The following was an email sent out to the congregation on March 12, 2020 at 11:30 AM.
Dear Friends, We want to give you an updated about COVID-19 and its impact on our congregation and community.
As of today, any gatherings at Hevreh–worship, classes, outside groups, committee meetings, and the like–are all suspended. The Mass Department of Public Health and local county health officials are recommending all non-essential public gatherings be postponed or canceled. In the spirit of pikuach nefesh, we have chosen to follow that recommendation, to do our part to curb the mitigation of this disease across our community.
The implications for this are broad, so please review the following sections for more information. Additionally, we will be posting daily updates on our website, with opportunities to attend classes, meetings, and discussions virtually, so make sure to check back later.
Upcoming Events Friday Night Shabbat Sending Janet off with Blessings We were looking forward to our celebration and send off for Janet Lee. We do not want to miss the chance to share blessings and final wishes for Janet, and so we would encourage you to do two things:Consider writing Janet an email at email@example.com. What are the memories that you hold of Janet at Hevreh? What good wishes do you want to offer?Alternatively, we are also assembling a video of all of us for Janet to have. Record a brief video on your phone sharing your thoughts, memories, and good wishes for Janet. Send that video to Rabbi Hirsch (firstname.lastname@example.org). He will assemble your clips into a nice keep-sake video for Janet to have.
Virtual Shabbat with Rabbis Hirsch & Gordon Join us for a Zoom Shabbat at 6:00 PM. Zoom is an online virtual meeting space, and it allows all of us to gather by video chat or by phone, to bring in Shabbat together. We will have the chance to say hello to one another, to share some blessings, and to start Shabbat off as a community. If you have not used Zoom before, you can download the app onto any of your devices by visiting Zoom.us.
At 6:00, log onto Zoom by clicking here. To join by phone, follow the instructions below:One tap mobile+16468769923,,5979619701# US (New York)+16699006833,,5979619701# US (San Jose) Dial by your location +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)Meeting ID: 597 961 9701
Saturday Morning Virtual Torah Study Rabbi Hirsch will be leading us through Torah study online, Saturday morning at 10:00 AM. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a computer at your kitchen table, and join in some good discussion of this week’s Torah portion. Click here to join that session, also held on Zoom.
Sunday Religious School & Purim Carnival Sunday morning’s religious school and Purim Carnival are being suspended until a future date. Please stay tuned for more information about that.
We would encourage costume and play at home, so think about having your own costume parade, and posting it on Instagram or Facebook using #Hevreh. We’ll take a look online, and be sure to still award the most creative costumes.
During the Week We are here all day today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) until 12:00 PM. The Hevreh office staff will be working from home for at least the next two weeks. During that time, we are available by phone or by email. We will be picking up messages on our voicemails regularly, and you can also reach one of the rabbis by calling the synagogue and dialing “3” when prompted. Remember, we are here for you, so please do not hesitate to reach out.
While the building is closed, we will have it deep cleaned and disinfected. All in-person meetings, classes, and other activities are suspended for the next two weeks. We encourage whatever meetings can move online to do so. Please reach out to Rabbis Hirsch and Gordon to help set up those virtual meetings.
Lunch n’ Learn will continue online. If you are a regular, or you are a newbie, all are welcome Consider joining in the virtual Bible study fun this week, Wednesday, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM. To join by Zoom, click here.
Caring Community COVID-19’s exponential growth is stunning, and we are giving deep consideration to how to be there for you and your families as we travel through these next days together. Please know that we are here for you. Locally, we know some among us are in self-quarantine, may not be feeling 100%, or are in high-risk categories. If we can help with that we would like to. And we need to know who you are. Please click here to send us a quick message to let us know how we might be able to help you through this urgent time.
Second, if you are a person who is able and willing to help others, please click here so we can organize our caring team to move us through these days together.
Decision Making As we move forward, we are going to continue to decide according to the principle of “make the best choice possible.” Our congregation’s executive committee will be meeting weekly to review our status and make decisions moving forward.
We want to be transparent and thoughtful about all the conversations that come from this immediate decision. We are here to work with you on that. Please let us know what else you are considering or wondering out of all of this.
As the situation at Hevreh evolves, we will continue to post updates at Hevreh.org.
We know there are many questions, about Passover, regular gatherings, and impacts we have not yet even considered. Let’s all continue talking so that we can all continue to make the best decisions for our community as possible.
Closing This was not an easy decision to come to. Speaking personally, this is affecting our lives, as we know it is affecting yours. In just a few week’s time we’ll be reading some of the most central words of our tradition–Love your neighbor as yourself. In the face of fear and uncertainty, what better time than this to continue to pour love out into our congregation and community. Please know we are sending you our love and care, and know you do as well.
Sincerely, Rabbi Neil P.G. Hirsch Rabbi Jodie Gordon Rik Kabel, President