and collective sense of caring, they will happen
in order to help us maintain that needed sense of normalcy in a very uncertain time.
As always, our clergy, lay-leaders, staff, volunteers, and I are here for you during this time. I encourage you to stay connected either through Rabbi Conover’s daily
, held at 3:00 PM via
or by checking our website
, for updates.
Meanwhile, with Passover beginning in just over two weeks, our clergy have put together a remarkable list of everything you can possibly need to make and have seder at home! Please pay special heed to the letter from the Chicago Rabbis to resist the temptation to go out to have seder with friends or family. Stay safe and healthy!
A Few Choice Links for Your Virtual Seder
From your Temple Sholom Clergy Team
Chicago Board of Rabbis Statement on Seder in Place
Shopping List for Seder Essentials
Link to Rabbi and Fran Rossoff Passover Cooking Class
Join Temple Sholom for our Virtual 2
Night Community Seder
Union for Reform Judaism Tips for Virtual Seder
Find a Seder
A Detailed Guide to Hosting a Seder by Rabbis Scott Gellman, Rachel Heaps, and Chase Foster
URJ Guidance Judaism Under Quarantine