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Covid-19 Updates
September 10, 2021
Beginning with Shabbat Shuva on Friday, September 10, 2021, Shabbat Evening Services are now available in person at the Schaefer Family Campus and online on Virtual Beth El. All in-person attendees must wear masks at all times, and social distancing will be practiced.
 
Visit our Events page for upcoming service dates and times.
August 25, 2021: High Holy Day Update

As Jews, we welcome the New Year with the call of the Shofar. Maimonides teaches us that the Shofar is a wake-up call, demanding: “Chizru BiTeshuva – Return as you seek introspection and repentance.”

All of us at Temple Beth El have been grappling with the question: “How ought we return?” In large measure – it is a spiritual question. How should we return to the path in life we know we should follow? How should we return to be the best expression of our true and authentic selves? How should we return to loved ones, family, and friends from whom we have grown apart or even estranged? How should we return to a relationship with the Holy One, whose spirit breathed our souls into being, and whose power seeks to inspire us to lives of virtue, goodness, and holiness?
 
But in these tenuous moments of pandemic, we also wrestle with the physical challenge of this command: “How ought we return?” As the New Year dawns, and a school year begins, this is a question asked of every element of synagogue life – our Early Learning Center, our Religious School, our Shabbat and High Holy Day worship.
 
The Temple has been hard at work examining our High Holy Day service plans and closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our area. We are keenly aware that many of you will not be attending services in person this year and are instead choosing to participate online through Virtual Beth El. Everyone should choose to participate in our services in whichever way they feel most comfortable. We are planning to provide a moving worship experience both online and in person.
 
The Temple’s leadership has devoted extraordinary time in recent weeks and days carefully evaluating how our congregation should celebrate our High Holy Day services.
 
We considered so many different factors, consulted with a wide range of experts in public health and medicine, several of whom shared conflicting advice and guidance. Our leadership carefully examined their guidance and discussed a wide variety of options. We tried to look at this from every which way because these are really important decisions and unfortunately there are no clear right or wrong answers. 
 
Throughout the pandemic, we have endeavored to ensure that we continue to provide essential services for our congregation. We have safely found ways for people to gather for funeral services, Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations, and other lifecycle events. While we are extremely proud of the quality of our Virtual Beth El programming, including Shabbat and holiday worship services, we know that the High Holy Day season for many in our congregation is vital to their spiritual lives. As one member shared last week: “This year has been so difficult. I’ve never known loneliness like this. I just keep thinking about how much I need to be in synagogue right now.” 
 
At the same time, we are well aware of the surge in cases in our area, and we certainly want our congregation to stay healthy and safe.

The Temple leadership has decided that in addition to our outstanding livestream that will enable everyone in our community to worship safely from home, we will continue to offer IN-PERSON HIGH HOLY DAY SERVICES, but with additional changes and restrictions.

All of our High Holy Day services can be accessed online. Because children under 12 cannot receive the COVID vaccine, all Young Children’s Services and our Family Participation Service can be enjoyed online only.  

Here are the changes to our plans for in-person worship:

  • There will be no services at Florida Atlantic University (“FAU”). In-person services will only be held on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur at Temple Beth El’s Schaefer Family Campus (“TBE”). If you already have tickets for FAU, you may use them at TBE.
  • We are significantly limiting seating capacity in order to allow for as much social distancing as possible. Consequently, we are closing High Holy Day ticket sales and distribution effective immediately. You will no longer be able to order tickets for in-person services. We apologize for any inconvenience, but please understand that this decision is for everyone’s safety.
  • We will offer an additional service on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh HaShanah (September 7) at TBE so that we can accommodate all who have already registered at both TBE and FAU. It will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be a somewhat abbreviated version of the morning service that will last approximately 90 minutes. 
  • If you already have tickets for the Rosh HaShanah morning service at either FAU or TBE, you may attend either the 10:00 a.m. traditional service or the 2:30 p.m. abbreviated service, but we kindly ask that you not attend both. Your existing tickets will work at either service. This new afternoon service is only available for those who already have tickets. As stated above, we are no longer taking any new ticket orders in order to limit capacity.
  • If you already have tickets for either FAU or TBE and you have made the decision to stay home and participate in services online rather than attend in person, we kindly ask that you take a moment and relinquish your tickets. Current ticket holders will receive an email shortly with instructions to fill out a form to retain or relinquish your tickets. This important step will give us a more accurate count of how many people will be at each service so we know if additional contingency plans are needed. 
  • As a reminder, if you are planning to come to services in person, you must wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth for the entire time you are in the building. If you have any signs of illness, please stay home and watch services online.  
  • Although the Temple will not deny access to those individuals unable to provide proof of vaccination due to a state law that prohibits us from doing so, we request that only fully vaccinated individuals attend services in person. We sincerely ask that those who have elected to forego the COVID vaccination participate in services from home. We are trying to create the safest possible environment for those in attendance and so only fully vaccinated people should participate in person. 
If you have any questions about High Holy ticketing or services, please contact Debbie Eisenberg, Engagement & Programming Manager, at 561-314-2834 or [email protected].
 
