Oct 14, 2022 / 19 Tishrei 5783
Dear Mount Zion Community,
It was a blessing to be together with all who attended services in person for the High Holy Days. At this stage in the pandemic, it takes effort to rekindle the habits of physical connection, but doing so is good for our souls and for our community. We are also grateful for our online technology to allow hundreds of households to join us remotely.
As promised in our last letter, the Covid Task Force revisited our policies after Yom Kippur and have decided: beginning this Sunday, October 16, Mount Zion’s indoor mask mandate will shift to a mask-optional policy. We will no longer require the use of masks at Shabbat services, life-cycle events, or in the religious school, and food service will resume indoors.
Why this change in our policy? The community level of Covid-19 is currently “low” in the Twin Cities according to the CDC. For this reason, the Covid Task Force has determined that a mask-optional policy is generally safe given the current pandemic status, the commitment of Mount Zion congregants to be vaccinated, and other remaining policies outlined below. The task force will continue to monitor the pandemic and may revisit the mask policy if the Covid community levels change.
Masks are still welcome if you prefer. Covid continues to pose a risk to people in our community, including those who are older, unvaccinated, or immunocompromised. A mask-optional policy means that we support the use of masks to protect yourself and others, especially in higher risk settings like crowded indoor events. As always, it is important that we respect congregants’ individual choices, which includes mask choices.
These Covid safety measures will remain in place:
Vaccinations: We teach the value of pikuach nefesh, saving life, and from that principle we learn that having up-to-date vaccinations, including boosters, is a mitzvah (commandment) in Judaism. (Still need a booster? Click here.)
Enhanced ventilation and air filtration continue to be a priority throughout the building when possible.
Feeling sick? Please stay home if you’re experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 (CDC list of symptoms). We ask anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 to stay home for at least 10 days after symptom onset or date of the positive test AND be antigen-negative on a rapid test.
Online Access: Our services and other events will continue to be accessible remotely via Zoom and/or livestreaming and Facebook.
Throughout the past two-and-a-half years, Mount Zion’s staff, clergy, lay leaders, and members of our congregation have worked to protect the health and wellbeing of our whole community. This will remain our focus into the future as we all monitor and watch for changes.
We are looking forward to being together and we wish you good health and a feeling of community connection.
Shabbat shalom and chag sameach!
Michael Wall, President
Julie Ostrowsky, Chair, Covid Task Force
Larry Solomon, Executive Director
Sue Summit, Religious School Director
Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi
The Opening Task Force members (with their expertise): Julie Ostrowsky, Chair (epidemiology); Ian Ellis (corporate facilities manager); Phil Goldman (legal, OSHA/industrial hygiene); Dr. Gary Kravitz (public health, infectious disease practitioner); Joan Ostrove (inclusion and accessibility); Hannah Siegel (community public health); Neil Segal (operations, Ames Center performance venue); Michael Wall (President), Shai Avny, Larry Solomon, Sue Summit, and Rabbi Spilker.