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Update: Friday, June 4, 2021

Dear Friends,

No matter when it happens, your first steps back on our beautiful campus will feel special — like a homecoming. Some of us already know what it feels like to re-enter our verdant Outdoor Chapel, our sunlit Beit Kehillah and our haimish Conference Room. Soon it will be your turn! In advance of Beth Am’s reopening to in-person activities on July 1, we want to provide more information on what to expect. This is based on current information and science; future activities may become more or less restrictive based on updated information.

What will be open?
Most everything will resume as of July 1. Please review this chart for specifics. Many activities will continue to be available through Zoom or livestream, as well as in person.


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Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for participation?
We urge everyone who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Our Jewish value of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) supports the decision to be vaccinated. Currently, all clergy and staff are vaccinated, and we are requiring all volunteers to be vaccinated. Congregants (and guests of congregants) will not be required to be vaccinated in order to participate in Beth Am events.

Will I need to wear a mask?
Unvaccinated people are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors. Vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors but are required to wear masks indoors. Although California plans to follow the CDC guidance that allows vaccinated people not to wear a mask for most activities, we will still have unvaccinated individuals in our presence, in particular children. For their sake, we will ask everyone to continue to wear a mask at Beth Am events when indoors. Exceptions will be made for small group meetings of adults where everyone is vaccinated. Anyone who is more comfortable wearing a mask (indoors or outdoors) is encouraged to wear a mask.

When may I attend Shabbat services in person? How?
Starting in July, we will resume Shabbat worship in our beautiful Outdoor Chapel on Friday nights. In-person attendance is limited to 170 people due to the capacity of the Outdoor Chapel. Please register on the website calendar event for each Shabbat. Registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and we ask that you choose one Shabbat in July to allow as many people to attend as possible. If registration is full, please choose another Shabbat to attend. We cannot accommodate unregistered people at this time; it’s a matter of having enough seats. Please register only for members of your household. We will continue to provide access via livestream at betham.org/streaming, on our YouTube channel, or on the Beth Am Facebook page, starting at 6:15 PM.

What about the High Holy Days?
We are beginning to plan, and we want to hear from you! We will be sending you a survey in the near future, so we can incorporate your input into our planning. Our clergy will lead inspiring worship and music from our sanctuary bima as we experience a homecoming, returning to our beautiful Beth Am campus as a community for the High Holy Days. We intend to provide high quality livestream access as well. More information will follow about the schedule and registration for specific services; watch your mail in early August. Erev Rosh Hashanah begins Monday, September 6!

Will there be food?
Eventually! While we expect restrictions on food service to be lifted as of June 15, we may not be ready to accommodate large group events with self-service food right away, such as an Oneg Shabbat. We will probably start small with “bring-your-own” events and build slowly toward larger buffet events.

What other changes will there be?
Ventilation: We have consulted with our HVAC vendor, who has reviewed our ventilation systems. We are in the process of upgrading our air filters and changing them more often. You will notice we keep doors and windows open to improve air flow.

“Virtual” nights: The campus will be open as usual for activities, like classes and committee meetings, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Activities on other nights (Monday and Tuesdays in particular) will take place virtually unless otherwise specified. This is both to save money as well as to acknowledge our learning this year how working together remotely can be effective. If you need to schedule an event or meeting, please email setup@betham.org .

How can I help?
We need additional volunteers to help with greeting, including registration and check in. If you are able to arrive a little early to events so that we can welcome everyone, please email Paige Kaplan so we can bring you on board.

We also need help with Zoom hosting and other AV support in our new hybrid world. If you have become a Zoom enthusiast this past year, or you are an amateur stage-hand, and you feel comfortable (with some additional training) providing assistance, please email zoom@betham.org so we can bring you on board.

The clergy, staff and board of directors are eager to welcome you home to Beth Am!

Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison
Jay Hirsh, President
Rachel Gibson, Co-Chair, Reopening Committee
Rachel Tasch, Executive Director

Sat, June 19 2021 9 Tammuz 5781