No matter whether you hear the Sounding of the Shofar at home or in our sanctuary, we pray its call will unite us all as one congregation and with our people everywhere.
 
L’Shana Tova to You and Your Family. 
August 7, 2021: High Holy Day Update

Dear Temple Beth El Family:

We have some important news to share regarding in-person High Holy Day worship services.

We believe it is in the best interest of our members, guests and staff to limit High Holy Day attendance at both Temple Beth El and FAU to 50% capacity. This will allow for adequate social distancing in each venue, and will help mitigate the risk of infection to all who are in attendance. Face coverings will be required, regardless of vaccination status. Proof of vaccination is not required, as it is prohibited by State of Florida law.

When High Holy Day ticket registration opened about a month ago, the Temple’s Covid-19 safety protocols had been mostly eliminated.  There were no longer any capacity restrictions, social distancing measures had been removed, and face coverings were only required for those who were unvaccinated. 

Unfortunately, the situation in Palm Beach County has declined significantly since early July, and we feel we should be judicious and cautious in our approach, while still allowing for a meaningful, in-person High Holy Day worship experience.

As a result of these new capacity protocols, a limited number of tickets will be available for each service at each venue. When you register online for tickets on our automated ticketing system, if the maximum has been reached, you will be informed that the service is “Sold Out”. You can then choose another venue or another service.

It is our expectation that certain services at Temple Beth El will sell out quickly, so we encourage you to register for tickets soon. It is also our expectation that FAU will continue to have availability because it is a much larger venue. As many of you know from past years’ experience, FAU is a wonderful and spacious venue, made to feel like home with a replica of our ark and the clergy you know and love.

We apologize for the inconvenience if you are not able to get tickets for your first choice of venue. We hope you understand that these are unprecedented times, and these difficult decisions are being made with your health and safety first and foremost in our minds. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

August 4, 2021

Dear Temple Beth El Family:

I think we would all agree that just a few weeks ago, we thought the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic was behind us. Mask mandates had been lifted, businesses reopened and life was returning to normal. It was a great feeling. Unfortunately, that great feeling did not last very long.

As you are probably aware, South Florida is currently experiencing some of the highest increases in Covid infection rates and hospitalization in the United States. Palm Beach County is currently considered an “area of substantial or high transmission” as defined by the CDC

As a result, and after consulting with the medical professionals on our Covid-19 Task Force, the Temple has decided to further scale back in-person events and programs to only those that are “essential services” for our congregation and community. These are covered in more detail below, and are in place until further notice.

We are making these changes to keep our staff, students, members and guests as safe as reasonably possible, while continuing to provide the synagogue’s essential services to our congregation and community. Always check our website for the most up-to-date information on events, High Holy Days, and Covid policy updates. Like you, we hope these changes are short-lived. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Shabbat Evening Services

Friday Shabbat Evening Services will be VIRTUAL ONLY until further notice. We hope you will still dress in white this Friday for Camp Shabbat, and in your favorite blue jeans next Friday for Blue Jeans Shabbat!

You can follow the links to view Shabbat services on Virtual Beth El via Livestream, Facebook or YouTube.

Torah Study

Virtual Beth El only. Visit our website for information for how to join the class on Zoom, or you can view via Livestream or YouTube.

