Dear Shir Chadash Community,
On Monday, June 22, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a pause in the state’s reopening, keeping the current Phase 2 rules in place for another 28 days, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His words – “the virus isn’t done with us” – are a stark reminder of the significant impact of the virus; and, they reaffirm the imperative to keep our synagogue healthy and take a gradual, phased and deliberate approach to the resumption of in-person religious services. We have written previously that planning has been underway for weeks. This communication will give you another update.
As we look to the future, two things are important. One is to take into account the needs of everyone in the community and the other is to follow our Health Committee’s recommendations, CDC guidelines and information from the Louisiana Department of Health.
We recognize there are varied opinions and emotions about reopening Shir Chadash. Some would like in-person services to resume immediately while others are anxious about coming together in person even with strict social distancing. We are working to strike a safe balance between these two viewpoints.
Since mid-March, we have provided extensive and vibrant ritual and program offerings online, which have been well received by congregants. If you have not had a chance to participate, come check us out! You will be spiritually fulfilled and enriched.
What are we doing?
So far we can report that:
- Shintee and Ervin have been cleaning and disinfecting the entire building,
- Ricardo is developing health and safety procedures for staff and congregants and has reconfigured the sanctuary to allow for social distancing,
- Sarah has secured signage for the building,
- Rabbi Silver and the Ritual Committee are adapting the Shabbat morning liturgy to ensure that we minimize exposure to possible health risks while we pray, and
- We are continuing to discuss and research technology to enable halachically permissible attendance in as many ways as possible.
We realize it has been difficult and painful not coming together for communal prayer. However, be assured we are taking steps to do so safely at some point in the future.