Dear Fellow Congregants,
The novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic was first identified nearly two years ago. Through this time of unprecedented challenges, our congregation pivoted, again and again, to best serve and ensure the safety of our wonderful community.
For the past five to six months, declines in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths enabled our congregation to relax previous pandemic protocols. Today, unfortunately, Arizona wrestles with a worrisome surge in these metrics due to the delta variant. That the proportion of the Arizona population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains significantly lower than many other US States has led to soaring hospitalization numbers locally, where the vast majority of severe cases and deaths are occurring in unvaccinated individuals. Though infection may still occur with vaccination, the likelihood of severe illness, hospitalization, and death is considerably lower after vaccination.
The Jewish position on this is unambiguous. The unanimous position of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly (on which past Or Tzion Rabbi, Nate Crane serves) has clearly stated that it is a halakhic obligation for Jews to vaccinate themselves unless their doctors determine that it is dangerous for that specific person to be vaccinated due to a pre-existing condition.
Throughout the pandemic, the Congregation Or Tzion Covid Committee, made up of diverse community leaders and stakeholders including medical professionals, has provided guidance as our congregation seeks to best serve our members safely. In light of these emerging data, the committee offers these specific guidelines, recognizing that these recommendations are subject to change as more information becomes available.
- All eligible individuals are strongly encouraged to receive full vaccination for COVID 19.
- Masks are required for all individuals in-person at indoor Or Tzion activities and services.
An individual on the bimah wishing to remove their mask while actively participating in the service must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 24 hours. Testing kits are available at most drug stores or online. Please contact Nicky Spivak with specific questions regarding testing.
- There will be no indoor meals or snacks at the Or Tzion campus. After Shabbat morning services, a minimal ‘take-and-go’ kiddush/snack will be provided. Seating will be made available outside, to enable people to eat and socialize outdoors.
Please reach out to any of the committee members with questions or concerns.
The Congregation Or Tzion COVID Committee