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Update: Friday, October 30

Dear Friends,

We want to share with you the impact on Beth Am’s programming from Santa Clara County’s recent move into the Orange (Moderate) Risk Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of our congregants and staff, while maintaining high quality virtual experiences so that all of our members may continue to participate as fully as possible in the programs of our congregation.

Although worship services may now take place indoors in a limited capacity, singing indoors is still prohibited. For this reason, we will continue to hold Shabbat and other worship services virtually instead of in-person. You will notice that when our clergy are leading services from Beth Am, they are in separate rooms, by themselves, so that they may safely lead us in the musical aspects of our liturgy.

Our youth education programs began earlier this month in a virtual format. To supplement our online education program, the clergy and education teams are exploring opportunities to bring together, on campus, small cohorts of students, beginning in January 2021. We will share further details about these plans in December. We continue to hold small in-person gatherings for religious ceremonies, such as baby namings and weddings. In early November we will host the Confirmation ceremony that could not take place for our 10th grade students last spring.

With a few exceptions, such as the small preschool that rents space on our site, our facility remains closed. In-person adult education programs and office work are both restricted at this point. Our administrative offices are closed. Although we are eager to see you in person, please do not come to Beth Am unless you have an appointment to do so.

A Note about the Election: This year, Beth Am is not a polling place. While presently there are no credible threats to local Jewish institutions, we are in communication with local law enforcement and Jewish community security resources in order to remain informed and vigilant. If at any point there is reason to believe our personnel or facility are threatened due to post-election civil unrest or for any other reason, we are prepared and will communicate our plans for responding. On Wednesday, November 4, and Sunday, November 8, we invite you to join with the clergy for two non-partisan, post-election virtual gatherings in which we will reflect on our hopes for unity and reconciliation through conversation, prayer, and song.

We are committed to keeping our community and our staff safe and secure and to complying fully with public health orders and mandatory guidance. The virtue-based ethics of Mussar, a spiritual practice that gives concrete instructions on how to live a meaningful and ethical life, is based on the idea that by cultivating inner virtues, we improve ourselves. The difficulties of the past eight months have required us, daily, to rededicate ourselves to the practice of the middah (virtue) of savlanut (patience). While we all long to be together in person at Beth Am, we will continue taking a more conservative approach than state guidance: the imperative of pikuach nefesh (the preservation of human life) serves as our lodestar as we navigate our congregation through the dangers of this pandemic. We are grateful for your partnership in these efforts.

L’Shalom,

Andy Cheng, President
Rachel Gibson, COVID Recovery Chair
Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison, Senior Rabbi
Rachel Tasch, Executive Director

Fri, November 27 2020 11 Kislev 5781