From the President – June 18, 2020

Contra Costa County says we can reopen the Temple under certain conditions. We are not going to reopen under these conditions.

Some of the more onerous restrictions (and my feelings about them) are:

  • Allowing no more than 12 people at a time (or 25% of capacity, whichever is smaller). No one is going to stand in the lobby and turn away the 13th person who shows up. * New guidelines are up to 100 people, so we will re-evaluate. Other restrictions are still in place, and the primary consideration will always be risk to our community.
  • Outdoor services may take place with up to 100 people. Outdoors, on our windy hilltop, on Erev Shabbat. Nope.
  • A list of attendees is recommended to be kept for 14 days in case contact tracing is needed. It makes sense but feels like an infringement.
  • Congregants should be screened for temperature/symptoms upon entering. I have to sign a document every day at work attesting to my health. For prayer – no.
  • Discourage sharing books, they must be disinfected between uses if shared. How? 
  • Consider disposable seat covers. No comment necessary.
  • Children should not play with children from other families. We don’t have a lot of kids at Kabbalat Shabbat, but I don’t want to tell them, or tell their parents to tell them that they can’t interact.
  • Turn off water fountains. I guess we could use bottled water and add more plastic to the ocean.
  • Discourage embraces and handshakes. This is already difficult. There is too much love at TBH to not express it.
  • Strongly consider discontinuing singing and group recitation. What else is there?

These restrictions will take so much of the joy out of our services. I understand that they are necessary. But speaking personally, I would rather continue to meet on Zoom than meet under these conditions.

Of course the overriding consideration is the health of our community. While there is no guarantee of safety even without the coronavirus, even if we follow all the rules above we are still increasing the risk of infection to ourselves, our families, our community.

The decision of when and how to reopen will be made by the Executive Board and clergy.

We have to do safe.

We are what we do.