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Coronavirus/COVID-19

Announcement - July 1, 2020

Dear Temple Family,

In March, our world turned upside down. Only a few days after our celebration of Purim, a holiday of masks ironically enough, the spread of COVID-19 lead to our becoming a virtual Temple without walls. I am grateful to all of our staff and leaders who helped make the transition go smoothly. Despite all the obstacles, it has been remarkable to witness the engagement through the consistent participation in our Shabbat services, flourishing adult education programs, and other online experiences.  The technology that links us together also enables us to provide programming throughout the summer, more than we have ever done at Temple Shalom. Whether one stays in Naples, or returns North, all it takes is the click of a button to stay connected. 

Many have asked when we will be together at Temple Shalom. The task force, led by Dr. Allen Weiss, provided useful guidelines to help us plan the next steps for re-opening. Our office staff returns to the building this week, although we are still not yet having face-to-face interactions or programs in the building. After three months of leading services to an empty sanctuary, I cannot wait for the day when we are back together to share in the joy of Shabbat. At the same time, I remain concerned for the safety and well-being of our Temple Family. Studies on the effect of singing and chanting to spread the virus show that our normal worship experiences create conditions that would spread the virus rapidly. Recognizing the challenges, we are investing in new ways to enhance the online experiences, while at the same time also thinking outside the box for creative and interactive approaches (like the cheesecakes on Shavuot). Still, those experiences cannot replace what it is like to be physically present with another person. Know that as soon as it is safe, we will be having members in the building.

There is also the $64,000 question – although that reference dates me – what will happen this year for High Holy Days? Right now, the answer is unclear. With rising cases, health concerns, and social distancing guidelines, we know that will not be able to have the experience exactly as it has been at Temple Shalom. At least a portion will be virtual. Our clergy team and staff are thinking outside the box about creative ways to make the holidays meaningful and memorable this year. That may include shofar caravans travelling to different neighborhoods, adapted services, an apples & challah pickup, tashlich picnic dinner, and virtual holiday honors. In order to choose the best path, we are collecting information and waiting to see how conditions develop. A formal notice will go out toward the end of July when more is known about the COVID-19 situation.

Our message, “One Family, Many Connections,” has never been more meaningful than it is today. Through our online community we stayed linked together during this pandemic and social distancing. I received countless emails expressing gratitude for phone calls, emails, and programs from Temple Shalom that helped individuals feel connected at a time of isolation. Those connections are vital, and it important for all of us to stay in touch. In the past, we relied upon those interactions that took place during visits to the building – whether attending worship services, participating in a program, or visiting the gift shop – members would run into one another and catch up. Without that physical center bringing us together, please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing. We welcome knowing how things are going in your life, what we can do to meet your needs, and ideas you may have for strengthening our congregation and community.

Once again, I hope that we will find comfort from the wisdom of King Solomon, gam zeh ya’avor – this too shall pass. We pray that this pandemic will pass speedily and that those who are struggling with be blessed with the strength, courage and hope they need to move forward. Together, may we draw blessing from one another, knowing that as One Family, we are stronger together.

L’shalom,

Rabbi Adam Miller

 

Announcement - June 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

We know this has been a difficult time in our lives. This is certainly not what I anticipated for the start of my presidency! Thank you so much with your patience with the new “normal” at Temple Shalom.  As you know, out of concern for the health and safety of our congregation, we abruptly closed the “physical” building of Temple Shalom on March 16. Overnight, we transformed into a virtual community with worship services, funerals, b’nei mitzvah, adult education, family engagement, our 2nd night Seder, and socializing all taking place online. I applaud our staff and clergy for being able to make this rapid transition quickly and smoothly for our One Family.

While we found great success in this online transition, our Temple clergy, staff and lay leadership all recognize the importance of “being together.” Like many of you, we miss the opportunity to sit in a room together, share our voices in worship, and feel the warmth of our Temple Shalom Family. All of us wonder, what will happen for the High Holy Days? At the same time, we are cognizant of the risks posed to many in our community for exposure to COVID-19, as well as the challenges created by our style of worship. Research demonstrates that singing, chanting and speaking loudly can cause the virus to spread more than three times further than it does with regular speech. In the case of singing, wearing a mask does not prevent the potential spread of contagions. Several churches that gathered early experienced subsequent outbreaks.

With that in mind, we brought together a task force, whose members represent a diverse set of skills and backgrounds that include medical experience, non-profit administration, practicing law, and risk management. Dr. Allen Weiss, former CEO of NCH, chairs the group. Other members include Rabbi Adam Miller, Deborah Fidel, Susan Hager, Jason Korn, Dan Spintman, Merrill HassenfeldScott Newman and myself. Balancing our values with the use of data and established medical guidelines, they will prepare protocols and guidelines that will advise the decisions made by the Board of Trustees and staff going forward.

