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CDC Behavior Modification at Shul. Let's Do this!

03/06/2020 10:59:28 AM

Mar6

Rabbi Ranon Teller

Shalom Friends,

As a genuine, close-knit community, we are accustomed to greetings and practices that embody our loving spirit. As the coronavirus continues to spread, we will be temporarily modifying our communal practices to limit physical contact. It’s going to be strange to restrain ourselves, but we’re going to create a communal gathering space that models sensitivity and adaptability.

We rely on our synagogue community to be a sanctuary from chaos and anxiety, so let’s modify our social and ritual behavior to comply with CDC recommendations.

  1. Symptomatic? Stay home. If you’re not feeling well, please stay home and take good care of yourself. Join us via livestream here. The prayer leaders will be davening from the bima (and not from the center of the room) to improve the livestream viewing experience. People who have joined us through livestream feel connected and inspired.
  2. Greetings. Greet, pray, eat; but no touching. Let’s acknowledge each other and express our enthusiastic love for each other with a Shabbat Shalom Nod, a Loving Wave, or an Elbow Bump. Pretend you’re like a doctor prepped for the operating room. No handshaking, kissing, high-fives, or hugging. That means you too, Nachum Dafny. No bear hugs.
  3. Intensified Sanitary Practices. Even at shul, wash hands often and use hand sanitizer. Try not to touch your face or other people’s faces for that matter.
  4. Communal Eating. Volunteers (with gloves) will serve food in the buffet line, rather than using communal serving pieces. Also, eating utensils will be pre-set at the tables.
  5. Ritual Modifications:
  • Davenners. Our prayer leaders will lead from the bima, as explained above.
  • Torah Carry. The torah carriers will not circulate around the congregation. We will honor the Torah by pointing toward the Torah or holding our tallit toward the Torah.
  • Ritual Kissing Abstention. If it is your custom to kiss the mezuzah, siddurim, or chumashim, please temporarily restrain yourself. Ritual action is essential to the Jewish experience, but for the time being, God (and we) knows how we feel – and wants us to use extreme sanitary practices.

Blessings,
Rabbi Teller

Fri, September 18 2020 29 Elul 5780