Good afternoon everyone,

Our Covid Response Team met last night to discuss and fine tune our protocols for the High Holidays. As you know, the situation is changing rapidly and we want to be sure to make our decisions are based on the latest science and what is currently happening in Maine. There is still much we do not know, but we have adjusted our protocols to reflect our values of community and safety.

In brief:

* All attendees at in-person services who are 12 or older must be fully vaccinated. Anyone under 12 may come to services if they have received a negative Covid Rapid Test either the afternoon before or morning of services (Parents, look for a more detailed email later today).
* Masks must be worn at all times when inside unless speaking from the bimah. If those speaking from the bimah prefer to remain masked, they may keep their masks on.
* During services, we ask that you sit with those in your immediate family/pod. Chairs will be spaced apart initially; when you come into the sanctuary, scoot chairs together for those in your family in order to create more distance between groups. You are welcome to spread out across the sanctuary.
* Lastly, we ask that you not sing or read prayers loudly. There will be some communal chanting, but please keep your voices low. Our services will be less participatory than usual.

Other notes:

* We will be handing out a limited number of readings for congregants to lead. We will ask readers to speak from the bimah so our Zoom participants can see and hear you. Please do not take a reading if you do not want to come up to the bimah.
* The shofar will be sounded outside while we remain inside. On a lighter note, it's turkey season, so perhaps we'll see them spooked by the call of the shofar!
* After services you'll have a chance to be served some food and sit outside to eat. Please bring your own chair if possible (e.g. a collapsible camp or lawn chair) and sit distanced from those not in your family group. If you want to socialize (and we know you do!), please put your mask back on before catching up with friends.
* If you want a mask break, we'll have audio (and maybe video) of the services available under the tent outside. Feel free to take your prayer book with you and exit out the back door if you need a break. Note that our services will be shorter than usual this year.
* We encourage everyone to wear masks at tashlich and second day Rosh Hashanah services. Both of these will be held outside.
* Almost all of our services are available on Zoom. If you are not feeling well, please be sure to join us online!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

While we certainly wanted to be in-person as usual this year, we are nevertheless grateful for these opportunities to gather together, as well as for how Zoom allows us to connect with those who cannot attend in person. While the Lipman Kiddush will look a little different, we'll still be able to enjoy a bagel together as in years past; this venerable tradition remains a vibrant part of the High Holidays at TBE. We'll hear the sound of the shofar, taste apples and honey and have a chance to begin our year together with familiar melodies and familiar faces.

Wishing you a shanah tovah,

Cree Krull, TBE President
Rabbi Erica Asch