July 9, 2021

Dear Congregants:

The COVID-19 public health crisis has dramatically altered our lives since March 2020. Yet in recent months, we have been heartened greatly by the development of multiple vaccines helping to mitigate some of the most disastrous effects of this global pandemic. Becoming fully vaccinated and showing continued caution (particularly when in larger crowds) have helped so many of us remain safe and healthy. Together with Fairmount Temple’s medical advisory team, we have been updating our temple’s approach to COVID-19 safety while keeping a cautious eye on (a) the plateauing number of persons becoming fully vaccinated here in the U.S. and in Ohio and (b) the significant rise in cases that are infecting vaccinated individuals due to the Delta variant to COVID-19.

Still in mid-June, we reopened the Fairmount Temple Early Childhood Center after a 15-month closure. We know you’ll be happy to hear that the summer camp for the Early Childhood Center is going very well and we are enrolling new students for the fall and there are still many openings as we rebuild our student body. Help us recruit preschool aged students! Share the word publicly about our Early Childhood Center and be in touch with Jane Mayers here about helping future early childhood families enroll their child or grandchild.

In addition, our Fairmount Temple Religious School has begun enrollment for the fall with the anticipated return to in-person learning. There remain some faculty openings in terms of the Lower School (Pre-K thru 6th grade) and if you or someone you know might be interested in being part of our dynamic, forward-thinking Lower School faculty, we urge you to be in touch with Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum here. If you have questions or would like to connect with Rabbi Muhlbaum about our Lower School, please reach her by email here or with Staci Cohen, our Upper School (7-12th grade) Director, here.
At this time, one of the most critical things you can do to help us return into in-person activities at Fairmount Temple is to become vaccinated and to encourage others you know who are eligible to become vaccinated as soon as possible. As a commitment toward this end, on July 14 and August 4, from 4-8 pm, we at Fairmount Temple are hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics in coordination with the Jewish Family Service Association (JFSA) and other area Jewish institutions.  There are also vaccination appointments available at the Mandel JCC on Sunday, July 11 and at Congregation Shaarey Tikvah on July 19. These vaccinations are available to anyone in Ohio eligible to receive the vaccine. Our vaccination clinic will take place inside the main entrance of Fairmount Temple in the Spiegle/Sukenik Atrium and the Simon Lounge. You can reserve appointments for either our COVID-19 vaccine clinic or those to be held at other institutions here.
If you have concerns about the safety of the vaccine or question whether or not you really need it, please reach out to your physician. We assure you that COVID-19 remains a very serious threat that is not over. Indeed, it is advisable to continue wearing a mask indoors when in close contact with those who may not be vaccinated, particularly in crowded areas or when you anticipate more than a few minutes of potential exposure.
With all of this information in mind, please note the following important updates to our reopening plans at Fairmount Temple.

