March 18, 2020: Congregants, please click HERE to complete a short survey to help us plan coronavirus support for our community. Thank you!
Click HERE for live stream/zoom options for virtual services & study sessions and other resources for this time.
CLOSINGS (as per NH State Emergency Order #16, prohibiting gatherings of 10+ people through April 6, 2020)
- Shabbat Services (Friday & Saturday): Cancelled
- Tuesday Minyan: Going virtual! See the Live Stream page for current Zoom links.
- Hebrew School: Virtual program
- Early Learning Center: Virtual program
- Temple Office: Still open, hours may vary. The office voicemail message will be updated as needed.
Update from Amy Hyett, Temple President, 3/17/20:
We’ve sent updates in recent days about the cancellation of services, classes, and events, reacting to the swiftly moving flow of information and warnings about the coronavirus. We want you to know that Temple Israel’s leadership, staff, and rabbi are working to find new ways to connect with you and for congregants to support one another.
Rabbi Ira Korinow will be hosting an informal conversation via Zoom for Hebrew School students and madrichim (parents are welcome to listen in!) tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parents, please watch your email for a message from Elian Tackeff with the Zoom link and password.
If you don’t have a Zoom account, you can download the app for free at www.zoom.us
Rabbi Korinow will also host a session for adults on Thursday, March 19, at 8:00 p.m. Click on this Zoom link to access it. The meeting password is 623843.
Given that using the temple as a physical space for people to gather, worship, learn, and connect with one another is not advisable at this time, the board is reaching out to ask how else can temple staff and resources best serve you? How can leadership and staff facilitate congregants helping one another?
Please click on this link to complete a short survey asking for your input on these questions. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, and patience as we navigate the challenging weeks ahead.
Update from Amy Hyett, Temple President, 3/13/20:
We have been watching the news as many schools nationwide are closing, Broadway has gone dark, the Boston Marathon has been postponed, and the world of professional and college sports has shut down. We have been reading article after article, all of which advocate social distancing so that we can “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread of the Covid-19 virus. While New Hampshire has not yet called a state of emergency, we feel that it is coming and want to be proactive, not reactive. So, with a heavy heart, we have decided to cancel services, Hebrew School, and the Early Learning Center through March 29. Please note that this includes cancelling the Hebrew School Kabbalat Shabbat service.
We have formed a medical advisory committee with doctors and public health experts in the community and we look to them to continue to provide recommendations. We will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and we will remain in touch.
Though we are limiting in-person programming, we are not closing. The office will still be open (hours may vary; the voicemail message at extension 10 will be updated with alternate schedule information). Be on the lookout for online programming and communication from Head of School, Elian Tackeff, about what students can do from home to continue their learning.
As we said, the decision to shut down all activities is made with a heavy heart. We do so because, as Jews, we have responsibility to make that decision. In the Torah (Deuteronomy 30:19) it states, “I set before you this day life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants.” The rabbis used this verse to establish the mitzvah of “pikuach nefesh,” “the saving of a life.” Preserving life supersedes every other mitzvah. Whatever we can do to slow down the spread of Covid-19, we are compelled as Jews to carry out.
Many synagogues and havurot around the country are offering live streaming of their services and learning sessions. This is a wonderful opportunity to check out alternatives! We will send a list of links in a separate email.
These weeks are anxiety-ridden and scary, and we want you to know that you are not alone. Please reach out to Rabbi Ira or to me at any point if you need help of any kind, including a friendly conversation. One thing we can all do is open up our membership directories and place a few calls to check in on one another.
A couple of notes:
- Our TIP Board meeting will be held in person next week, in the Social Hall with lots of personal space.
- We are exploring alternatives for the Community Seder. Please stay tuned.
- Please see our website for additional resources and updates: http://www.templeisraelnh.org/
As always, please follow CDC guidelines to keep yourself and your families safe.
