President’s COVID-19 Message #6 & Survey Results Overview

Dear Friends,

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our survey (over 100 members!). I would like to update you on its results and our plans for moving forward as we strive to manage risk and promote inclusion in services and activities.

The survey gave us some amazing data to digest and some very clear direction.

Most everyone who responded stated that what they miss most in this post COVID-19 landscape is being together as a community, especially when they imagine the High Holidays differently this year. Congregants stated that they would miss:

  • Simply being in the physical presence of the Jewish community
  • Being part of the community, and seeing people that I only get to see at High Holidays, and maybe the annual meeting.
  • Seeing everyone from the community and hearing the speeches
  • Seeing people in person, singing with the room full of voices, sharing a journey together
  • The feeling of chanting and singing as a community.
  • All the Torahs being out during Kol Nidre prayer; physically being in a Jewish community; my tradition of walking to shul for Yom Kippur; hearing shofar; kids’ services, etc.

This collective longing for community is shared by the Board and the Re-imagining Committee. And it is time to make our way back to the temple and to in-person gatherings, however we can. Those who participated in Rabbi Ira’s goodbye car parade were lifted up by seeing each other in person, masks on and all.

However, the community is clearly divided in terms of their preferences for HOW to move forward. Close to half the respondents stated that they would prefer to attend services at temple even with restrictions including mask wearing and no singing. The other half said that with these restrictions in place, they would prefer to take part in a virtual service. What this demonstrated to us is that we must provide a multitude of offerings so that there is something for everyone.

One comment that struck me was the following: “Services in the Sanctuary are always better than Zoom, but I support the Temple in all ways. If you never take the first steps, you will never go anywhere.” With this thought in mind, the Re-imagining Committee met Monday evening via Zoom to discuss the survey results, recommendations from many sources, and to formulate next steps:

  1. While we acquire appropriate signage and cleaning protocols, the building will be open “by appointment.” Feel free to contact Heather if you have temple business in the building. Starting in July, Rabba Kaya will be holding weekly office hours at the temple and you will be able to reach out to her for an appointment also.
  2. Mark your calendars for Sunday morning, July 5, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. We will be holding a “Welcome Rabba Kaya and welcome home TIP” casual schmooze on the temple grounds. Bring a coffee, bring a lawn chair, and set up a spot around the building for some physically distanced social time.
  3. Rabba Kaya will be leading Kabbalat Shabbat and evening services on Friday, July 10th at an outdoor venue to be determined.

These early events will enable us to test out logistics and protocols to keep our community safe. We will soon be rolling out guidelines to be distributed to committee chairs so that additional “in person” events can be planned. Meanwhile, new A/V technology in the sanctuary and social hall is scheduled for installation during the first week of July, which will enable a multitude of options moving forward.

Please know, we share your longing for community and for togetherness. We are here for you. And we can’t wait to be together again.

L’Shalom,

Amy Hyett, President.

Re-imagining Committee: Ryan Kaplan, Rabbi Ira Korinow, Amy Lester, Ben Martindale, Jeff Salloway, Joanne Samuels, Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman, Heather Tomlinson, Bob Zimman