As you know, the most recent variant of COVID-19 has caused an acute and rapid increase in infections in a number of areas of the country, including Northeast Ohio. Our healthcare system is stretched to its limits, the rate of positive tests is unprecedented and rising, and is especially high among asymptomatic individuals. This rapidly unfolding situation has required a full re-evaluation of our safety procedures and precautions. Throughout this pandemic, The Temple-Tifereth Israel has been guided by core Jewish values in caring for and serving our clergy and staff, congregants, and members of the community at large. At this time, given the virulence of this disease and the increased difficulty in distinguishing between the infected and the healthy, and out of concern for so many who are vulnerable in our midst, we must be guided by the commandments not to place a stumbling block before the blind, and to facilitate healing and the administration of healthcare for others. We must answer the call to exercise greater responsibility and care for each other, and take to heart the commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
With a heavy heart and following much consideration and discussion, we have decided to cease in-person services and public programs, and to only offer online worship and learning opportunities for a period of three weeks (from December 23, 2021 to January 13, 2022.) During this time, we will continue to livestream our Shabbat Services, will work with our affiliates to make alternate plans for previously in-person events, and conduct all adult learning virtually. Our Temple Learning Center and Ganon Gil families will receive additional and detailed information from us shortly. We will continue to re-evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis and keep you informed of our next steps. We ask you to continue to contact us and inform us of your needs, concerns, and joys. As we have demonstrated throughout the past twenty one months, our community is strong, caring, and vibrant. We will support each other and weather this challenge together.
As our beloved Temple implements these restrictive and necessary precautions, we call upon all members of our greater community to exercise masking, distancing, and hygienic precautions strictly and conscientiously. We call upon all who are not vaccinated to vaccinate as soon as possible, and those who are eligible for the booster vaccine shot and have not yet received it to do so at their earliest convenience. Vaccination would enhance your personal immunity, diminish the severity of the disease should you contract this virus, and reduce the public health risks for our entire community. We call upon all to recognize the sanctity of every life, the Jewish obligation to maintain our health and well-being, the urgent need for solidarity, and act accordingly. Together, we can combat this pandemic and reduce its impact upon our lives. We must.
With all good wishes for a better, healthier, safer, and happier 2022,
Interim Executive Director