We have all been living under this pandemic for nearly 15 months, and I realize that it has been hard on us as individuals and as a community. Aside from the obvious suffering that Covid has caused, life for all of us shifted rapidly, and we lost access to many of the things that have always been important to us.
Here at Temple, we have done our best not only to help protect the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of our community … but also to explore new ways to make Jewish tradition accessible and relevant during these strangest of times.
Through it all, we knew that eventually we would turn the corner, and society would begin opening back up. Well, that has not only started to happen – but it’s happening quickly! As a result of much better-than-expected vaccine results, both the CDC and the State of Michigan have updated their Covid guidance. And as we have done from the beginning, we took that guidance and discussed it with our Temple’s Medical Advisory Panel, leaders from other local congregations, a variety of national organizations … and eventually our Board leadership.
I am excited to let you know that we are ready to host our first in-person Shabbat service at Temple since last spring … June 4th at 7:00 pm, which will be our Summer Kickoff Shabbat. It will be an outdoor service, just like we have enjoyed for many years, and it will also be one of our fabulous Music Shabbat services, featuring our Music Shabbat band!
Our plan is to have outdoor Summer Shabbat services every Friday night at 7:00 pm throughout June, July, and August. While we are moving forward, we will also maintain certain precautions:
- The pandemic is not over! So if you are not feeling well, we request that you join us virtually from home.
Our updated policy for outdoor events at Temple states that masks are voluntary for anyone who is fully vaccinated; if you have not yet been vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask.
- We understand, of course, that children under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet – so in addition to wearing masks, we are happy to set aside seating areas that are not as close to others.
- In case of bad weather on any Friday during the summer, we will move our service into the Sanctuary. If we do so, we will inform worshipers about our most updated protocols inside the building.
Equally important, I want to assure you that our virtual service on Friday nights – which has been attended by HUGE numbers of people throughout the pandemic – is staying right where it is! Every Friday night, even when we are outside or eventually back in the building, we will be streaming the service on www.tbelive.org and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tbeonline/live). Although our setting is changing and there will be congregants with us in person, we plan to maintain the high quality, authentic, and engaging virtual experience that you have experienced throughout the pandemic.
If you have any questions about Summer Shabbat or our general Covid procedures, please feel free to reach out to Danielle Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. And whether it is in-person or on-line … we look forward to seeing you for a phenomenal Shabbat on June 4th!