For the last several weeks, our COVID-19 taskforce has met weekly to assess, evaluate, and fine-tune our phased reopening of Etz Chaim Synagogue. The taskforce has invested a significant amount of time in carefully deliberating the next steps. We have been committed to having a communal space where people connect to G-d and each other with the medium of Tefila without compromising public safety.
As you are likely aware, the number of people not only testing positive for COVID-19 but also hospitalized has increased in Jacksonville. This disturbing trend is a source of great concern. For this reason, we are going to pause any additional relaxation of protocols for people attending minyan. It cannot be overstated about how important it is to adhere to the protocols of safety that are required in the shul. While we recognize that wearing a mask may be uncomfortable, it dramatically reduces the transmission of the virus being spread. The requirement to wear the mask is incumbent upon you the ENTIRE time you are in the building. Please do not remove the mask at any time that you are in the building, even if the minyan has not yet begun or already ended. Additionally, we respectfully ask that no one congregates in the lobby or parking lot.
We implore you in the strongest way possible to adhere to all the safety protocols and policies in the interest of ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם. May G-d protect our community in this difficult moment, and may we emerge from this challenge in good health in body and spirit!
Scot Ackerman, M.D. Rabbi Yaakov Fisch