Dear Narayever Members,
These are difficult times. The Coronavirus is taking a toll world wide and is expected to increase in Ontario. Events are moving quickly, and the shul is making decisions in response.
We are aware of the actions that other shuls are taking and are following announcements and recommendations from Toronto Public Health and the Provincial Medical Officer of Health. We are also consulting with infectious disease specialists within our congregation.
As of today, we have decided to take the following actions:
· All family and children's programming, events and services are cancelled until further notice. This includes Shabbat babysitting and programming, starting this Shabbat March 14, as well as the upcoming Family Shabbat Service (March 21), Nashir B'Rina (March 22) and Kabbalat Shabbat for Families (March 27). Narayever Family and Youth will be in touch about future programs as the situation unfolds further.
· There will be no kiddush at services tomorrow and until further notice.
· Anyone who is ill, or has even mild symptoms, is asked to stay home and not attend services.
· Anyone who feels that they are vulnerable due to age or pre-existing conditions is advised to consider if they should stay away from services.
· For those who will be attending services please be sure to follow the advice from Toronto Public Health to take the usual prevention measures to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory illness, including:
· While a special characteristic of the Narayever is its haymischness, given the circumstances and evolving situation we should additionally:
Note that as of now, we are going ahead with services under the modified protocols described above. This decision is in line with that taken by virtually all the other Toronto synagogues at this time. We are monitoring the situation constantly and will advise if there is any change. The shul leadership has the responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the congregation, but individuals also will make their own decisions about attendance at communal events.
Services will take place this week for the first time at our two new locations. Friday night and Sunday morning services will be at 102B Harbord St. Shabbat morning services will be at the Leo Baeck Day School.
Also, the UJA has arranged for all the ShinShinim, including our own Gaya and Danna, to return to Israel next week. We are sad to see them leave and look forward seeing them again, hopefully after Pesach. We wish them well.
We will keep members informed of any further changes or actions. We urge all to take precautions to prevent acquiring or spreading this virus. Please let Rabbi Elkin know if you are ill or would just like to talk at this time of great anxiety. The shul community would like to be of support to its members as we face this together.
In times of trouble, we draw on the resources of our tradition. The Psalmist asked, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where will come my help?” Obviously, there are many practical things individuals and communities can do to help, some of which are listed above. There are also critical steps that our hardworking health care workers, scientists, and government officials are doing. But as a religious community, we affirm that another action we can take at this time of crisis is to pray. The Psalmist said “My help will come from Adonai, Maker of Heaven and Earth. God will not allow your foot to slip…Adonai is Your Sentinel…guarding your very life.” Let us each pray individually or communally, in the traditional language of the siddur or in the words that well up in our hearts, that with God’s help this crisis may pass quickly, with a minimum of suffering for individuals in our congregation, in our wider society, and around the world.
Rabbi Ed Elkin
Anna Pace, President