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IMPORTANT Temple Avodat Shalom Health & Safety Update 

03/31/2020 12:30:43 PM


We continue to share everyone's concerns over Coronavirus and stay committed to keeping our Temple home a safe space. This email will go over important information for our community. Our path forward is designed to let us continue operating safely as much as we can while also giving us maximum flexibility to make safe decisions quickly.

The policies are in accordance with the CDC's recommendation for Community and Faith-Based Leaders , WHO safe practice recommendations , and following all instructions from the Federal and New Jersey government as well as the NJ Department of Education and Department of Health.
I) Safety Protocols: We know that these practices will take away from our usual TAS experience in the short term. But to be on the side of safety, we ask that...

Individuals with health concerns and/or adults age 60+ avoid crowds, including at TAS. We know and are sad that this includes large services and temple events. Adults 60 and older and people who have severe, underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Individuals with any unwell symptoms stay home & away from the temple. If you have symptoms (sweating, fever, cough, stuffiness, etc.) please stay away from TAS and contact your doctor. Individuals showing symptoms will kindly be asked to leave. 

Everyone is required to wash hands when entering the building. Also wash hands after using the restroom and before eating or touching your face. There is Purell out, but please use soap and water due to a shortage of hand sanitizer. 

Observe Social Distancing. Avoid dense crowds, and when gathered keep three feet between you and others. This means empty spaces between people at services, oneg, etc. It means embrace the elbow bump or head nod instead of shaking hands, hugging, or kissing. Food and drinks will be individually wrapped or served by glove-wearing servers. This will let us avoid sharing pitcher handles, tongs, etc. without having to completely cancel customs like Oneg Shabbat.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your arm.
We encourage everyone to follow all common-sense precautions recommended by the CDC everywhere, not just at TAS!
II) Schools: (Sunday, Wednesday, TASTE)
We are implementing extra cleaning and disinfecting protocols in our building, especially during school hours. This includes access to soap and water and Purell, and our custodians have increased daily sanitation and disinfection of surfaces and common areas. We are taking the following precautionary steps on both Sundays and Wednesdays when religious school is in session:

  • All students, families, & staff are asked to follow the TAS protocols above.
  • School is canceled Sunday, March 15. Details preceded in a separate email to parents, and we will update by email Tuesday on how we will move forward.
  • Seating is assigned in sanctuary gatherings to spread out crowds.
  • Students are washing their hands upon arrival at the building, and are washing their hands whenever they are moving from one physical space to another.

Future Potential School Closures: We are monitoring public and private schools and the Department of Education. In the event of government or county mandated school closures in our area, we will of course comply. Responses to other closures will be made as they happen, airing on the side of caution.
III) Scenarios requiring TAS cancellation, rescheduling, and/or closure: Of course closing, canceling, and rescheduling events is a worst-case scenario for all of us. Yet above all we must uphold the Jewish value of preserving life. It is looking more and more likely that partial or complete closure will be put into effect in the coming days or weeks. These scenarios below would require immediate closure and cancellations:

  • If our geographic area is put under quarantine by the state of New Jersey we will be unable to be open during that time.
  • If we find out that someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus has been in the building while they were symptomatic we will have to close the building temporarily, including canceling or rescheduling any events during that time.
  • If an essential person or persons for an event, including clergy, become symptomatic and appropriately self-quarantine before reentering the building, that event may be cancelled or possibly led by another individual.

Thank you for your understanding. No one is more upset than we are at changes that may impact the vibrancy, fun, ease, and access to our amazing temple community and our personal lives. But expert guidance and our Jewish values of health, wellness, and safety must steer us at this time. Please be in touch directly with any concerns, and keep washing hands and wiping down surfaces!


Steve Berman, President
Rabbi Jim Stoloff
Cantor Maria Dubinsky
Barbara Haber, Educator

Tue, October 20 2020 2 Cheshvan 5781