I appreciate your continued support and understanding as we take these steps to safely address the needs of our Temple Family. Please know that I welcome your comments or feedback. While we might be facing unprecedented times, I know that together, as One Family, we will get through this.

Wishing you a summer of blessing, joy, and good health,

Daryl Sissman, Temple President

 

Announcement - March 16, 2020
 
Dear Friend (s),
 
Kol Ha-Olam Kulo Gesher Tzar M’od, V’ha-ikar lo l’fachad k’lal
"The whole world is a narrow bridge, and the main thing is to not have fear."

That teaching from Reb Nachman of Bratzlav resonates with us during this time. We feel the narrowness of the world, we sense its fragility, yet we also seek to live by our hope, not our fear. Toward that end, we embrace what it means to be One Family – here to support one another through this uncertain time. Know that our clergy and senior staff remain accessible to you at any time for any reason. Call 239-455--3030 for rabbinic or pastoral assistance. Please let us know if you are feeling isolated, or unable to leave your home, and need assistance.  We will do everything within our power to support each of you spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
 
Thank you to the members of our crisis advisory team, which includes medical professionals, clergy, staff and lay leadership, for their dedicated effort to guide us through this difficult period. The team includes Dr. Larry Albert, Dr. Eric Hochman, Dr. Mark Rubin, and Dr. Allen Weiss, who bring experience from their special fields and work with our local hospitals, as well as Dr. Lydia Bond who worked internationally with the World Health Organization (WHO).


After careful deliberation and reflection, Temple Shalom will be a fully virtual synagogue without walls for the coming weeks.
 
SHABBAT SERVICES
Shabbat worship will be observed virtually. We encourage everyone to shift to virtual religious services via our live-stream on our website. Anyone remembering a loved one will hear (and watch on-screen) their relative's name recited. We are blessed to have high-definition streaming that makes watching services from home on any phone, computer, or television possible. If a member wishes to postpone the reading of a loved one's name until they are able to attend worship in person, contact the rabbis' office and we will gladly oblige. You may call Randi Butterworth at 239-455-3030 or email her at rbutterworth@naplestemple.org. For those planning to stay home, you can order copies of Mishkan Tefila for Shabbat here (for Kindle) and here (hard copy).
 
ONLINE CONTENT
Our clergy and staff are working on new online experiences to meet the needs of our synagogue without walls. Please stay tuned to our social media, website, and emails to learn more about exciting ways to stay in touch during this time.

ADULT LEARNING
Adult learning classes including Melton classes, Wise Aging, Jewish Spirituality, and Torah study will move to exclusively virtual settings. Please note that all classes will be postponed for one week as we move into this new system. Contact Jeanette Fischer (jfischer@naplestemple.org) to let us know if you want to participate in those classes virtually.
 
LIFE CYCLE EVENTS
At this time, all lifecycle events will continue as private events for immediate family. 

YOUTH EDUCATION
Religious School and Preschool are closed, in accordance with the guidelines from the department of education and the CDC. We will use information from our Collier County Public Schools and local officials to guide us in the decisions we make going forward.
 
We are One Family. Together we will push back the fear as we cross the narrow bridge over this crisis toward a better tomorrow. In time, this shall pass and tomorrow will come.
 
Shalom re'fuah u'vracha - wishing you peace, health, and blessing,
 
                
Rabbi Adam F. Miller                              Deborah Fidel                                 
Senior Rabbi                                          Executive Director

 

Announcement - March 12, 2020
 

Dear Friend(s),

We are writing to you on the topic that occupies all of our minds at the present, COVID-19.  In this time of medical angst and uncertainty, it is comforting to know we all have each other, our One Family. COVID-19 will eventually pass and thank goodness we have the science and strategies to minimize community spread in the 21st century.
 
Rabbi Micah Greenstein, from Temple Israel of Memphis, recently shared several Torah teachings that inspire us at this time of challenge:
 

  • "V'ahavta l'raiacha kamocha - Love your neighbor as yourself." This means protecting your neighbor AND your self. Until this virus is controlled and addressed medically, group gatherings decrease protection and individual safety.
  • "Matzil nefesh echad k'ilu maztil olam u'mlo'o - When you save a life, you save a world."  Here at Temple, we always err on the side of life and health. For instance, on Yom Kippur, you have heard me say from the pulpit, "If you take medications or have any health risks whatsoever, you are not only exempt from fasting, you are commanded to eat!" Until the health risks for people over 60 are lifted by the CDC - including exposing anyone who is at risk to COVID-19 - we take this Jewish obligation to heart.
  • "Tishmor nafshecha" - the Torah commands us to guard our souls, but interestingly, when it comes to guarding our physical health, the word m'od ("very" "a lot") is added. In other words, concerning physical care, Judaism commands us to be even MORE cautious and careful.
     

