IMPORTANT Message about Temple Closures
March 13, 2020
Dear OST Family,
Our tradition teaches us: “Pikuach Nefesh, saving a life, supersedes even Shabbat.” Therefore, in closely following the recommendations of the CDC and Virginia Department of Health, along with local schools and other religious organizations, and out of an abundance of caution, we will close Temple for the next week. Avoiding gatherings and meetings, including services and religious school, will help safeguard our most vulnerable members and ensure that we do our part to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our area. We will continue to evaluate the situation and communicate with you directly any changes.
In the meantime, we are working very hard to be able to livestream Shabbat services NEXT week; we will provide you with a link so that anyone with a computer (or smart phone) can worship with Rabbi and Cantor from home. For this Shabbat, if you need to say kaddish for a loved one, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with your phone number and one of them will call you to recite it with you. Additionally, here are some suggestions from the URJ about “How to Create a Meaningful Shabbat Experience While At Home.”
Also, for families with young children, PJ Library has sent some fun activities here: https://pjlibrary.org/familyactivities
Rabbi and Cantor will also keep all of their scheduled B’nai Mitzvah and wedding couple meetings via Facetime and Confirmation service preparations via Google docs.
We have assembled a cadre of volunteers who will be reaching out to our most senior members to ensure they are okay and have what they need to weather being at home for the foreseeable future. If you are willing to make calls, please contact Carol Brum, the chair of our Caring Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a wonderful mitzvah that you can do from the safety of your home. And we really appreciate your help.
Finally, we urge you to continue to follow common sense health and hygiene practices:
- Wash and sanitize your hands often.
- Avoid touching hands, hugging and kissing.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- If you experience worsening symptoms, call your doctor immediately and seek medical assistance.
We pray that you and those you love are safe and that the threat this virus poses will pass quickly for the sake of all of humanity.
Thank you for your understanding,
Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg
Cantor Jennifer Rueben
P.S. As you make preparations to be at home for a while, please consider the mitzvah of making a donation to Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s Food Bank. Those who are food-insecure are particularly vulnerable right now. JFS is specifically requesting donations of canned meats and fruits, cereal, condiments, sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes. Donations can be dropped off at JFS at 5000 Corporate Woods Dr, #400 in Virginia Beach (at the back of the Sandler Family JCC).