In my January President’s Blog, I wrote about the Jewish values that were guiding our congregation throughout the pandemic. I continue to feel that it is of utmost importance that we be guided by the values of Pikuah Nefesh (Safeguarding Life) and Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh (We Are Responsible for One Another). I want to be certain that all of our members feel physically and emotionally safe when they enter our building. The well-being of our community is of prime concern to our leadership, and everyone in our community should be assured that decisions about mask wearing, social distancing, attendance at services and simcha celebrations are done through a thoughtful process. Directives regarding reopening have been discussed thoroughly with our Clergy, our Executive Director and our Board of Directors and Trustees.
As we begin our journey back to KI and leave the safe circles we created for ourselves in the last 15 months, I would like to review a few of the protocols regarding wearing masks that we decided we must keep in place. Please know that we are flexible and will make changes as the need arises. It is possible that the decisions we make in June will not necessarily stand in July.
The current policy at KI is that masks are required to be worn in all of our common areas, and we are planning to extend this policy into our tented area. Therefore, when we return to in person for services on Friday, June 18, 2021 at 6:00pm mask wearing will be mandatory.
The good news is that the majority of us are now immunized. We are feeling safe, and as individuals, we are making decisions to move back to some type of a new normal life. We are returning to dining indoors and traveling to the shore for vacation. We are purchasing tickets to our crowded stadium to cheer at baseball games. We started bar-be-ques once again and invited friends over for dinner. We are traveling by plane to see loved ones we have not seen in over a year. We are no longer afraid to take a breath of fresh air!
While the CDC and the state of Pennsylvania have rules in place for most of our population, recommending that fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear masks indoors, except in hospitals, on public transit and in other specified places; these updates do not prevent municipalities and school districts from continuing and implementing stricter mitigation efforts. Therefore, as a religious community we are not bound by the CDC rules.
I am looking forward to greeting you at our first Shabbat Celebration in our “Tent of Meeting” outside of our main entrance! I will be the one in the KI mask!