On May 31st, before our Congregational Meeting via Zoom began, our Rabbi and President presented a Zoom video which reaffirms the belief that together, we can look forward to a new beginning together. Below is the message to all our partners from Rabbi Jeff and Linda Braun:
It’s true. We really do miss you. The temple feels so empty.
Usually at this time of year, this building would be filled with sound; students noisily moving from one class to another; our Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Chai Club, our senior youth group BEASTY, or any of our amazing committees would be gathering to plan in the library or having a meal in the Great Room; and of course, we would hear voices singing together in what is now our very quiet sanctuary.
It’s definitely not what any of us would call “fun”. Rabbi, Cantor and I wish we could go back to normal. But nothing is normal, and truthfully, we don’t know what normal will look like going forward. Regardless, all of us – the officers, the board, chair people, the temple arms, the working staff, the religious school staff, and the clergy are determined to figure out normal and make it work for all of us.
You probably heard recently that the government decided we are essential. We believe that, too. But we also believe that our primary responsibility is to keep people safe; to take care of our congregation and our community, not just spiritually, but physically as well.
We would love nothing more than to throw open the doors and welcome everyone back in. We know that would not be the right choice, given all the facts and advice offered by the medical community. Until we can be sure that returning to those uncomfortable benches or white plastic chairs will be safe, we prefer to take a slower, more careful approach.
With this shutdown, we have discovered that technology can be a wonderful tool. While it may not always go smoothly, it has allowed us to come into your homes and not disappear from your thoughts. We do plan to continue providing live-stream Shabbatservices and as many virtual meetings, programs and events as we can think of throughout the summer months.
Questions have been asked about the future, including what may happen with Rosh Hashanahand Yom Kippur. We wish we had a crystal ball to know what our world and situation will look like then. Some congregations have already made decisions regarding September. We’re taking a little more time to watch what happens, especially now that Long Island has begun the first phases of opening. We will keep you posted, but please know the Jewish value of Piku-ach nefesh, of safeguarding life, will be very at the forefront of our decision-making.
We were thriving as a community and temple family before the virus and we have no plans to stop. We look forward to the time when we can actually see each other again and embrace and sing and laugh and pray together. Until then, we will monitor the situation carefully, paying attention to the directives of the CDC and the Governor. Perhaps it will be a gradual reopening, with smaller event and gatherings, but we promise we will take special care in planning, again to ensure your safety.
We miss seeing your faces and hearing your voices live, but we know that we will all come together on the other side of all of this, stronger and perhaps even closer than we’ve ever been.
So please, be well, stay safe and thank you for your support of Temple Beth El!