הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד
Hinei mah tov umah na'im shevet achim/achyot gam yachad
Behold how good & pleasing for us to sit together in unity. ~Psalm 133
Dear Shir Tikvah,
How good it will be to sit together once again! In study, in prayer, in song, in justice work, in caring for one another—in all the ways we gather to make Shir Tikvah. How good it will be to be in one another’s physical presence as we emerge from this wretched pandemic to be together!
Today, we share plans for a phased return to in-person gathering and a phased return to gathering in our building. We center around our Jewish values, our commitment to each other, and our commitment to our staff. These cause us to emerge a bit slower and more deliberately than some businesses or individuals might choose, but our responsibility is to the entire congregation. We present here a plan we believe will help us ultimately return to full strength and live into our values of inclusion, health, and access at the center of our decisions.
Our Gathering Policy:
- We will offer opportunities for in-person indoor worship.
- All Shabbat and High Holy Day worship will also be offered via livestream, giving everyone the opportunity to join us.
To attend in-person indoor worship, all who are eligible must be fully vaccinated (meaning a minimum of two weeks post-vaccination).
For clarity, those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons and young children will be able to attend, as they are “not eligible” for the vaccine. We will re-evaluate for young children as vaccines become available.
We will ask everyone who joins in-person for indoor worship to sign a covenant that states you are vaccinated (if eligible), and outlines the importance of trust and responsibility to each other at this moment. The covenant will be part of the registration process and is being developed by rabbis, staff, and members of the Shir Tikvah Board of Trustees.
Our Indoor Gathering Guidelines:
These will be reevaluated as we move through the Fall and new information becomes available.
- Because we imagine some may not be eligible to be vaccinated, masks are required for all except for service leaders while speaking/singing.
- Attendance caps will be based on approximately three feet of physical distance, and to maintain 12 feet from where rabbis or lay leaders will be singing to attendees.
- While higher risk, we know we cannot always keep ourselves from singing when together. And so we name this risk, and ask for your help by refraining, humming, or singing quietly.
- We will not offer communal eating through 2021 and we will reevaluate any appropriate changes for January of 2022.
Our Phased Initial In-Person Plans:
Life Cycle Events
Clergy have begun officiating at outdoor, off-site funerals and weddings.
Starting in August, B’Mitzvah ceremonies will be held in the sanctuary. We expect to welcome up to 50 attendees.
Starting on August 6, 2021, Shabbat services will be held at Shir Tikvah, whether indoor or outdoor has yet to be determined. We expect to allow up to 50 attendees if indoors. More information and sign-up guidance will be shared. We will strive to honor the idea that all may have a chance to participate once before others participate twice.
High Holy Days
High Holy Days 5782 programming will include a combination of in-person and virtual offerings. We will hold in-person Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services at St. Joan of Arc. We expect to welcome approximately 200 attendees at each service. We will also offer individual Torah encounters at Shir Tikvah, Shofar in the Park, opportunities to join a Chavurah, and more! We are currently creating a sign-up system that meets our values. We will share updates as available, and sign-up information by mid-July.
We will offer specifics on the Jewish Academy for Moral Imagination, our religious education program for children and families, and Adult Education in-person gathering later this summer and as available.
Thank you, our intrepid, brave, faithful community. The past 16 months of this pandemic have tested each of us as individuals and our community as a whole. We thank you for your compassion, your kindness, your patience, and your trust as we navigate a world we never imagined.
May we sit together, each of us, in peace, soon.
Bruce Manning, Board Chair
Alison Olig, Executive Director
Michael Adam Latz, Lead Rabbi