TIC Update 4/7  
April 7, 2020
Dear Friends,

It feels a bit strange to wish one another Chag Sameach - a Happy Passover - at this time when our world continues to be filled with so much anxiety and suffering.  "How is this night different?" is not a question that we need to ask around seder tables this year; the answers are manifold and obvious. And yet along with so many things that are not the same this Pesach, primary amongst them the inability to join in person with treasured family and friends, how many things are also exactly as they always are: the words of the haggadah, the bitter sting of the horseradish, the smell of matzah ball soup, the sounds of our favorite seder songs, the sense of being part of a tradition that is wise and rich and meaningful and that connects us throughout time and space with people that we care about. The outer trappings may be so very different this year, but the central messages of the Passover story - the enduring value of freedom, the impact that can be made by people of courage and faith, the importance of family and passing traditions down from one generation to the next, the always abiding spirit of hope that has carried our people for millennia - these ideas remain exactly the same.

As our thoughts turn towards the upcoming holiday, we wanted to share a brief status update about our synagogue:

Temple Israel Center will continue to operate virtually as long as needed to help ensure social distancing. We are following government directives closely and will return to the building when it is safe to do so. We will continue to provide updates on our status as more information and guidance become available.

Guidelines:

While TIC remains closed, we will continue to follow the guidelines below in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We realize these measures are uncomfortable, however we will continue to find strength and fortitude in one another. We have a moral obligation to protect each other as well as the greater community, and we must have the courage to make dramatic changes during a time of unprecedented risk.
  • TIC has ceased 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 conducted 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.
  • The New York Board of Rabbis continues to update its guidelines on funeral practices to ensure that burials are safe for both mourners and clergy. Rabbi Tucker and Rabbi Isenberg will have the most recent information available and are always here to consult with families in times of need. 
  • TIC encourages people not to gather in groups for any non-essential reason.
  • TIC staff are working remotely and will continue meeting the needs of our congregants through their remote access until the building is re-opened. 
We know that this is a challenging time for everyone amidst uncertainty and an increased sense of isolation and vulnerability. We are thinking of you and are available to be of help in any way.

As we spoon sweet charoset on Wednesday night and eat hard-boiled eggs that represent new beginnings, as we dip green vegetables that remind us of spring and conclude with the iconic words "l'shana habaah," may all these icons of hope help bring to us a spirit of blessing and perhaps even joy this Pesach. We will be thinking of you!
 
As always we remain TIC - together in community, 
 
                   
Marc Berman                     Rabbi Annie Tucker                 Mara Braunfeld                   Jeremy Perler  
President                             Senior Rabbi                            Director of Learning          Security Chair   
                         and Engagement               
         
               
Yael Slonim
Executive Director