I’m happy to let you know that as the number of COVID-19 cases nationally and in our region continue to decline, we will be resuming our in-person option for Shabbat morning. For the immediate future our Shabbat morning services will be “hybrid”, meaning that you can participate in person or on Zoom. Zoom participants will be counted as part of the minyan and can have an aliyah and chant Torah or Haftarah. If you are saying Kaddish, you can also fulfill that obligation over Zoom. However, the Torah service will take place only if there are at least ten adult Jews physically present in the Sanctuary. Additionally, the Shaliach Tzibbur, the person leading the service, needs to be physically present in the Sanctuary.
This is also our first in-person service since the hostage-taking at the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. We have been working with the Secure Communities Network to improve our security procedures for Shabbat mornings and therefore we are asking everyone who plans to attend to register in advance. While I understand that it might be inconvenient to ask people to sign up in advance, the registration form actually serves three distinct purposes: it helps us with security (this is more significant for people visiting services from out of town); it helps us to do contract tracing in the event someone present at services subsequently tests positive for the virus; and it helps us determine whether or not we are likely to have a minyan for the Torah service.
The sign up sheet for this coming Shabbat is here:
The Ritual Committee will be meeting tonight to go over a few open questions about the conduct of the service so I will have another update Wednesday morning. On Thursday night the “Contemporary Jewish Controversies” class discussed the future of worship in America and if you are interested, the video of the class can be found here.
As a reminder, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has established a Ukraine Emergency Fund to meet emergency humanitarian needs. You can find out more and donate here.
The Masorti Movement, which unites Conservative Jewish communities throughout the world, has been very active in Ukraine for quite some time. A prayer for peace in Ukraine is available here in both Hebrew and English.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian