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A Message From Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz

To our Temple Beth Sholom Family,

We thank you for your patience with TBS as we have been monitoring and evaluating the possibility of joining together for in-person worship on the High Holy Days. We envisioned and planned for a grand homecoming – even if it was with masks and physically distant. However, unfortunately, the new Delta variant of Covid has hit our community particularly hard. Because of this, the firm recommendation of our medical advisors is that despite all the mitigating protocols we had anticipated, it is not safe to bring hundreds of people together in our Sanctuary. We, in a move that is aligned with many of our fellow area Reform congregations, have made the difficult and painful decision that our High Holy Day services will be virtual.  

The Talmud says: The Rabbis taught: A person should always be flexible as the reed and let him never be hard as the cedar. (Taanit 20a). We are working hard to be flexible as the reed in adapting our plans to meet the urgency of the current situation and put the health and safety of our congregation above our fervent desire to join together in our Sanctuary. Just as last year, we are planning meaningful and memorable High Holy Day virtual services. However, this year we will be streaming services in real time from the Sanctuary, with special contributions from the congregation. If anyone wishes to borrow prayerbooks to participate from home, this will be available, although all the prayers will be accessible on your screens.

Though most of our services will be virtual, our new Rosh Hashanah Outdoor Picnic for all ages with Tashlich and shofar blowing (and a surprise dessert!) will be in-person at Muss Park on Tuesday, September 7 at 5:30 pm (reservations necessary). Our Teen experiences will also be outside and in-person. Please stay tuned for more detailed information about service times and how to access our worship experiences.

As you know, since the onset of the pandemic we have been vigilant about our congregation’s safety and wellbeing AND in maintaining Temple Beth Sholom’s commitment to excellence in education, worship, and sacred community. You have been our partners in maintaining the vibrancy and dynamism of our community despite the challenges of living through a pandemic. TOGETHER, we have been partners in sustaining meaningful Jewish lives in extraordinary times. We will continue to maintain our sacred commitment to you even as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances of life with Covid.

Presently, we are gathering in small numbers for Shabbat worship and b’nei mitzvah and we are looking forward to safely opening our TBSIS and JLAB school programs to our children for the essential service of education. Your clergy remains available for life-cycle events, counseling, teaching and celebratory moments. Panim groups are still meeting and our Social Justice Network, Sisterhood and Brotherhood continue to be active.

We have learned many things over the past 18 months. Significantly, we learned that despite the hardship of physical separation, we can transcend the distance. We have remained spiritually connected, soul to soul, supporting one another and sanctifying our lives together. We are grateful to our staff, clergy, lay leadership and the entire congregation for your ongoing cooperation in keeping our community safe and connected. We hope and pray that the pandemic will cease and we will once again be able to join together in our spiritual home.  

Wishing you a sweet new year of blessing,

Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz

Tue, September 21 2021 15 Tishrei 5782