Because the health and well-being of our One Family is our utmost concern, we are putting preventative measures into place. Please refer to our notice from March 3, with respect to the CDC best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining personal behaviors, social distancing, and awareness in accordance with the established CDC protocols. After deliberating thoughtfully and at length with the clergy, senior staff, lay leaders, and medical advisors, we have decided to proactively take the following steps in the weeks ahead. We are of course monitoring all developments in real-time and any updates to these measures will be published via email, on our social media channels, and on our website.

SHABBAT SERVICES
Shabbat worship will continue to be observed at this time, with the exception of Soulful Shabbat which will be postponed until a later date. We encourage anyone who is not feeling well, or who is part of the most vulnerable population as defined by the CDC, to shift to virtual religious services via our live-stream on our website. Anyone remembering a loved one will hear (and watch on-screen) their relative's name recited. We are blessed to have high-definition streaming that makes watching services from home on any phone, computer, or television possible. If a member wishes to postpone the reading of a loved one's name until they are able to attend worship in person, contact the Rabbi's office and we will gladly oblige. You may call Randi Butterworth at 239-455-3030 or email her at rbutterworth@naplestemple.org. For those planning to stay home, you can order copies of Mishkan Tefila for Shabbat here (for Kindle) and here (hard copy).
 
Shabbat oneg policies have changed, significantly limiting the food that will be presented on Friday night in order to reduce risks of contamination. Kiddush lunches are suspended until further notice.

ADULT LEARNING & SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE
All adult learning classes including Melton classes, Wise Aging, Jewish Spirituality, and Torah study will continue until further notice. We will be adding a Zoom option for those who wish to stay connected but are unable to attend in person. Please contact Jeanette Fischer (jfischer@naplestemple.org) to let us know if you want to participate in those classes virtually.
 
Our Scholar-in-Residence weekend is postponed. With travel restrictions on faculty now in place, Rabbi Andrea Weiss is unable to visit our community. We look forward to rescheduling this event in the future.

LIFE CYCLE EVENTS
At this time, all lifecycle events will continue as planned, including baby namings, and bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, and shivas. 

FACILITY, LARGE GATHERINGS & OUTSIDE GROUPS
Conscious of those coming into our building, we have taken additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We increased cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing of all public spaces, particularly the sanctuary, social hall, and restrooms. At this time, any large gatherings by outside groups coming into the Temple Shalom facility will be suspended. Small meetings will be permitted, with an awareness for observing social distancing and abiding by the established CDC guidelines.

YOUTH EDUCATION
Religious School and Preschool remain open. We will use information from Collier County Public Schools and local officials to guide us in the decisions we make going forward.
 
MEN’S CLUB & SISTERHOOD
Leader from Temple's wonderful Men’s Club and Sisterhood will be in touch with their constituents regarding protocol and programmatic changes for any upcoming events.

Faith in Judaism means believing that things WILL be alright, even if darkness makes tomorrow's light hard to see. Our clergy and staff - remain accessible to you at any time for any reason. Call 239-455--3030 for rabbinic or pastoral assistance and our clergy will reach back immediately.

We will do everything within our power to support each of you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. How blessed we are to be One Family at Temple Shalom.

Shalom re'fuah u'vracha - wishing you peace, health, and blessing,
 
                               
Rabbi Adam F. Miller                              Deborah R. Fidel                                
Senior Rabbi                                           Executive Director                         

 

Announcement - March 3, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in China and subsequent positive cases in the United States, Temple Shalom would like to provide some important health information. As is our practice in all health-related cases, we are turning to the Collier County Department of Health (CDH), the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for additional guidance.

Practicing good hygiene can help to limit the spread of viruses in our community. A virus may live on surfaces such as doorknobs. As a safeguard, custodial staff will continue to regularly clean our worship spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms and common areas.

The current recommended precautions to avoid exposure to the virus are the same precautions you would take to avoid the flu. To keep your family safe:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, kissing, hugging, and sharing cups, food, or eating utensils with others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs and handrails.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

We have hand sanitizer around the building. While sanitizers are effective, hand washing with soap and water is always preferred to the use of sanitizers.

We will be continuing to monitor this situation and update you when new relevant information is available. You may find additional information at:


Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Florida Department of Health
Collier County Health Department

Thank you.

 

Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780