July 30, 2020 / 9 Av 5780 
Shalom Friends, 

We know that everyone is interested in an update on the efforts of our Reopening Task Force. Over the last two months, Temple Beth-El's lay leaders, Reopening Task Force and staff have explored in great detail how our community can safely observe the High Holy Days and begin the new program year.
 
After careful consideration, we have concluded that we will be continuing in a virtual format for the foreseeable future, including our High Holy Day observances and the opening of religious school. As we considered the measures that would need to be taken to allow for safe in-person gatherings, we came to see that they would negatively impact our ability to offer meaningful worship and educational experiences, necessarily exclude certain segments of our congregation and, at the same time, potentially expose our community to imprudent health risks.
 
Throughout the process of making these difficult decisions, we were guided by the Jewish values of Pikuach Nefesh (safeguarding life), Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh (taking responsibility for one another), and Chesed (love and kindness), together with health and science data. Federal, state and local guidelines provided a framework for our decision making but did not direct us to a particular conclusion. Lastly, we believe in the enduring value of worshipping together as a community; a hybrid model that would allow for a capacity of no more than 25% to be physically present at any given time would make this impossible.
 
Making these decisions now affords us the time to plan and implement innovative approaches to the High Holy Days and other worship, religious school, adult learning, and other programming. Our goal, as always, is to offer meaningful and spiritually fulfilling worship and substantive and engaging educational experiences for our children. In the coming weeks, we will share more information about the opportunities that lie ahead. 
 
We understand that many of you may be disappointed by these unprecedented changes to our cherished modes of worship and learning. We appreciate and thank you for your support as we address the challenges imposed by the pandemic and will remain in touch as the situation continues to unfold. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our clergy and lay leaders and professional staff with questions or to share your concerns.  
 
 
Warmly,


Rabbi Arnie Gluck

Leigh Miller
President


Andrea Bradley
Chair, Reopening Task Force

 
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Temple Beth-El 
67 US Highway 206, Hillsborough, NJ
Phone: 908-722-0674  |  Fax: 908-429-1418  |  Email: info@TempleBethElNJ.org
www.ourbethel.org