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COVID Re-Opening Task Force Update - 4.8.22

04/08/2022 03:13:32 PM

Apr8

Happy Springtime! During our most recent COVID Re-opening Task Force meeting, we have been working on finding ways for our community to get back to doing one of the central Jewish acts - eating together!

 

While we want to be able to gather to break bread together, we also know that there are members of our community who still must be incredibly careful, as the COVID disease continues to shift and has not gone away.

 

In order to allow those who are most vulnerable to join our Or Shalom family to say prayers for healing or kaddish or be a part of other important ritual moments, we are going to still require masks during our services and other key rituals. However, on Shabbat, once our services end, we will now welcome those who feel comfortable entering a mask-optional space to join us for an oneg (delicious treats as we gather after services) celebration. This approach allows those who still need to avoid such risk to leave before others in the community remove their masks. Our distinctions in gathering also allows us to serve food in other settings that do not have the same level of ritual requirement, such as our poker tournament or a B’nai Mitzvah celebration after the service. 

 

Within our school community, we are going to continue requiring students to wear masks indoors, as we are not able to create as much consistent social distancing in our classrooms. However, as the weather improves, we are also encouraging more outdoor educational moments, as well. 

 

We continue monitoring the COVID trends, the recommendations from public health organizations and our local health experts, and the regulations of our local communities to help us continue finding ways to bring people together in safe and healthy ways. Thank you for helping us make Or Shalom a community that looks out for one another. 

COVID-19 Re-Opening Update - 2.24.22

02/24/2022 02:35:07 PM

Feb24

Dear Or Shalom family, 

 

We want to share the latest updates from our COVID task force, consisting of medical experts and congregational leaders. Our task force has been renamed the “COVID re-opening task force,” with the goal of guiding our congregation back to gathering together in responsible ways that minimize risks.  

 

While we know that the State of Illinois is planning to lift its indoor mask mandate and many of our kids’ schools have shifted to a mask-optional policy, we will continue to require masks indoors for communal events, including Shabbat services and our J2 religious school. We have many members of our Or Shalom family of all ages who are immunocompromised, are going through medical treatment, and are caring for family members at risk. Or Shalom is the place that we go to pray for ourselves and our loved ones, a sanctuary for connecting with one another and with God. With compassion in our hearts, we believe this continued policy upholds our Torah’s message of caring for the most vulnerable in our midst.  

 

While the trends in COVID numbers continue to head in a good direction, our task force is creating guidelines for gatherings that include food in our space, starting with onegs after services. In the coming weeks, we will start with To-gOnegs, in which you can grab your treats to take with you following services. Our task force will continue to monitor and incorporate medical guidance and our local COVID metrics. We will update you through our weekly eblast. You can follow all of our developments on our website: https://www.orshalomlc.org/covid-19-updates.html 

 

COVID-19 Updates - 1.21.22

01/21/2022 01:59:09 PM

Jan21

We continue to pray for everyone’s health during the most recent Omicron variant surge. Our COVID Task Force met again this week to reevaluate the situation facing our congregation, and while we are still expecting the surge to continue through March, they feel it is appropriate with a few additional mitigation factors to continue to gather in-person as a community. 

 

With this new information, we will move forward with rescheduling our postponed events for in-person attendance in the near future. These dates include:

  • Chavurah Kick-Off: Tuesday, February 22
  • Jeff Metz Memorial Poker Tournament – TBD
  • Bowling Event – TBD - April  
  • Jew Crew Retreat - TBD

 

In addition to our continuing mitigation efforts, we have also purchased 10 air purifiers to utilize throughout our space and in each classroom. This will add another layer of protection in places where distancing is more difficult.

 

As a reminder, we require the following of all who come into our building: 

  • Wear a mask. Masks are required for all visitors age 2 and older, and must fully cover your nose, mouth and chin at all times.
  • Maintain a safe distance. Keep a distance of 6 feet when interacting with staff or other congregants
  • Stay home if you are sick. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and join us virtually, instead.

 

And we strongly encourage: 

  • Please get vaccinated and boosted. Data shows that the risk from the latest variant of COVID is significantly lessened when one has the most up-to-date vaccination protection. We strongly encourage all who come into our building to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 Updates - 1.7.22

01/07/2022 02:04:10 PM

Jan7

Through this recent rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, we pray for everyone's health. We are working hard to find ways to keep us connected while also helping our community remain safe and healthy. Taking into account new recommendations from local and federal health organizations and in consultation with local medical experts, Or Shalom has updated our safety measures at the temple.

 

In consultation with our experts and the various risk mitigation efforts we have in place, we are still going to hold Shabbat services in-person, as well as online, as we have been doing for a few months now. Additional programs for which we can ensure social distancing, mask wearing, and can be offered virtually at the same time may also continue as planned.

 

We require the following of all who come into our building:

  • Wear a mask. Masks are required for all visitors age 2 and older, and must fully cover your nose, mouth and chin at all times.
  • Maintain a safe distance. Keep a distance of 6 feet when interacting with staff or other congregants
  • Stay home if you are sick. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and join us virtually, instead.

 

And we strongly encourage: 

  • Please get vaccinated and boosted. Data shows that the risk from the latest variant of COVID is significantly lessened when one has the most up-to-date vaccination protection. We strongly encourage all who come into our building to be vaccinated.

 

Those upcoming events in which we could not meet all of our current standards have been temporarily delayed. We are working to reschedule them, and we will update you in the future. These events include:

 

  • Chavurah Kick off – January 12th 
  • Bowling Event – January 23rd  
  • Jew Crew Retreat – February 11-13 
  • Jeff Metz Poker Tournament – February 12th 

 

J2 Families – look out for emails from our team with further information about school. Most of our first two weeks back from break have been moved to virtual settings. We are investing in air-filtration technology that should help us safely return into our in-person learning environment as soon as possible.

 

Our COVID Task Force will meet again on January 19th to continue evaluation the situation. Please be on the lookout for more updates and other possible changes to meetings or programs.

______________________________________________________________

 

Our staff is here for you. We will continue to keep our office open during our normal operating hours, but ask that you please observe the safety precautions listed above when visiting.

  • If you do NOT have an appointment, please give us a call before arriving, so we can make sure to be prepared to greet you safely.

 

If you need anything during these times, please let us know how we can support you.

COVID-19 Updates - 1.3.22

01/03/2022 11:31:28 AM

Jan3

Dear Or Shalom Family,

 

We hope that you and your family had a wonderful new year celebration! We are wishing everyone a safe, healthy and happy New Year. 

 

Throughout the pandemic, our COVID task force, consisting of medical professionals, synagogue leaders, educators and clergy, has kept a clear vision: to ensure that our community keeps one another safe at Or Shalom gatherings by following local and national mitigation guidelines, medical advice, and social responsibility. To date, we are proud that our protocols have enabled us to celebrate b’nai mitzvah, life-cycle events, prayer services and hold religious school in person - all without any reported outbreaks. 

 

Due to the recent rise in cases due to the Omicron variant, and knowing that so many in our community took well-deserved vacations in the last few weeks, Or Shalom will follow the current recommendations of the CDC, and have limited staff presence in our building this week. Our team will still be available to answer the phones and emails and respond to your needs, as we have throughout the pandemic. If you wish to meet with a staff member, please reach out and make an appointment, so we can be sure to welcome you safely. 

 

At this time, with the surge of cases, we pray for everyone’s health and safety.  Please let us know if there is any way we can support you. We will continue to get through this together.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782