Amy Hyett, Board President
Rabbi Ira Korinow
From Amy Hyett, Temple President, 3/12/20:
We are lucky at this moment to have only five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our state, even as we realize that number will likely grow. We continue to look to the CDC and New Hampshire Health and Human Services for guidance. If you are in a high risk group (i.e. an older adult or someone with a chronic medical condition), please review the CDC’s recommendations and act accordingly to keep yourself healthy and well: https://www.cdc.gov/
Despite the low number of cases in our area at this time, out of an abundance of caution, we have made some decisions that we hope will prevent the virus from spreading through the congregation.
- The Purim carnival on Sunday is cancelled. While the carnival is a wonderful celebration of Purim and community, it is not essential to our observance of the holiday in the way that reading the Megillah is. Given that the carnival by its very nature involves crowds of people mixing together and children handling many small objects in order to play games, we decided to cancel it to decrease the chance of sharing germs.
- Hebrew school will run 9 – 12 on Sunday morning.
- Onegs following Friday night services and kiddush following Saturday morning services will be cancelled for the rest of the month of March. Communal gathering and socializing are at the heart of what we do and how we celebrate Shabbat. However, for the sake of public health, it is our responsibility to practice social distancing and to avoid spreading germs by eating in close proximity.
- At this time, we are still planning on having the Hebrew School Kabbalat Shabbat service March 27 as scheduled, but the dinner beforehand will be cancelled.
- Services will be held as scheduled, but only in the sanctuary. Please sit with space between your family and others. Please wash hands after entering the building and use the hand sanitizing stations located throughout the building. The sanctuary is being cleaned after every use.
- When attending services, please refrain from touching the Torah with your hands, tallit, or prayerbook. We invite you to take a kippah home and bring it with you each time you come rather than returning it to the communal bin. You may also take home a Sim Shalom siddur to carry with you when you attend services rather than using/returning the prayerbook to the holders in the pews. Please also refrain from kissing prayerbooks, humashim, and mezuzot throughout the building.
- Hebrew School and Preschool will be held as scheduled. School classrooms are cleaned after every use. While the risk of children getting seriously ill with COVID-19 is quite low, we do not want kids spreading the illness to their older friends, family, or teachers, some of whom are more at risk. Please keep your children home if they are sick, coughing, or sneezing. If they have a fever, please wait 24 hours after their fever subsides before having them come to school.
- When you come to the temple, please avoid physical contact. This one is particularly hard for our community as so many of us are accustomed to greeting each other with hugs or handshakes. For now, break out your jazz hands or a big smile and nod.
Best wishes as we continue to navigate this uncharted territory together. I will continue to send you updates as conditions evolve.
Amy Hyett, Board President
From Amy Hyett, Temple President, 3/5/20:
Over the last several days, we have been closely monitoring local and national recommendations in order to respond to COVID19 – the Coronavirus. At this moment, we do not plan to limit our community’s celebrations but we are working hard to be proactive instead of reactive, and we do plan to follow the guidelines set by our local and national organizations. We feel that it is better to err on the side of caution, and to perform the mitzvah of propagating public health, even though the virus has not yet made its way to the Seacoast.
As of March 4, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has the following recommendations:
“The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced travelers from countries with a Level 3 travel alert are to be advised to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the United States. Travelers from countries with a Level 2 travel alert are to be advised to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. “
In other words, if you have traveled to a Level 3 country (China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy), please stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you have traveled to a Level 2 country (Japan), please monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
As of March 5, the Jewish Federations of North America echoes following the CDC’s recommendations and also has additional resources to peruse if you are interested. Please click blue button below for link.
We are a close-knit community that invites personal connection. However, we suggest the following to reduce our collective risk:
- If you are sick, please stay home from the synagogue until you are well.
- Please practice good personal hygiene. As a reminder, there are hand sanitizers throughout the building and soap in the bathrooms. As you know, the most effective way to clean one’s hands is by thorough hand washing.
- Please limit personal greetings to “elbow bumps”, bows, or other gestures not involving physical contact. No hand shaking for honors, hugging or cheek to cheek greetings.
- Please wash hands before touching temple kippot and tallit.
- At events with food, use serving spoons and not your personal cutlery, don’t “double dip,” and take a fresh plate when you go back for seconds.
As you all know, this is a fluid situation and our recommendations may change. Be prepared, and stay tuned for continued correspondence on this issue.
Amy Hyett, Board President