TIC Update 3/12
March 12, 2020

Dear Friends,

As a synagogue, we are in the business of building and sustaining sacred community.  Yet our tradition calls upon us to uphold the principle of pikuach nefesh - saving human life - a mitzvah (commandment) that takes precedence over almost everything else in Torah.  "Choose life," it says in Deuteronomy 30:19. Even when it is not pleasant or convenient or when it comes at the expense of other deeply held values, we are always to put safety first.

We are currently living in a reality that calls for social distancing and limiting of gatherings.  It is with deep concern for the members of our own congregation, and a sense of moral obligation to protect the greater community, that we thus issue the following guidelines.  We realize these measures are unparalleled and uncomfortable. However we will continue to find strength in one another, and we must have the courage to make dramatic changes during a time of unprecedented risk to protect ourselves and the well-being and health of the larger community.

New Guidelines:
  • In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, government authorities together with public health and clinical professionals are strongly discouraging social interactions.  As a result, TIC is ceasing all in-person activities, both inside and outside of the TIC building. Prayer services, pastoral activities, learning, community events, and meetings of all types will be held using online or telecommunications technologies, when possible. 
  • Please daven in your homes and refrain from any self-organized minyanim. 
  • TIC will not hold any public services or celebrations for lifecycle events. 
  • Shiva visits should be replaced by phone/video calls.
  • Funerals should be restricted to a small group of family members and a minyan.
  • TIC encourages people not to gather in groups for any non-essential reason . This includes not praying together, not learning together, and not gathering together for Shabbat meals. This also includes not going to entertainment events or any non-essential activities where contact with many others is likely. 
  • TIC staff are working remotely and will continue meeting the needs of our congregants through their remote access until the building is re-opened. 
  • TIC will remain closed through at least Sunday, March 22. 
While we would like to provide a clear sense as to when TIC will reopen, we don't yet know and may not have a definitive answer anytime in the near future.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely, make decisions in the best interest of the health and safety of our sacred community, and provide frequent updates.  What we can say at this time is that TIC will remain closed until it is deemed safe to congregate. Rest assured, before re-opening, we will take extra precautions and the building will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected according to government guidelines.

The speed with which events are unfolding leaves us all unable to predict what news tomorrow may bring.  Our staff and leadership are at the forefront of creating opportunities for virtual engagement for those at every age and stage in our community.  Please watch for Rabbi Tucker's Erev Shabbat message tomorrow with ideas for celebrating Shabbat at home and for a communication early next week with a (virtual) program schedule for March 15-22.  The success of our online gatherings so far gives us optimism that we will be able to continue to connect in meaningful ways, even while physically apart. We hope to see you online! 

We are thinking of you at this very anxious and difficult time and are available to be of help in any way.

Be well and stay safe,

Marc Berman                  Rabbi Annie Tucker                 Mara Braunfeld              Jeremy Perler  
President                         Senior Rabbi                            Director of Learning     Security Chair   
                                                                                                     and Engagement                                                                  
Yael Slonim
Executive Director