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when is it safe?

Like Noah, who launched a dove off the ark after 40 long days to determine when it would be safe to finally disembark, we at Temple Beth Sholom are searching for signs of readiness to reopen.  Just as we were beginning to venture out of our homes after months of quarantine, civil unrest and violence have led to deeper pain, discomfort and curfews.  We are struggling to gain footing in an uncertain and volatile world.  It is at times like these that we need each other and the foundational strength of our faith, texts and tradition as the solid ground in which to plant ourselves.

I’m remembering back to just a few months ago when we would sing:  “Hi ney mah tov u’manayim shevet achim gam yachad – how good it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together” with our arms around each other. How I miss those gatherings!  I miss seeing your faces (in person!), holding hands, sharing a warm embrace, laughing – and even crying – together.  Across the country, churches and synagogues are slowly and cautiously reopening in a variety of ways.  At TBS, we are proceeding with great caution.  Our clergy and staff are starting to return to work at the synagogue, under the direction of local and national guidelines as well as our TBS Pandemic Task Force.  We hope that we will soon be able to welcome our infant care and year round students in, and then camp, as part of our Phase 2 openings. 

As much as we would rejoice to worship together, we do not believe it is yet safe to bring people together in person.  We are grappling with issues of viral spread through singing, shared prayer books, the necessity of taking temperatures and other impediments.  Please be assured that we are taking your safety, as well as your spiritual needs, very seriously.

Though we may not yet be able to gather together in person, your clergy and staff are working hard to imagine and invent new ways of gathering.  Knowing how important the solid ground of faith, text and tradition are in times of uncertainty, we want to make sure you know we are continuing and amplifying our holy work.  We hope you have plugged into our virtual Shabbat services, study opportunities, Panim groups, Saturday night havdalah or Sunday morning programs with exciting guests.  We are finding ways to uphold our core values of spirituality, learning, tikkun olam, Israel and community.  We are also available, as always, for visiting with you virtually and sanctifying life cycle moments in your lives.

Like Noah, we are anxious to return to solid ground.  But also like Noah, we must proceed with caution and foresight.  In the meantime, we are utilizing every resource at hand to create the solid ground of community for all of us. We hope you will join in, as we remain TBS:  Together but Separate.

Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz


Fri, March 31 2023 9 Nisan 5783