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Response to COVID-19 & High Holidays 2020 Info

March 11, 2020 - July 31, 2020, All Day

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Please scroll down to read our recent announcements concerning the 202o High Holidays and the July 2020 Covid-19 measures. 


High Holidays Announcement – Sunday, June 28

 

This week our Board of Trustees heard some of the early recommendations of our COVID-19 Task Force (that includes medical health professionals) and our Clergy team regarding this year’s High Holy Days. The bottom line is that we believe that September will be too soon to safely welcome large numbers of people into our building given the current projections for confronting this ongoing pandemic. Therefore, based on the values of Pikuach Nefesh (safeguarding life), Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh (demonstrating responsibility for one another) and Chesed (profound love and kindness), we have come to the decision that for this new year of 5781, Shaare Emeth will be holding virtual (online) High Holy Day services. Though we will miss the opportunity of worshipping together in our sacred spaces and greeting each of you with a Shanah Tova, we know this is the right choice to make for the health and safety of our community.

 

While High Holy Days 5781 will be a different experience for all of us, the clergy, staff and lay leadership are committed to creating opportunities that will allow us to observe the sacred time from Elul through Simchat Torah in beautiful and meaning-filled ways. We will celebrate our ability to adapt to challenge and change and gather virtually to focus on the true meaning of these days: reflection, repentance and reconnecting with our most essential and life-giving values. We will keep you updated as our plans take shape so that every member can take part in welcoming our new year.

 

Meanwhile, if you have thoughts, questions or concerns about the High Holy Days, or about anything related to our congregation’s response to the coronavirus, we welcome your input via email at [email protected].

 

Each year, as we prepare for the High Holy Days, a unique sound rings in our ears – the sound of the shofar. Hearing it reminds us to reconnect with our inner goodness and connection to God. This year the sound of the shofar also summons us to strength in the face of challenge, hope in the face of adversity and joy in our efforts to be together in new and exciting ways.

 

B’shalom,

 

Josh Wallach, President

Jim Bennett, Rabbi

Rosalie Stein, Executive Director


 

 

Shaare Emeth COVID-19 Update – Thursday, June 25

 

We hope this update finds you and your families safe, healthy, wearing masks when appropriate, and continuing to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing, doing your part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. As St. Louis begins to reemerge and more and more businesses reopen, Congregation Shaare Emeth continues to monitor recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and the office of St. Louis Executive Same Page.

 

Additionally, the Board of Trustees and our Congregation Shaare Emeth Coronavirus Task Force have determined that an abundance of caution be maintained with regard to our Temple reopen.

 

As always, we strive to make decisions based on core Jewish values such as Pikuach Nefesh (Safeguarding Life), Sakanot Nefashot (Endangering Life), She’at Hadehak (Extraordinary Moment), Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh (We are responsible for one another), and Chesed (Profound Love and Kindness).

 

Therefore, with the safety of our members and staff as our highest priority, the decision has been made to adjust to the following measures beginning July 1, and through July 31:

 

  • The main Administrative Office will be open Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with Administrative and Accounting staff on-site. Health guidelines and policies will continue to apply.

 

  • No visitors will be allowed to the building.

 

  • Congregants that must pick anything up or drop anything off at the Temple must contact the office ahead of time to arrange for the item to be placed on the pick-up/drop-off table in the North Lobby vestibule.

 

  • Shirlee Green Preschool is now open on a limited basis.  For more information please call 314-569-0048.

 

  • Camp Emeth will be open on a limited basis from July 6 – July 31. Pre-registration is required.

 

  • All worship services, life cycle events, group meetings, congregational programs (including Torah Study, senior programs, Mindfulness programs, etc.) will continue to be virtual.

 

  • Shaare Emeth Staff and Board of Trustees will determine the next phase of reopening effective August 1 and this will be announced accordingly.

 

 

During these extraordinary times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, our entire clergy team is working hard to meet the many needs of all our congregants. Should you wish to speak with a member of the clergy, please call 314-569-0010 or email directly at:

 

Rabbi Jim Bennett, [email protected]

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, [email protected]

Rabbi Lori Levine, [email protected]

Cantor Seth Warner, [email protected]


Click HERE to connect with us virtually. 


Friday, May 15 Camps of Shaare Emeth COVID-19 Update – Click HERE for full statement. 


Dear Shaare Emeth Family and Friends,

We hope this update finds you and your families safe, healthy, wearing masks when appropriate, and continuing to practice social distancing and frequent hand washing, doing your part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. As the St. Louis County Stay-At-Home-Order gradually ends, our community is beginning to reemerge and many businesses are preparing to reopen. While Congregation Shaare Emeth continues to monitor recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and the office of St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, the Board of Trustees has determined that an abundance of caution be used to evaluate our plan to reopen. Therefore, with the safety of our members and staff as our highest priority, the decision has been made to extend our current closure through June 30, 2020.

