TBI’s Covid-19 Response

On this page you can find our community’s current response status regarding the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Updated May 19, 2020

To the TBI Community: 

You may have read the recent statement from Governor Baker relaxing the restrictions on some businesses, offices, and houses of worship, allowing them to reopen in the coming days and weeks.  I know how much all of us are looking forward to getting together at Temple Beth Israel in person again.

At the last Board of Directors meeting, we discussed our own strategy for meeting again in our building. We decided that we would follow at least the most stringent of state, local, and CDC recommendations. We also need to be sure that we can implement the guidelines in place for houses of worship to gather safely before reopening.

As a first step, to determine your needs and concerns about returning in person, we sent a short survey for you to complete, the results of which we will share and discuss at our annual meeting on June 7. Please complete the survey if you have not done so already. 

For the time being, we will continue to meet on Zoom, with our regularly scheduled check-in conversations during the week, and services on Friday nights and Saturday morning.   The schedule is on the Virtual TBI page of our website. Our annual meeting also will be held on Zoom only.  

While the state is reopening slowly, we also realize that some of our members remain quarantined due to health risks or because their residential buildings are under restrictions. We must be equitable and be ready to ensure that we can meet the needs of those who wish to gather in person safely, as well as those who must still join us remotely. When we do resume holding events in the Temple building, we will adhere strictly to guidelines about wearing masks, sanitizing, social distancing, facility cleaning, and any other precautions necessary. We will avoid communal meals for the foreseeable future. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank you for your participation and your patience as we navigate the current situation and the changes that are sure to come. We will discuss all of this at our annual congregation meeting on June 7 at 10 am on Zoom. I look forward to seeing you on the other side of my screen then, and I hope in person safely before too long. 

Mark Frydenberg

President, Temple Beth Israel for the Board of Directors

March 13, 2020

Message from Rabbi David Finkelstein

Dear Members:
The Rabbi, officers of Temple Beth Israel, and chairs of the Ritual and Security Committees met online today to discuss precautions to take at Temple Beth Israel given concerns about the current Coronavirus outbreak.   

The Rabbi, officers of Temple Beth Israel, and chairs of the Ritual and Security Committees met online today to discuss precautions to take at Temple Beth Israel given concerns about the current Coronavirus outbreak.   

We know that many of you enjoy coming to the synagogue to be present with each other, to sing and pray, study and learn, eat and socialize. At this time, when the virus is spreading rapidly and authorities advise all large group gatherings be avoided, we need to take steps to promote the health and safety of our community, their families, and friends.  

Effective immediately, we have made the difficult but important decision to cancel all upcoming in-person meetings, services, and events, out of an abundance of caution, until such a time as the pandemic subsides.  This includes: 

  • Shabbat morning services and Kiddush Lunch, beginning March 14, 2020 
  • The March 20 Friday night service and dinner, originally scheduled at Brandeis  
  • The March 22 Sunday Book Talk and Discussion  
  • All daily, Shabbat evening, and Shabbat morning services, lunches and dinners  
  • The Community First Night Passover Seder on April 8, 2020 

We will reevaluate the situation weekly and provide an update by email and on this page every Thursday.  If you would prefer a phone call, please contact the Temple office and we will arrange it.

Rabbi David, the Board of Directors, and I will be looking at ways that we can continue to come together “virtually.” Rabbi David plans to offer a short teaching or video greeting and some of his classes and discussion groups through video conference or dial-in on the phone. 

The temple office will remain open for limited hours; please contact office@tbiwaltham.org or call 781 894 5146 if you need to be in touch, or reach out to Rabbi David Finkelstein at rabbidavid@tbiwaltham.org  or Mark Frydenberg, President, at mark@tbiwaltham.org.

While authorities encourage us to practice social-distancing, we also encourage you to find ways to maintain your connection with the synagogue community. Please make an extra effort today and each week to pick up the phone and call someone you would see at shul to wish them “shabbat shalom,” or send an email or a message to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Rabbi Finkelstein has recorded a message to the congregation offering his support. Please find it at the top of this letter.

Thank you for engaging with Temple Beth Israel as we support each other during the weeks ahead.

Mark Frydenberg
President, Temple Beth Israel

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