Dear Rabbi Zemel:
We all agree that it is too soon to consider holding in-person events of any size at Temple Micah for the foreseeable future. We recommend that Temple Micah continue to hold all events online, and that we re-evaluate circumstances later this fall.
We are all tired of the restrictions that we are facing, and we all share the “itch” to get back to Micah and to our “normal” lives. But the three of us know that without the masking, handwashing, and physical distancing we have all been dealing with, we would have tens of thousands more fatalities than the horrendous number we have seen to date.
We are mindful of and share your commitment to the health and safety of the Micah community as your top priority. We are in agreement that for now there is not a safe way of navigating the return to in-house worship or to in-person Machon Micah. We are all involved with or aware of organizations and groups that are either (1) opening too soon and having to backtrack to virtual gatherings or (2) postponing major events for a year or so. We do not want Micah to have to backtrack.
We could invest a lot of thought and resources into creative ways to bring people back to temple and in-person learning, signups for socially distanced services, handwashing, cleaning, testing, etc. But honestly, the risk of this many people in a small indoor space with the addition of singing (would we really want to remove that?) is not, in our minds, worth the risk of transmission. In the end, we would undoubtedly regret it and have to return to all virtual.
We wish we had more optimistic thoughts on this, because we would all love to sit in our beautiful sanctuary and sing and pray together. But the risk is too high, in our view. We agree that we need to wait until:
- We see how the anticipated second wave of the COVID-19 crisis is going to impact us this fall and winter
- We see what happens when the flu season ramps up
- We are confident in a vaccine that has been proven to be safe and effective
Even if we have to remain virtual for many months to come, it will have been worth it. We will have done everything in our power to keep our community safe. It sounds like eternity, but we are a long-lived people. We are not talking about forever.
We look forward to our discussion with the congregation on September 9th.
With our best regards,
Dr. Manya Magnus
Dr. David Skorton
Dr. Richard Katz