Like the previous closure, which was set to expire on May 31, 2020, this closure calls for the cancellation or postponement of all in-person programs and activities of the congregation. While our building remains closed to the public, the work of our congregation and our clergy continues. As we have for the past several weeks, we will continue to offer many on-line, virtual programs for children and adults. Please refer to our Shaare Emeth homepage at www.sestl.org or the May/June bulletin for a list of virtual opportunities to connect, worship and learn.

During these extraordinary times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, our entire clergy team is working hard to meet the many needs of all our congregants. Should you wish to speak with a member of the clergy, please call 314-569-0010 or email directly at:

 

Rabbi Jim Bennett, [email protected]

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, [email protected]

Rabbi Lori Levine, [email protected]

Cantor Seth Warner, [email protected]

 

We know that many of you are facing unexpected health, emotional and financial struggles. Some of you may have difficulty getting groceries and medications. Shaare Emeth is partnering with Jewish Federation of St. Louis and Jewish Family Services to ensure that we can do everything possible to support the community during this time. If you need assistance, please contact Debbie Bram or one of our clergy members for a confidential conversation. If you are 65 years of age or older and would like to reach out directly to Jewish Family Services for support, you can contact Lori Zimmerman with ElderLink St. Louis at [email protected] or 314-812-9300.

 

Seeking the advice of several health experts and organizations, we are actively working on various plans and scenarios that will allow us to safely reopen our building and begin to resume various in-person worship services and programs. Only when we are confident that we can ensure the safety of all who enter our building, will we begin the reopening process. An open Shaare Emeth will almost certainly look different, with many new safety procedures and protocols in place. Thank you in advance for your cooperation, flexibility and understanding.

We all look forward to a time when we can be together, in person. Until then, please join us virtually or reach out by phone or email if you need assistance. Stay safe and healthy, and know that Congregation Shaare Emeth is there for you, always.

 

 

Michael Lefton, President

James Bennett, Rabbi

Rosalie Stein, Executive Director

 

 


Resources and How to Help

 

We hope to check in with many of you in coming days to see how you are holding up and to learn about any challenges you are facing.

 

If you would like to be a part of Shaare Emeth’s Chesed (Caring) Calling Team, and would be willing to reach out by phone to fellow congregants to see how they are doing please email Debbie Bram at [email protected].

 

If you would like to volunteer with Jewish Family Services to help members of the community get needed groceries or medicine, please contact Jeremy Goldberg, JFS’ Volunteer Coordinator directly at 314-513-1679 or [email protected].

 

If you are 65 years of age or older and would like to reach out directly to Jewish Family Services for support you can contact Lori Zimmerman with ElderLink St. Louis at [email protected] or 314-812-9300.

 

If you would like to speak directly with one of our clergy members, do not hesitate to reach out. You can call us through the Temple, 314-569-0010 or email us at:

 

Rabbi Jim Bennett, [email protected]

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, [email protected]

Rabbi Lori Levine, [email protected]

Cantor Seth Warner, swarner[email protected]

 

We are grateful for your flexibility and understanding as we navigate this uncharted terrain.

 

Michael Lefton, President

James Bennett, Rabbi

Rosalie Stein, Executive Director


 

Temple Closure Details 

 

Please note the following specific implications of our decision to cancel or postpone all congregational programming through June 30, 2020:

  • Regular 6 p.m. Friday Shabbat services will take place ONLY online. We will continue to livestream Friday night services, which you can access by clicking HERE. These services will remain available in our service archive on our website.

 

  • Shabbat morning B’nei Mitzvah services will be rescheduled at a future date.

 

  • All other worship services are cancelled or will be livestreamed.

 

  • Funerals conducted by our rabbis will not take place in our building; we are working with the local funeral homes to encourage all families to hold graveside services for immediate family only. Clergy will be making all condolence calls and funeral preparations via telephone and/or virtual technology such as Facetime or Skype, etc.

 

  • Weddings, baby namings and other life cycle ceremonies will be postponed

 

  • All other in-person meeting and programs, youth group events, seniors programs and committee meetings at Shaare Emeth and off-site will be conducted via telephone, computer technology, cancelled or rescheduled in the future.At the advice and request of the hospitals and nursing homes, clergy will not be making in-person visits.

 

  • All in-person Religious School classes will remain closed through May 31

 


 

Additional Resources

 

Center for Disease Control (CDC)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization (WHO)
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
Saint Louis County Government
https://www.stlouisco.com/Your-Government/County- Executive/COVID-19
Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

 


 

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to be in contact with any of us. Please check back on this website page, and keep an eye out for email communications from Shaare Emeth. You can subscribe to Shaare Emeth emails by clicking HERE.

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