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Update: Wednesday, March 4

Dear Friends,

We're sure that, like us, you've been following the evolving news of the COVID-19 outbreak with concern. Today the Santa Clara Health Department announced that there are 11 confirmed cases of the virus in our county. As you know, the risk of illness and fatality increases with age. The county issued a recommendation that all people over 50 avoid large gatherings to minimize their exposure and slow the spread of the virus.

After much discussion, mindful of the fact that many of those who participate in our gatherings are seniors, we have decided that we will not hold Friday night services this week. We had planned to honor our milestone members and founders, but will postpone this celebration to a later date. A livestream of our Friday night service, with a sermon by Rabbi Weissman, will be available by going to www.betham.org/streaming. We encourage all of you to watch from home, starting at 6:15 PM.

The following activities will also be cancelled: Tot Shabbat this Friday night; Torah Study this coming Shabbat morning; the screening of "Genocide" on Saturday afternoon; the Family Purim Carnival on Sunday afternoon; the Adult Purim celebration on Monday night; and the presentation by Dr. Laura Dunn on Tuesday night, March 10. We hope to reschedule the film, Purim celebrations and Laura Dunn presentation for a later date, once the health situation appears stable and safe.

The following events will NOT be cancelled and will be held as scheduled: the Sanctuary (Bar Mitzvah) service at 10:30 AM on Shabbat morning; Torah Minyan at 10:15 a.m. on Shabbat morning; Sunday program and Hebrew program session 1, Thursday Talmud class at noon; Thursday evening Building Blocks class. Mazel tov to the family of Sam Goldman, who will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat. The service will take place as planned, but there will be no kiddush lunch following the service.

We made these decisions reluctantly, since our Shabbat and Purim gatherings are always wonderfully festive times for the community to gather, but we did not think it would be responsible to sponsor such gatherings at this time. The health, safety and well-being of all those in our community must always be our first priority — and our highest value, as Jews, must be to choose life and protect life.

Please know that we are increasing the cleaning frequency of high-touch surfaces at Beth Am and providing hand sanitizer at many locations around campus; our clergy will also refrain from handshakes, hugs and kisses to lessen the risk of infection. Please remember, as well, to follow recommended guidelines for good respiratory hygiene: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid close contact with people who are ill; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean your hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Thank you for your understanding and support during this challenging time. We look forward to resuming our services and celebrations when it is safe to do so.

L'shalom,

Rabbi Janet Marder and the Program Team

Sun, August 9 2020 19 Av 5780