Coronavirus: A Message to Our Community

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Dear Temple Israel Members & Friends,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we create a communal response to COVID-19. As we try to balance our lives and the reality of an uncertain environment, the safety of our “family of families” is paramount. Please know that we are here for you, whether in person or virtually, as we respond as a synagogue during these unprecedented times. Temple Israel is a true sanctuary for so many of us and provides not only a place to call home but a community of support, love, learning and inspiration, even as we are challenged in this pandemic.

While we have no knowledge that anyone has or has had, in our community, COVID-19, reliable sources are telling us that the best way to slow this disease is sadly for us to socially distance ourselves from one another. These new difficult decisions are the result of our spiritual and lay leadership, as informed by local public health officials and based on national responses and recommendations, including the CDC and NY State & City Health Departments.

Starting this evening, Friday, March 13minimally thru Passover, Temple Israel will be open ONLY for the religious life of our congregation – Friday Kabbalat Shabbat, 6:00 – 7:00pm, Saturday Torah Study, 9:15-10:15am with Healing Prayer and Kaddish, Passover Services and should someone need the Temple for a b’rit or a funeral. Otherwise we’ll create a virtual community via Facebook, Instagram and TI LIVE STREAMING formally beginning Wednesday, March 18th! Look for an email next Monday, about virtual alternative programming. TI CONNECT is coming daily to you!

  • ECLC – Tomorrow will be our last day of formal classes in the building. Wednesday, March 18 Lisa Samick & ECLC staff will offer age appropriate virtual programming and home delivered activities for every student!
  • Religious School – Well-equipped with digital content and veteran teachers who’ve been trained in high-tech distance learning, we’ll expand our distance learning and engaging education and time for community connections. This will begin on Monday, March 30th at regular class times!
  • Adults – Stay tuned for next week’s announcement of new virtual TI CONNECT, twice daily creative virtual moments to draw us closer together for learning, celebration and connectivity. New ways to be part of a kehillah kedoshah, a special sacred community.
  • Pastoral Clergy Care – As always, we’re only a phone call away, or better yet a face-to-face conversation on FaceTime! Let us know, if you’d like a call? We’re available to you. If you have life-cycle needs, please email Rabbi Gelfand, or call, 212-249-5000, ext 480.
  • Oneg or Kiddush – All foods are individually wrapped or will be professionally served items.
  • Cleaning – Our operations team is following strict protocols, several times daily. You are required to wash your hands to enter Temple Israel; please stay at home if you feel the least bit sick.
  • LIVE STREAMING – We’re always connected for Shabbat Eve or Torah Study and more is in the works. Connect virtually

Please know that these decisions will continually be re-evaluated and have been made with great care and with your health and safety as our top priority. We all want to help mitigate the spread of this disease. We are praying for each of you and those impacted by COVID-19 globally. We are grateful for your understanding, your partnership and your confidence in Temple Israel. Though we can’t gather in all the traditional ways we’re used to, we’ll find how to remain connected to Torah, God and one another. Or as our Rabbi has been reminding us, “Amidst our anxiety and even panic, let’s remember that we’re measured not by how we live when life is easy, but how humane we can be as we face life’s challenges. May God bless us with wisdom, courage and strength.”


Rabbi David Gelfand
Heather Getman, President and the TI Officers
Andrew Hoffman, Board Chair

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