Lunch and Learn, Kol Ha N'Shama, and all other Adult Education Classes

Virtual Beth El only. Visit our website for information for how to join the class on Zoom, or you can view via Livestream or YouTube.

Religious School

As an essential service to our students as families, Religious School including Youth Group will continue to be held in-person. However, some family events will be cancelled or modified (see below). 

However, Religious School Back to School Havdalah on Saturday, August 14 has been cancelled. View updated school Covid protocols for Religious School here, and the full event calendar here.

Early Learning Center

As an essential service to our students as families the Beth El Early Learning Center will continue to be held in-person. However, some family events will be cancelled or modified (see below). 

However, Early Learning Center New Family Meet and Greet on Saturday, August 7 will now be a drive through event!

View updated school Covid protocols for the Early Learning Center here, and view full event calendar here.

Life Events

Weddings, funerals, baby namings, brises, and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs will continue to be held in person, but with updated Covid protocols in place, including mandatory mask-wearing.

High Holy Days including Selichot

Congregational Worship

We are still planning to hold Congregational Worship High Holy Day services in person at both Temple Beth El and FAU, with masks required . Congregational Worship Services will also be viewable at Virtual Beth El, via Livestream, YouTube or Facebook. View the complete High Holy Day schedule here.st

Beth El Talks

Beth El Talks will be held on Virtual Beth El only.

Family Participation Services and Young Children's Services

These services will be held on Virtual Beth El only, as originally planned. View the complete High Holy Day schedule here.

High Holy Day Gift Bag and Prayer Book Pick-Up and Food Drive Drop-Off

These remain as scheduled. We will be there to meet you outside at your car, under the covered drop-off areas when you drive up to pick up or drop off! Register for the gift bag here, and view the complete schedule here.

As always, thank you for your continued support. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes as quickly as possible. For any questions, please email call the temple at 561-391-8900 on Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 5:30pm.

July 28, 2021

Dear Temple Beth El Family,

Recently, the CDC has issued additional guidance given the new evidence regarding the Delta variant currently circulating in the United States. At Temple Beth El we always strive to put the health and safety of our congregation and community first. So in accordance with these new CDC guidelines, and upon the strong recommendations of medical professionals on the Temple’s Covid-19 Task Force, we will be implementing several changes to our Covid policy, effective this Friday, July 30, 2021. 

We hope you will continue to join us in person and online for opportunities to worship, to learn and to connect. We will continue to keep you updated as quickly as possible with additional changes to our Covid policy, including any news regarding High Holy Days. 

The following changes are effective this Friday, July 30, 2021:

Shabbat Services and Lifecycle Events

Services will continue to be held in-person with no capacity restrictions, and online on Virtual Beth El.
 
For those attending in-person, masks will be required at all times, and physical distancing will be re-introduced. Please respect the physical space of others you come in contact with, and refrain from hugging or hand-shaking. The first three rows of the sanctuary will be blocked off to maintain a safe distance from our clergy on the bima, who will be unmasked while leading services. They will be frequently tested for Covid as an additional safety precaution.

Temple Dinners and Oneg Shabbats

Temple-sponsored dinners and Oneg Shabbats will be cancelled, and will resume when it becomes safe to do so. Those who registered for Blue Jeans Shabbat dinner will receive a refund on their credit card.

Other In Person Meetings and Programs

  • Torah Study will continue to be held as a hybrid, and may be attended in-person or through Zoom on Virtual Beth El. All in-person participants must wear masks at all times.
  • Lunch & Learn will continue to be held only on Virtual Beth El.
  • Auxiliary Groups may resume in person meetings and events, but off-site only. 
  • Advisory Groups and Committee meetings will continue to be held virtually only.
  • Beth El Circles may resume in person meetings and events, but offsite only.
  • Sisterhood Gift Shop will be open after Friday evening Shabbat services. Please call the Temple at 561-391-8900 if you would like to come in to shop at another time. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. We will continue to remain adaptable and flexible in responding to an ever evolving situation. We will continue to work hard to help keep our staff, students, members and guests as safe as possible, and keep you informed as we navigate the year ahead.