As a member of the Board of Directors and the Reopening Task Force, a lot of questions have been on my mind, especially now as the new CBA Board President. The main one is: how do we reopen and make everyone feel safe? How do we start to have congregant participation on the campus as we are still in the midst of a pandemic? How do we proceed with the three strategic planning focus points 1) Engaging young BACNS families in the CBA community 2) Assessing our Congregational Spiritual and Rabbinic needs and 3) Expanding activities on the campus?
What can we keep from the old ways and what do we start anew? Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch and sometimes it’s easier to take what we have and expand on it. As we re-enter society and until we can get everyone including our children vaccinated, is anyone completely safe? And for those who can’t or won’t get vaccinated, how do we keep them safe? What does “safe” mean to you? Is it CBA’s obligation to keep you safe while on the campus? And what level of safety should CBA provide? Besides the ever-changing local conditions, these are questions the Task Force has been mulling over for months.
We all know that not everyone is comfortable transitioning back into a maskless society. It is one of the reasons we have approached reopening at the current pace. What is everyone’s comfort level when praying or gathering together? What is safe inside and outside? Do we continue to use Zoom and in what capacity? What are the safety rules now for social gatherings like Shabbat dinners, committee meetings, visiting the campus spaces, interacting with the nursery school and the wider community on the campus? And what about various sized gatherings? How do we not lose connection with each other?
We all have opinions. We can get facts on what the CDC and the county says. That doesn’t change how I feel or you feel. It’s about how EVERYONE feels. Besides Divine protection that I am grateful for, how can we protect each other’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being?
As Rabbi Miller tells us, it’s about TLC. I agree. Tender loving care is one of the things I pray for every day. TLC for me includes respect for each other, patience, and awareness of how others feel. My “emotional” compass needs to be fine-tuned not just about how I feel but about how others feel and where their comfort level is. I hope others feel that way too. The metaphor about walking in someone else’s shoes comes to mind.
Thank you, Carolyn, for leading us to this point. It’s been a difficult journey for the last year and a half (and well before that too). You and Henry have kept us moving. Thank you both. Rabbi Miller, your positive energy, guidance, comfort, wisdom, spiritual work, and leadership has uplifted all of us. Much appreciation and thanks to you and your family. There are many others to thank as well: our dedicated staff, service leaders, the Board of Directors, event planners, committees, connectors and contributors to our Congregation. And we thank Lisa Iskin for the musical gifts she has shared with us.
As Kevin Schierer, our new Executive Director, gets acclimated to our community and teams with Rabbi Miller, the Board of Directors, staff, myself, and others, I am confident we can move forward.
I know it is part of my job to help set the tone so I will be in person on the campus a lot more now. The office is open five days a week and we have in person services on Shabbat morning starting June 26th. I hope you and yours can feel a sense of comfort and refuge when stepping on the campus. We all want a safe “home” away from home and that is what Beth Ami has been for many of us.
The new protocols to enter the campus safely should be posted on the doors, gates, and on-line as of this writing. Please make sure to read them every time you plan to enter the campus as they will be updated as needed. The next general board of directors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 13th. Details as to time and place will be announced the week before in Cybershul and available in the office.
As we get closer to the High Holidays, which are early this year, I want to apologize if I have missed the mark and made anyone feel unsafe, disrespected, or unheard.
And please take part in up-coming events. Re-entry together can happen safely as long as we think of each other.
Be well and hope to see you soon,
Congregation Beth Ami President,
2021 – 2022