ALL OF OUR COVID-19 INFORMATION RIGHT HERE!
Welcome to Beth Israel’s special COVID-19 web page.
In the coming weeks and months, it is extremely important that we all remain connected to one another. This will be best done over the phone and online. This page will be constantly updated with important information about staying connected to the Beth Israel family.
COVID-19 Update – May 28, 2020
Dear Congregants & Friends,
Jewish tradition teaches that the value of pikuach nefesh, saving a life, comes before all else. Tuesday May 19th marked the beginning of the second phase of British Columbia’s restart plan. The plan includes the easing of restrictions and allows for gatherings of no more than 50 people.
Beth Israel’s COVID-19 task force has met, via zoom, many times over the last few weeks to decide how best to reopen the facility for its staff and congregation. We know our synagogue members are saddened that we cannot gather together for communal worship. We understand the disappointment when life cycle events cannot happen as planned. At the same time, the security and safety of our congregation, guests and staff is paramount. Keeping this in mind and based on the recommendations of our task force starting June 1st, 2020 we have decided to gradually re-open our facility. Here’s what this means:
- From June 1st onward, most staff will commence working from the Beth Israel offices.
- Staff may, at their discretion, conduct in person one-on-one meetings from the office.
- Congregants are able to enter the facility for administrative purposes.
- From mid-June, b’nai mitzvah may take place from the facility. Each family will be contacted by staff to discuss details including the option to zoom service.
- From mid-June programs for young kids, teens may take place in person.
- Weekday & Shabbat services will continue to be virtual for the time being.
In all the above instances we will abide by the provincial requirements of social distancing and a limit of 50 people in the facility at all times. We have been advised to wait and see how the next few weeks of phase 2 play out before starting in person services. Once we are ready to hold in person services we will also live stream them via zoom.
In preparation of a June 1st return we have provided training to our staff on new cleaning and hygiene procedures. We have installed a plexi glass divider for our receptionist to ensure social distancing, ordered social distancing floor signage and placed signage around the building about wearing masks, washing hands etc. But that’s not all. We also filmed a mock Shabbat service in our facility. This video is currently being reviewed by our task force so they can provide us with guidelines on how to handle ritual objects, aliyot, Torah reading etc.
We recognize that in other parts of the world gathering to worship has hastened the spread of Covid-19 and could jeopardize the progress of these long weeks of being at home. Hence we have opted for a gradual re-opening. Our goal is to ensure that we move forward slowly and evaluate each step before moving to the next. We believe that a slow open would be beneficial to our staff, congregants and guests while ensuring that those who do enter the facility are safe in the knowledge that we are following all guidelines as set forth by WorkSafeBC.
If you are concerned, worried, feel isolated or need to talk to someone please do call or e-mail us. We are here to listen and help in any way possible.
– Rabbi Infeld: firstname.lastname@example.org (604-288-7155)
– Rabbi Stein: email@example.com (604-731-4161 x 108)
– Esther Moses-Wood: firstname.lastname@example.org (604-731-4161)
– Helen Pinsky: email@example.com
For more information about this virus please click here
Our offices are still open and we continue to serve our Beth Israel family & the Jewish community at large. As always, please stay safe and stay healthy.
Chag Shavuot Sameach,
Helen Pinsky, President
Rabbi Jonathan Infeld, Senior Rabbi
Esther Moses-Wood, Executive Director
COVID-19 Update – May 26, 2020
Hope you are all still doing well and staying safe. Despite the fact that our physical premises are still closed, Congregation Beth Israel is alive and thriving. Our programs and services have been well attended, and thanks to the Rabbis and their phones, we continue to maintain strong connections to congregants.
Our COVID-19 task force has been active, and we have also created a special High Holiday Task Force to plan out various scenarios for the fall. The Rabbis and Esther have actively worked with other Rabbis and synagogue executive directors in the city, in an ongoing effort to create a unified procedure and protocol for when the synagogues re-open. Executive and Board members are also weighing in and helping develop strategy where possible.
Our last decision regarding the closure of the building was that we would remain closed until May 31. Here’s what we are now planning:
- Esther and our facilities manager Chuck are preparing a protocol for Beth Israel preparing to allow staff and members into the building. It includes cleaning, signage, washroom hygiene, sanitizer stations, and allowable numbers of building entries. At this stage, food will not be included as an option.
- Events will take place only after they have been rehearsed thoroughly in advance. Those who are seniors or immune-compromised will be discouraged from putting themselves in situations involving crowds i.e. they are not encouraged to attend events in person.
- We will strictly follow all health authority guidelines and the guidelines that are accepted by the Jewish community organizations.
- The synagogue will slowly re-open for one-off events, such as small gatherings for b’nei mitzvah, teen USY end-of-year event, and perhaps kids programming. As much as possible, these events will occur outdoors on the Boxer Family Plaza.
- We anticipate the first events to occur in mid-June, but only when we feel that we can keep people safe, and as long as the province remains on the same track that we are currently on.
You will hear more about this as time goes by, but I want you to have a good idea of what we see in place for the summer.
Thank yous and stay safe
I can’t emphasize enough to you what a wonderful, efficient, caring and creative team work at Beth Israel. Rabbi Infeld, Rabbi Stein, Esther, Debby, Rabbi Bluman, and so many others have been working harder than ever to make the transitions smoothly from human interactions, to virtual everything, and back again to some hybrid form of human – virtual connections, so that we can all stay safe. This is a tough time for all of us. We couldn’t do it without out team pulling together so well.
We need the comfort and contacts of our shul community, and we also need to feel protected. I hope that we are striking the right balance for you and your families. We always appreciate your feedback and input. Please don’t hesitate to contact the office, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and a meaningful Shavuot – the time of giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai – next week.