Dear Temple Emanuel Community,
I am writing to provide an update on our re-opening process. While COVID-19 continues to be a reality, we have seen major advances in the fight against the pandemic. This fills us with hope as we begin to see the possibility of being with each other again. And yet we are still following the Values, Research and Protocols we outlined nearly a year ago to guide our decisions in the months ahead.
Our Research team met last week and determined that while we are still in Phase One, we are watching Maricopa County numbers closely and hope to be in Phase Two in the next few weeks, since the winter spike in COVID cases has subsided. This allows for some in-person events following all of our safety protocols, including limited attendance and no indoor singing, as we had started to do in the fall.
Among our Values is the reminder to love and honor others. We have continued to offer virtual worship services and creative programming to keep our community connected. While vaccines are becoming available, we still have many members who are not able to come together in person. So as we start to offer in-person activities again, we owe it to each other to offer a variety of ways to connect.
This spring we hope you’ll join us for our virtual Second Night of Passover Seder, a day of service to celebrate Rabbi Dean, the Game Show Gala, a drive-through breakfast on the last day of religious school, an outdoor Havdalah to honor Rabbi Dean, and of course our many Shabbat service options.
While our staff, clergy and lay leadership are putting so much energy into these activities they’re also planning for what new opportunities we’ll have as we move into the next stages of our physical re-opening. Here’s some of what we all can look forward to:
- Religious School: Leadership and teachers are surveying parents and discussing if classes can take place on-site. They’re considering what’s best for each class, their students and their curriculum. When decisions have been made parents will be the first to know. (If you have yet to respond to the survey, please do so here!)
- B’nai Mitzvahs: Guest lists for backyard b-nei mitzvahs will be increasing to 40. Masks and social distance will still be required.
- Our Synagogue office/building: Our building remains closed with staff alternating hours on-site to avoid direct exposure while we await a fully-vaccinated team. Even while working from home, staff is able to assist you with gift shop purchases, library books and virtual or in-person individual meetings.
We know congregants are eager to be back in our sanctuary, but we are not quite there yet. Our goal from the very beginning has been to keep everyone safe while finding alternate ways to build community. If you have had an opportunity to attend one of our recent services or programming events, I hope you too have felt this sense of community. Our lay leaders have risen to the occasion, and our temple and religious school staff continue to do an incredible job to meet the multiple needs of our wonderful and diverse community. Please know that Staff, Clergy and the Board are as eager as you are to find our new normal.
We will be together soon. I can’t thank you enough for your support and understanding over this past year as we have navigated this time of uncertainty. I know that we will emerge as a stronger community as a result.
President-Board of Trustees