To the members of Congregation Beth Shalom come these greetings from your president and board:
As the Covid-19 virus gains recognition as a pandemic, the members of the CBS board held a virtual meeting on Tuesday to determine our course of action as a congregation in the face of this health emergency.
As of right now, we have resolved that all face-to-face events on our Calendar are cancelled through May 1, 2020. This includes the Community Second Seder on Passover. We will monitor events and public health recommendations until that time and advise you—our members—of any further cancellations or when regular face-to-face events can resume.
This is not a step we take easily, for we take our obligation to provide the community with Jewish services and events and to extend and enhance the lived Jewish experience here in Northern Illinois very seriously. Yet to accomplish this goal, we must first act to preserve the life and health of our community members; the dangers of this pandemic (while not to be exaggerated) are real. Further, not only do we have a duty to preserve the lives of our own community, but we as a Jewish community have an obligation to act to preserve lives in the larger community that surrounds us.
We know that many of you will be restricted in your movements and social interactions during this time, and we are planning and preparing to offer what services and events we can in a safe format. We will be experimenting with using online platforms like Zoom for Religious School, adult education, and Book Group. Rabbi Adler has offered to get together virtually or by phone call for personal “coffee meetings” with any congregant who would like to talk. (You’ll have to provide your own coffee.) She will also establish regular “office hours” for such visits, and we will get them posted as swiftly as we can.
We will notify you about upcoming virtual gatherings via email, but please reach out to us and let us know what kind of contact would be desired or useful to you at this time. We know that shifting to an online platform like Zoom will be challenging for some. We will be sending out instructions on how to join and use Zoom. If you need help setting yourself up electronically or getting onto Zoom, please let us know.
Stay tuned for:
1. More communication from me and the board as to how we will proceed after May 1.
2. Online learning opportunities. Perhaps this stretch of time could be utilized for goals, like learning Hebrew or looking at the weekly Torah portion, that you’ve long been interested in but never had the chance to explore. Please share with us what you are doing on your own to extend your Jewish learning!
3. An email from Elizabeth Bass about the next Book Group meeting, WHICH WILL OCCUR AS SCHEDULED BUT ONLINE.
Lastly (for now), if you or someone you know in the congregation are restricted in your movements outside your home and need help getting groceries or other supplies, please let us know at any of the board emails on our web page or my phone number below. We all need to look out for each other in the months to come. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Rob Feldacker, president