Thursday, March 12 | 16 Adar 5780

The health and safety of our community is on everyone’s mind and remains the highest priority of everyone at Beth Emet. As we shared last week , we are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of illness at Beth Emet. To that end, we have assembled a task force comprising medical professionals and others with relevant expertise. The task force will help us navigate these uncharted waters and will partner with our staff to determine how best to adjust practices and make smart, well-considered decisions in light of any new information about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are committed to being diligent and thoughtful in all our decision making while continuing our essential mission as a congregation. Of course, this is a very fluid situation and, as conditions change, we will adjust as quickly as necessary. 

At this time, we have made the following decisions in light of the advisories from reputable health organizations that social distancing is a significant way to decrease the spread of COVID-19. We know that the following changes in our schedules will disappoint some, but we ask for your patience and understanding as we try to ensure the safety and health of our members and the well-being of our community. Most importantly—and we cannot underscore this enough—if you do not feel well or believe that your health is compromised, please do not come to Beth Emet. We are offering ways in which you can access programming and services from home so you can stay connected.

  • Beit Sefer: There will be no Beit Sefer today (Thursday) and Sunday (March 15). We will assess early next week whether Beit Sefer should remain closed.
  • Purim Carnival: There will be no Purim Carnival this Sunday. We will bring Purim magic to your homes on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. Watch the website for more information about how to livestream.
  • Adult Education classes: Adult Education classes will meet in person, but you will also be able to access our adult education classes remotely. We will email instructions as to how to access classes remotely.
  • Shabbat Services: We are making the following modifications in our Shabbat observance.
  • We will hold Shabbat services, but will exercise caution. We ask that everyone respect the social distancing policy that is being encouraged by public health authorities by keeping an empty seat between each person. Kabbalat Shabbat services will be on Friday at 6:30 pm and Kahal Shabbat morning services and the Shabbat Minyan will meet at 9:30 am.
  • For those who do not wish to come to Beth Emet to observe Shabbat, we are offering livestreaming via Facebook
  • We will NOT have an Oneg Shabbat on Friday evening and will offer challah and grape juice and wine served by a member of our staff who will be properly attired with gloves. 
  • We ask that everyone wish a Shabbat Shalom with an elbow bump or by another creative expression.
  • Weekday Minyan: We have cancelled the weekday minyan for this Sunday.
  • Mitzvah Appeal event: We have postponed Tzedekah & Tzpirits with Cantor Cotler. Watch your email for a rescheduled date.
  • Annual Meeting: We have postponed the Annual Meeting and dedication of the TJM Courtyard and the Menorah Lobby. Watch your email for a rescheduled date.
  • Early Childhood: At this time our Early Childhood program will remain open.

In our commitment to transparency, we also want to let you know that a member of the Beit Sefer faculty, while asymptomatic on Sunday, has since developed symptoms that resemble many viruses, including COVID-19. The individual’s doctor has not yet recommended testing, but we have notified the Beit Sefer community. We have also been in touch with the Illinois Department of Public Health and are monitoring the CDC to ensure that our cleaning protocols are in keeping with best practices and aligned with the recommendations by the public health authorities. 

We are also concerned about the emotional and spiritual well-being of everyone in our community.  We know that healing is more than a physical matter. When we pray the Mi Sheberach , we ask God for a healing of spirit as well as body. The reduced human contact, the cancellation of activities that feed our souls, and the concern about contracting COVID-19 can have a profound emotional toll on all of us. We also recognize that the social isolation of those who are not feeling well or who have self-quarantined because of concern that they may contract COVID-19 can be great. We all need the support of our community and the wisdom of our tradition during this difficult time.

If you have self-quarantined or are sick, are feeling isolated or are in need of emotional support, please be in touch with Rabbi Memis-Foler so that we can offer ways to stay connected and lift each other up spiritually and emotionally. Our community and our tradition can provide us with much-needed support, and we want to be there for each other. We show our concern and love for others when we are in touch with friends, family and those affected, in quarantine, or in high-risk groups. And we can care for ourselves by asking for support when we are feeling vulnerable, worried, and/or are physically sick. Let’s take care of each other in all the ways we know best. 

We pray for refuah shleimah —a healing of body and soul for all those who are suffering. May God grant us well-being, patience, and compassion during this precarious time. Please be in touch should you have questions or if we can be of assistance.

Rabbi Andrea London
Karen Isaacson, President
Bekki Harris Kaplan, Executive Director
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