TBI responses to COVID-19

Working Towards the Future Updated August 12, 2020

Returning to In-Person Services

The COVID-19 Task Force has been working to develop a plan that will meet the sincere and important desire to congregate in person, while at the same time mitigating the risks to our members as much as feasible. 

We anticipate that as we begin gathering we will learn what works, what does not work, and will need to regularly update the membership on changes that come about due to our experiences. Additionally, the general understanding of COVID-19 is ever-evolving and will necessitate changes to how we interact as a congregation. We will update our membership via multiple forums: email, newsletters, Facebook, and our website. Our website will be the place with the most up-to-date information on our policies and procedures regarding COVID-19.

One early outcome of having services streamed is the realization that we like this option. The Board of TBI has approved the installation of hardware to make live-streaming significantly easier, and the intention is to continue to have the option available for people to stream services.

To help us safely open the building, TBI will provide disinfectant, soap, and hand sanitizer. 

When we begin to gather in person, we will be creating a new normal.

A new way to be Jews together. However, though these new customs may be uncomfortable in the beginning, they are based on our Jewish values and on our TBI traditions of caring of welcoming, and of holding each other as the most valuable part of our community.

The values we lift up at this moment are:

  • Pikuah Nefesh “Safeguarding Life” – which is a bedrock principle of Jewish law, and supersedes most other obligations or mitzvot.
  • She’at Hadehak “Extraordinary Moment” – which teaches us that extraordinary moments require change, flexibility and compassion for one another.
  • Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh “We Are Responsible for One Another” – which teaches us that we must look out for the well being and safety of one another. Whether that means our mental, physical or emotional well being.
  • Hesed  “Profound Love and Kindness” – which teaches us that every one of our actions should come from a place of love and kindness.

Congregants will need to sign up in advance for any event at the TBI grounds or building. The expectation is that anyone who is coming to the TBI property, for any reason, will sign up in advance.

You can sign up by CLICKING THIS LINK: Sign-Up Form for Entering TBI Grounds/Building

Our new expectations are reflected in the following:

  • Congregants will need to sign up in advance for any event at the TBI grounds or building. The expectation is that anyone who is coming to the TBI property, for any reason, will sign up in advance.
    • Signing up in advance can be done on the TBI website at the following link: TBI Services Sign-Up Form
    • Signing up will include screening that is similar to what is typically done to enter a doctor’s office or place of business. TBI is asking for information each time you are in the building or on the TBI grounds in order to protect the health of all and to provide contact tracing if needed. 
    • All information that is gathered will be held in confidence. The information collected will be kept for a maximum of 3 months.
    • Signing up will let us control occupancy within recommended limits. Priority will be given to TBI members before guests. 
    • Anyone with symptoms or recent exposure will not be allowed to attend. 
    • We expect an update from you if there is a change in your medical status between signing up and attendance.
    • We expect an update from you if you have been on the property and later develop COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Congregants will maintain the recommended social distance of 6 feet.
  • Congregants will wear masks, covering both mouth and nose, for the entire time they are at TBI. We request that you provide your own mask. We will have some disposable masks available.
    • Volunteer workers on the grounds should wear a mask anytime they are within 15 feet of any other person.
  • For outdoor services:
    • Congregants will bring their own prayer books or printed/electronic prayers. PDFs of prayers will be provided in advance via email to those who have signed up to attend a service. 
    • Congregants will bring their own seating.
  • Congregants will bring their own kippah/yamalka and/or tallit if desired. 
  • Congregants will not sing, singing has been found to be a “super spreading” activity. Congregants may hum quietly, as this is believed to be less likely to create an airborne viral aerosol. 
  • There will be no oneg. There will be no food or drink in the building.
  • Bathrooms will be available and are to be used by one congregant at a time. Out of respect for others, after each use, the congregant should clean the areas used with available cleaner.
  • To prevent traffic congestion in the building, congregants will follow the pathways, arrows, or signs in the hallways of the building. 
  • Socializing before or after services needs to happen outside of the building.
  • A Board member will be present at all events.

TBI is working to make any type of attendance at TBI safe, however, there is no way for TBI to eliminate all risks of attendance. We appreciate each member doing their best to comply with these new expectations, and feel that each of us is responsible for the safety of others.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please reach out to Jenn Odza at PresTBIkazoo@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Temple B’nai Israel Covid Task Force