Sign In Forgot Password

Update from Leadership

March 13, 2020 | 17 Adar 5780

Dear Friends,

As we continue to monitor the situation in our community and the region, we recognize how much has changed, even over a couple of days. We now have a clearer picture of the role that organizations like ours play in the effort to control the speed and scale of the outbreak. We understand that social distancing is both a critical step we can take to ensure our own safety and also a responsibility—a mitzvah—we owe to the larger community. 

We have been following closely the recommendations of the City, New York State, the CDC, and the various Jewish communal organizations, and we have been consulting continuously with the leadership of the other synagogues in our area. Knowing that we are in uncharted waters, we have endeavored to take measured steps and to reassess our position daily. At this point, it is still difficult to predict where we will be a month from now, so we will continue to set policy in an incremental manner. Working with the best available information, we will make judgments looking ahead to the next two weeks, reassessing as necessary.

At this point, keeping in mind our priority to keep ourselves safe and to do our part on behalf of the larger community, we are suspending in-person programming at the synagogue for the next two weeks, beginning after Shabbat tomorrow. Our Shabbat children’s programs (It’s Friday, Tot Shabbat, MiniMinyan, and Junior Congregation) and our various adult education programs including Shabbat Shmooze and Kishkush will be suspended as of today. After Mincha, the building will be closed, with the professional staff working remotely. All the staff can still be reached by the usual telephone numbers and email.

We are also, reluctantly, suspending in-person PSJC Hebrew School until after Passover. We remain committed to providing meaningful learning opportunities through this period, and teachers will remain actively engaged with students to provide content, activities, and home-based projects leading up to Pesach. Our staff is also working on opportunities to keep the students connected and supported as a community. Parents should look out for more information between now and Tuesday afternoon.

For this weekend we will hold Friday night services, Saturday morning services, and Mincha as planned. For those who choose to attend, we will be taking full advantage of our beautiful sanctuary, including the balcony, and spreading out more than usual. We will use every other pew, sitting three or four people per row. We ask that anyone in a high-risk group (including those who are 60 and older and people with compromised immune systems), anyone who is concerned about being in a communal gathering, and of course those who are feeling sick not come to shul.  Please stay home. This is a moment when we lift up our tradition’s teaching that Pikuach Nefesh—saving a life, protecting one’s health—supersedes just about all.  

We want to be clear that beginning this Sunday for 2 weeks, there will be no in-person programming and no in-person services, including Shabbat, and no weekday services.

Finally, we want to reiterate that we are still here as a community, ready to support one another.  We are working to develop opportunities for learning, for participating in Jewish life, and above all for interpersonal connection.  So if you know anyone who is particularly vulnerable, please check in on them. And if you need help yourself, please contact Rabbi Carter (rabbicarie@psjc.org) or Piper (piper@psjc.org) and we will do our best to provide the support you need.  If you are in a position to help others (with shopping or virtual visits), please let Rabbi Carter know as we are working to create teams of people who might be able to help in these ways.  

These are difficult days, and the challenges of quarantine, isolation and social distancing are so real.  But even as we take these responsible steps of separation, we can, and in fact we must, find ways to connect to one another, to remind ourselves that ultimately it is not the PSJC building that is our greatest strength but our network of connection, friendship, and mutual support.

With prayers that Shabbat will arrive with a sense of calm and peace, giving us a moment to pause in the midst of this challenging time,

 

Rabbi Carie Carter                          David Tepper, President

Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780