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JCT Medical Update for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Dear Friend,

As Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are upon us, we look forward to a meaningful and inspiring Tefillah.  We thank each and every one of you for your ongoing vigilance, which has prevented a single instance of viral transmission or quarantine in our shul, while providing uninterrupted service the entire year.     

We remind you that it is the unanimous recommendation of our medical committee, as well as that of the CDC and NJ Department of Health, that all individuals mask in public places, regardless of vaccination status. 

While we are extremely grateful that vaccination has prevented the need for hospitalization in the overwhelming majority of cases of “breakthrough infections”, we do not wish for anyone to have to choose between coming to shul and feeling safe and protected. 

As we have to this point, we can continue to do much to demonstrate our care, concern, and responsibility for each other.   

We feel blessed that our congregation has achieved nearly universal vaccination amongst those eligible, if not universal vaccination.  Any unvaccinated individuals must mask at all times, including children under twelve.  As we have communicated previously, our shul policy is that any guests that are coming for the holidays must be vaccinated. 

At the indoor Ashkenaz minyan, please be advised that if any individual feels that the masking recommendation of our medical committee will be too difficult to observe, he or she should sit in the first three rows.  The rest of the sanctuary will be dedicated to individuals with masks.

To help provide an additional measure of comfort for those davening indoors, we will have overflow seating in the Stein auditorium on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur to allow for those who wish to mask and distance from others outside of their family.

May Hashem inscribe us all in the book of good health and life in 5782. 

May we, in turn, demonstrate the kind of care and concern for each other that makes us all the more deserving of Divine blessings.

Respectfully Yours,

Daniel Fridman, Rabbi

JCT Medical Committee

JCT Medical Committee Update 8/5/21

Dear Friend,

We thank each and every one of you for your kind cooperation in ensuring that we can safely run our programming, as we have, and God willing, will continue to do, each and every day.

In light of the dynamic health situation, please note that, as of this Shabbat (8/7):

1.  Kiddush will be moved outside.

2.  Seudah Shlishit will be temporarily put on hold.  Rabbi Fridman will deliver his weekly Ramban shiur between mincha and ma'ariv.

3.  We strongly encourage each and every person to mask while in shul, in accordance with CDC and NJDOH guidelines. Any unvaccinated individual must wear a mask at all times in shul.   

4.  To enable those who only feel comfortable davening in a completely masked environment to do so, the Shabbat hashkamah minyan will be a fully masked minyan.  The Ba'al Koreh and Shaliach Tzibbur may elect not to wear a mask.

5. In advance of the coming holidays, please note that all guests should be fully vaccinated to enable us to continue maintaining the safe environment in which we have operated throughout this challenging time.  

6.  We will continue to carefully evaluate the data on an ongoing basis and update our policies accordingly.

We thank you once again for your cooperation and look forward to continuing to safely operate as your center for davening, learning, and chessed, each and every day.

JCT Medical Committee

JCT Medical Committee Update 7/30/21

Dear Friend,

We hope this message finds you and your family in good health and enjoying the summer.

We are grateful that we have been able to safely run our shul programming every single day, and, God willing, will continue to do so.

Many of you are aware that CDC updated their guidelines this week, in light of the spread of Delta variant, to encourage vaccinated individuals to mask in crowded indoor spaces in localities with substantial or high incidence of Covid-19.  Bergen County is identified as an area with substantial spread, according to CDC criterion

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

In addition, the state of New Jersey, while it has not mandated masks, has strongly encouraged compliance with these CDC guidelines, especially in areas where vaccination status of the public is unknown.

As has been our policy, we want to reiterate the following:

1. While the overwhelming majority of our congregation is vaccinated, thank God, any unvaccinated individual who enters the building must wear a mask. The first three rows in both the men's and women's section are reserved for those who are masking and distancing.

