Dear Bet Shalom Community,
We are taking the potential spread of the Coronavirus very seriously and are assessing every day how we can best serve the needs of all our members. Our goal is to mitigate the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve” of infection. We now believe the best way to help each other is to limit our physical contact to the greatest degree possible for a period of time.
Beginning tomorrow after Erev Shabbat services, we will be limiting programming at the Bet Shalom building to our preschool community for two weeks and will reevaluate the situation in time to make plans for Shabbat on March 27. Please be in touch with one of us for specific questions. Here is some information to keep at hand:
- -Bet Shalom Yeladim Preschool: Starting this Wednesday, March 18, we plan to serve the families that are in absolute need of our child care services. Some of our parents are healthcare and emergency workers, others are in need in other ways. If your need goes beyond these critical care workers, please contact Amber Brumbaugh (Preschool Director) or Steve Barberio (Executive Director).
- -Meetings & Individual appointments: During this time, we will meet by phone or video conference when possible.
- -Religious School: We are now holding our programs and classes virtually. All families will receive links to join from afar.
- -Congregational Shabbat Services: We will continue to stream services as we normally do. You can access the video stream by clicking here or by going to the website directly.
- -Adult Education: Our weekly Torah study classes will be held online by video conference, and we’ll be in touch after Shabbat with that access information. Our Hasidic Masters class on Shabbat mornings is canceled for this week, and we’ll resume next week in a virtual classroom. Professor Zmora’s class on Sunday mornings is on hold until further notice.
- -Pastoral Needs: The Health Department recommendation is to limit contact with vulnerable members – older adults, those with chronic disease, and individuals who are immunocompromised. As such, we will be connecting with you in times of need by video or by phone. Please contact Rabbi Locketz or Rabbi Crimmings if you are in need. You can also call our after hours emergency number: 612-564-3572.
- -Lifecycle Events: For events such as funerals and shivas, please contact Rabbi Locketz or Rabbi Crimmings, or call our after hours emergency number: 612-564-3572.
The CDC and other medical experts are telling everyone that social distancing and cancelling public space gatherings can help slow the rate of infection so we do not overwhelm our health care system. We feel what is stated above is our best contribution to that notion. While we cannot gather at the Bet Shalom building for a couple of weeks, we can “gather” in other ways. Look for us on Facebook and Instagram, as well as our website. We’ll “see” each other there until we can see each other in person, back at Bet Shalom.
Please see below our names for a communal statement from the Minnesota Rabbinical Association (MRA) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
As always, do not hesitate to contact any of us.
Rabbi David Locketz, Rabbi Jill Crimmings, Steve Barberio, Executive Director, Phil Ecker, President of the Board of Trustees
In the face of an unprecedented global health crisis, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of the Jewish community and our neighbors, comforting those in need of support, and providing opportunities for sacred connection during this time of need.
The value of pikuach nefesh , (saving a life) , whether it be our own life, the life of a loved one, or the life of someone we have never even met, is a value that supersedes all else. We must do our part to save lives by promoting measures that are known to curb the spread of COVID-19. Please review the common-sense guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health. We wish to act with deliberate care, not with fear, in facing this new reality.
We call upon all in the Jewish and greater community to practice social distancing. In our own synagogues and organizations, we are taking proactive measures, including suspending large gatherings and non-essential small gatherings in our physical spaces. We remain committed to finding alternative ways for our communities to feel connected.
Even as we create physical distance, we must use this moment to draw close in other ways. We recommend reaching out to family and friends to let them know about mental health, financial, safety, and preparedness resources through our work and that of Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) and Jewish Family Service (JFS). We recommend reaching out to neighbors to check in and help those who might not be able to afford or access food and medicine. This is also a time to work with other communities in an effort to enhance security, address misinformation, dispel rumors, and fight prejudice and bigotry that make our whole society ill.
As we learn about the grave impact of COVID-19, we pause to notice that anxiety is real and we must be present for one another with kindness and love. As rabbis and community leaders, we are here for you as our community navigates the emotional, spiritual, pastoral, and communal challenges we now face. We pray our words and our actions allow us to look out for one another in all the seasons of life.
Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Minneapolis Jewish Federation,St. Paul Jewish Federation