We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and are closely tracking and following the decisions of local schools and Jewish institutions in our area. We are writing to share with you how Kol Ami is responding and to invite you to partner with us in mitigating the spread of the illness while we continue our sacred work under modified conditions. Please keep in mind that we are making decisions in the midst of rapidly-changing and sometimes conflicting information and, be assured, in consultation with medical professionals and government officials. Of course, we will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situations in our communities, and if warranted by changed circumstances, will modify our plans and let you know promptly.
There is a lot of information contained in this email, and we urge you to read the entire message.
First, as we have mentioned previously, we are closed this week to allow a professional cleaning service to clean and sanitize all of the rooms and buildings on our campus today and tomorrow. The company will not only clean, but also train our custodial staff in their techniques. With care and caution, our custodians will continue to deep clean our building, including disinfecting high-touch surfaces and bathrooms.
Second, we wanted to inform you that we learned last night that one of the attendees at a baby naming that took place at Kol Ami on Sunday, March 1 tested positive for COVID-19. Rabbi Milgrom, Rabbi Weiner, and Executive Director Jess Lorden were in attendance. The event was hosted by someone outside of Kol Ami. The attendee, who is not a Kol Ami member, had no symptoms at the time and only attended the event for about 10 minutes. The attendee did not have direct interaction with anyone from Kol Ami. We have confirmed with the State and County Health Departments and with an infectious disease specialist that our building is safe and that there are no restrictions placed on Kol Ami or on our Rabbis or Jess, all three of whom are symptom free.
Third, we have decided to avoid large group gatherings and, as a result, are making changes to our worship and other programming, as noted below, which will make more use of streaming and Zoom technology. We are in the process of installing new, upgraded streaming devices. If the technology is ready for Kabbalat Shabbat and Saturday morning worship services, we will provide an updated link. The streaming and Zoom technology will allow us to be together as one community even when we cannot physically be with one another. As we begin to use new and different streaming services, we ask that you be understanding if you or we experience technical difficulties.
Friday, March 13
Shabbat in the Woods. We will not be gathering in person for Shabbat in the Woods. Rabbi Shira will lead our young families using Zoom technology. Rabbi Shira will open the call at 5:25pm. CLICK HERE
to participate. Please note: our Meeting ID is 838 796 741 and the Password is 719002.
Kabbalat Shabbat. We will not be gathering in person for Friday evening services. These services will only be available by livestream starting at our usual time of 6:15 pm. To access the service, please go to our website, or CLICK HERE
Saturday, March 14
Torah Study and the Lift Service. We have cancelled this week’s Torah study and Lift service. Anyone interested in participating in a Saturday morning worship service may join the b’nai mitzvah service only via live stream by CLICKING HERE
. Only close family invited by the Mitzvah families are permitted to attend in person (see below).
Life Cycle Events, including B’nai Mitzvah and Funerals
We will continue to hold such life cycle events at Kol Ami, with the following modifications:
- We are asking all families observing a life cycle event at Kol Ami to limit their attendees to close family only, and to ask their guests to self-monitor and refrain from attending if they are in a high-risk category for the illness, or if they have reason to believe that they may have already been exposed to the virus. Livestreaming of all such life cycle services will be made available for remote viewing at our website, or by CLICKING HERE. For those limited numbers of guests who attend in person, frequent and thorough hand-washing and sanitization will be encouraged, with all necessary sanitization supplies made widely available at Kol Ami. In addition, we ask our service guests to practice social distancing to minimize physical proximity and contact among each other.
- Social gatherings in association with life cycle events are limited to those close family members in attendance.
ECP/Religious School/B’nai Mitzvah Tutoring
- Our Early Childhood Program will be closed the remainder of this week. Nan plans to welcome our ECP children back to school on Monday, March 16.
- Our Religious School will be closed through Sunday, March 15. Pam plans to re-open school on Wednesday, March 18. Pam is exploring options for on-line and remote learning sessions and will be in contact with parents as plans are finalized.
- B’nai Mitzvah Tutoring. Tutoring will take place remotely until Monday, March 16 when we anticipate in-person tutoring will resume. If there are any changes, your child’s tutor will contact your family directly to arrange for phone or video lessons.
For continued good practices, please notify either Nan or Pam, as appropriate, if your child will be absent from school, and state the reason. Any student with a fever must remain at home until he or she has been fever-free without fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours from the time the fever ended.
Adult Education/Synaplex/Torah Project
- All adult education classes and adult programming at Kol Ami through Friday, March 20, 2020 including the Synaplex event, have been cancelled. We encourage distance learning through conference calls, where possible.
- We are heading into the final weeks to participate in Torat Chayim, our Torah Project. Over the next few weeks, the final columns will be written by Soferet Julie Seltzer. The Torah dedication originally planned for April 3, 2020 will be rescheduled.
We Are All Connected!
Rabbi Shira is inviting us to join together in a blog. Shira’s introduction follows: Isolation works against our spiritual and emotional health. This blog is meant as a way for us to stay connected (we sure know that we are all connected – in so many ways 😬😌😍 !!!). It is NOT to share information (there are plenty of other sites for that.) It is for us to share our feelings, our reflections, our thoughts, our worries, our support. It is a way for us to stay spiritually and emotionally connected. I look forward to sharing our feelings – without judgment. Just a safe place to be present for one another. To join this blog, go to www.NYKolAmi.org/WeAreAllConnected
Caring for Our Community
We understand that we are living through a challenging time and that each new day may bring concern, stress, uncertainty, and isolation. Please know that we are here for you and your loved ones. Let’s continue to look out for and care for one other. If anyone is in need of support, even just a friendly voice on the other end of a phone, please let us know. We have no doubt that, together, this incredible Kol Ami community will reach calmer days ahead.