  1. Beginning during the Hebrew month of Elul (the month leading to the High Holy Days), we will reopen the facility for all who wish to attend in person Shabbat evening services. The first Friday of Elul is Friday, Aug. 13 and so that evening at 6:15 pm we invite you to join us in person. Please note: all persons will need to be masked during these indoor Shabbat Evening Services. There will be sections designated in the Mandel Sanctuary and Bonda Chapel for those who wish to have social distancing and others designated for those who are comfortable worshiping in a more open seating environment. Again, masks will be required at these Shabbat services, whether you have been vaccinated or not. Please note: There will remain virtual streaming and viewing options for those most comfortable connecting with services safely from their homes.
  2. During the upcoming High Holy Day services, September 6-7 (Rosh Hashanah) and September 15-16 (Yom Kippur) our facility will open for worship those who wish to attend in-person Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. In addition, beginning with our Selichot Penitential Prayer service on Saturday evening, Aug. 28, weather permitting, there will be several of our High Holy Day season worship offerings available outdoors in a tent on our grounds. We also have designated indoor back-up locations for such services if weather or other conditions do not allow the tent to be appropriate for the service. For the services that take place outdoors, masks will not be required. However, all indoor High Holy Day Services and programs will require individuals to be masked, whether you have been vaccinated or not. There will be sections designated in the Mandel Sanctuary and Bonda Chapel for those who wish to have social distancing and other sections designated for those who are comfortable worshiping shoulder to shoulder. Again, please note there will be virtual streaming and viewing options for those most comfortable connecting with services safely from their homes.
  3. The same rules will apply to upcoming lifecycle events such as B’nai Mitzvah, weddings and funerals, and we will keep these rules in place for the foreseeable period ahead. We promise that we will notify you if and when we loosen or tighten any of these COVID-19 and other health and safety related procedures related to indoor programs at our facility.
  4. We ask for your patience as we work on plans for the virtual streaming and viewing options for Shabbat, High Holy Day and Lifecycle services. A technology task force, appointed by our temple leadership, is working very hard to upgrade our currently dated and insufficient WiFi capabilities in the building. Over the coming weeks, we will also be testing various models for participation virtually in our Fairmount Temple’s worship, educational, social action and caring community activities. Some of our Shabbat services will use Zoom and others live-streaming from Fairmount Temple as we test various models and plan how to gradually upgrade the technology in our facility once we re-open to in-person worship and religious school. There will be further updates in upcoming publications and emails on previous in-person experiences such as Wednesday morning and Shabbat morning Torah study, Shabbat morning minyan, Caring Community kitchen gatherings, Women of FT and Men of FT events, youth group activities, and other social programs.
  5. The planned gala event to celebrate the outstanding tenure of our colleague, Cantor Laureate Sarah Sager, has been postponed to Sunday, June 12, 2022. We anticipate being able to enjoy an incredible event next spring with optimal attendance and participation. So please hold the evening of Sunday, June 12, 2022, when our grateful synagogue will truly come together and honor our extraordinary Cantor Laureate Sarah J. Sager, celebrating her career while raising critical support for Fairmount Temple.

On behalf of our entire senior leadership team and our Fairmount Temple Board and Executive Committee, we extend to you our wishes for a healthy, safe and joyful summer!
Robert A. Nosanchuk, Senior Rabbi
Vladimir Lapin, Cantor
Elle Muhlbaum, Associate Rabbi

P.S. The important changes described above allowing for in-person worship beginning August 13 with required masks inside our building represent our most optimistic plans to date since the onset of COVID-19. Our medical advisory team, clergy and senior leadership team, each reserve the right to update and add further restrictions to protect the health, safety and well-being of those attending Shabbat and holiday worship at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. In the coming weeks, you will receive more specific information about our worship and program offerings and technological means to connect with them as you wish. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Shabbat Evening Services
Friday, July 9, 6:15 pm
Shabbat Service
This virtual Shabbat Evening Service will be led by Cantor Lapin and Rabbis Nosanchuk and Muhlbaum. The theme of our Shabbat service will be Standing at the Threshold. This will be the first Shabbat service since the July 1 beginning of the tenure of Rabbi Elle Muhlbaum as a new member of our clergy team and captain of our education team.
Friday, July 16, 6:15 pm
Shabbat Service
This virtual Shabbat Evening Service will be led by Rabbi Nosanchuk and Cantor Laureate Sarah Sager. Cantor Sager will share a teaching and a conversion blessing for Melanie Abramof. It is a special privilege to be a community bearing witness to a person becoming a Jew by choice. We encourage you to join us

June/July Bulletin
For Preschoolers

Saturday, July 10, 10:30 am, Popsicles on the Playground. Preschoolers and their families are invited to enjoy some popsicles and play on our Darcy Alter Playground!
RSVP to Jane Mayers, Director of our Early Childhood Center, here.

Friday, July 23, 5:30 pm, Outdoor Simchat Shabbat for our preschoolers and their families. Bring a blanket or chairs for a short and fun service with Cantor Lapin and Rabbi Muhlbaum.
RSVPs requested to Elizabeth Kleckner here.

Music Together returns to Fairmount Temple - Outdoors!! This music and movement summer class is for children from 0-5 years old and runs for six weeks with Tuesday and Sunday options available. Learn more here.
A Jewish Guide to the End of Life Discussion

On Wednesday, July 14, at 6:30 pm, members of our clergy and Wendy Jacobson, Caring Community Coordinator, will lead a virtual discussion to answer questions and talk about a stage of life that all of us will someday face. The discussion ties in to the new booklet recently mailed to our members. If you didn't receive the booklet, please let Wendy know when registering below and she'll send you a copy.
For more information or to RSVP for Zoom link, contact Wendy Jacobson here.