2. Those who are not vaccinated, including children, should eat kiddush outdoors. We will have kiddush set up in Weiss auditorium to allow for one to easily take food from the kiddush to the parking lot. We thank Ryan Richmond and the Kiddush committee for so masterfully handling all of these details.

3. We strongly encourage anyone who is at increased risk for severe Covid, including those who are immunocompromised, to mask in consultation with their personal health provider. Anyone who is in regular contact with such high risk individuals may strongly consider masking while in shul as well..

4.  Any individual who wishes to mask, even if he/she is vaccinated, is encouraged to do so.  

5. Anyone who is feeling unwell must stay home from shul.

6. We will continue to monitor developments surrounding Covid-19, as we do on a constant basis, and, as necessary, updating shul policy.

We thank everyone for their ongoing cooperation. It is only on account of your vigilance that we have prevented any transmission of Covid in our congregation, and even a single incidence of quarantine.  

We look forward to continuing to safely run all of our operations, every single day, thanks to your cooperation.

JCT Medical Commitee Update 5/25/21

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced that beginning this Friday, May 28th, the state-wide indoor masking and distancing masking has been lifted.

Beginning on that date, all vaccinated individuals may now come to shul without masks and sit in any location they choose, without distancing. Of course, anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask for any reason should feel comfortable and welcome doing so. To show moral and emotional support for those who feel more comfortable continuing to mask, Rabbi Fridman, who is vaccinated, will continue to wear his mask for a period of time, except while speaking.  We are absolutely committed to ensuring that everyone feels comfortable in shul.

We will reserve three rows in the front of both the men’s and women’s sections for anyone who wishes to continue to observe masking and distancing, as well as for those who are not yet vaccinated, who must continue to mask and distance.

While we will not require documentation of vaccination, it goes without saying that there is a full expectation of honesty and transparency.  

Those who are immunocompromised should consult their personal physician regarding whether masking/distancing continues to be advisable.

As children are not yet vaccinated, we will continue to hold groups and youth parsha outdoors with masks.

We wish to thank everyone for their cooperation over the last fifteen months, which has required an unprecedented level of resilience and patience on the part of the community. 

Sincerely, 

JCT Medical Committee

Update from JCT Medical Commmittee 4/15/21

Dear Friend,

As we continue to monitor the medical situation in our immediate area and around the country, we are pleased that we are able to take the next step in our shul reopening process. This Shabbat, we will reintroduce (limited) singing, including Lecha Dodi, and one song during Kedusha of both Shacharit and Mussaf.  In addition, we will begin Shacharit at 9 AM with brachot.  During the week, minyan will begin with Yishtabach, for the time being.

We are only able to take these steps because of your vigilance in following all of the necessary medical steps to prevent any transmission in shul.  Your continued commitment to the health of our entire community has enabled our safe and responsible reopening.

Daniel Fridman, Rabbi

JCT Medical Committee

Updated Quarantine Policy 4/22/21

With Pesach approaching, we wish you, your loved ones, and your entire family, a Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

Please be mindful, in advance of the holiday, of our shul attendance policy:

1.  Anyone who is feeling unwell is respectfully asked to avoid shul attendance.

2.  In accordance with CDC guidelines, we observe masking and distancing in our shul space.  Masks should be at least surgical grade (cloth masks are insufficient for indoor use).

3. For those who are fully vaccinated (more than two weeks post second dose of Pfizer/Moderna vaccines), one may attend shul under all circumstances as long as one is feeling well.

4. Those who have had Covid-19 in the last ninety days are permitted to attend shul as long as they are feeling well and have received medical clearance.

5.  Those who are not fully vaccinated (not more than two weeks following the second dose of vaccine) are welcome to attend shul, provided that they are feeling well.  However, anyone who is not fully vaccinated must observe a ten day period of quarantine if they have traveled by plane or from their last exposure to someone who is Covid-19+, before they return to shul attendance.

Sat, October 23 2021 17 Cheshvan 5782