Dear Temple Solel Community,
Much of life is out of our control. Yet, how we respond to life’s challenges is indeed in our hands, and a measure of our character as individuals and as a community. Though surely imperfect, we can take pride in how Temple Solel has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. We’ve stayed connected through phone calls, meals delivered, a generously seeded Hardship Fund, wonderful learning and worship services over Zoom and livestream, and so much more. Before we share plans for Temple Solel’s Phase 3 in our COVID-19 response, let’s take a moment to review the steps we have taken with Phases 1 & 2.
Phase 1: March 14, 2020, Temple Solel was proactive in making the early decision to shut down, shelter-in-place and work from home. Clergy officiation continued for funerals and unveilings with limited attendees in masks and social distanced. Life cycle (b’nai mitzvah and weddings) were postponed and rescheduled. Other core temple functions including Raker Religious School, Torah study, and adult education classes continued via Zoom.
Phase 2: Summer 2020, reopening The Solel Camp and The Solel Preschool with reduced numbers and strict protocol, offering b’nai mitzvah via zoom or in-person, with attendees in masks and social distanced. Clergy led services from the bimah, live streaming, including High Holy Days.
Phase 3: April 2021, careful planning for a cautious reopening is underway in consultation with our COVID-19 Response Task Force and vetted through our Board of Trustees and clergy. We are mindful of the latest reports of declining COVID-19 test positivity, deaths, and hospitalizations and growing percentages of people being vaccinated. We continue to monitor daily public health updates, consult with public health professionals, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, local Reform and Conservative synagogues, and churches. We are now on the path to in-person services and other functions in and outside the temple in line with the following tentative schedule (subject to review as necessary):
• Staff to return to the office full-time, with appropriate safety protocols in place–April 5
• Clergy to resume, as allowed, pastoral visits to hospitals, rehab and assisted nursing facilities–April 12
• Clergy and staff to resume 1-1 meetings, by appointment, with appropriate safety protocols in place–April 12
• Erev Shabbat services–May 28, 6:15 pm. Reopen with a maximum of 50 in attendance. Temple Solel members only. Strongly encourage members to be vaccinated (with an understanding that not all will yet be eligible or have been able to schedule an appointment). Require masks and social distancing. Ushers to greet and check in members. All members will be required to register (information to follow). Registration is required to both manage numbers and for contact tracing should anyone in attendance report testing positive.
• The Solel Preschool and Camp–June-August. Return at regular capacity, with appropriate safety protocols.
Beyond Phase 3: We are also looking ahead to the next phase regarding b’nai mitzvah, Raker Religious School, Torah study, adult education, High Holy Days, and choir.
We take these incremental steps cautiously and with our eyes open for the health and welfare of our community. Stay safe and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments, and suggestions.
In service to our beloved Temple Solel community,
Doreen Feldberg, President Board of Trustees
Rabbi John A. Linder
Peter Pishko, Executive Director
Rabbi Debbie Stiel
Todd Herzog, Cantorial Soloist
Mary Ann Bloom, Director of Early Childhood Education
Tobee Waxenberg, Raker Religious School Director