Three steps forward and two steps back and five steps sideways – that’s how we are progressing toward reopening for in person events.
As I am writing this on Wednesday, August 4, concerns about the Delta variant are causing us to take two steps back and delay returning to in person Shabbat services until it is safer to gather indoors. Meanwhile we will continue to pray together online.
For the High Holy Days, we are taking five steps sideways and planning for all services to be held outside. We are in the process of acquiring all the elements needed to make our observance comfortable, meaningful and safe. We will have outdoor sound and lighting, and we are planning to get heaters for the evening services.
We are taking three steps forward by upgrading our internet service, acquiring the equipment needed for hybrid in person and online events, and providing air filtration in our sanctuary. A contract has been signed with Comcast and we will soon complete our broadband high speed internet installation. We are evaluating specific models of equipment and prices to give us hybrid capability. We have documented and are still documenting the vaccination status of our community members. And, we have received the first of three planned bids for replacing our very old heater furnaces in our sanctuary with new more efficient units that include air conditioning and HEPA filtration.
Of course we all know the Yiddish adage, “Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht. Man plans and God laughs.” With conditions and recommendations changing day to day and hour to hour, all our plans are subject to change. The only thing I am certain of is that with our dedication, creativity, and the strong spiritual leadership of Rabbi Dean and Cantor Shayndel, our community will get through this with pikuach nefesh guiding us. We will do everything we can to protect the health and safety of all of us.
We are Temple Beth Hillel.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when? -Rabbi Hillel
~ Michael R Cohen, President, Temple Beth Hillel