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Community You Can Believe In

For the latest on the coronavirus-19 outbreak, click here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

As you know, this is a time for caution and prevention, as COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) continues to develop on a very fluid basis. See our latest update below.

For all the information for virtual services & classes, click here: https://www.bethelwesthartford.org/online

Our Services are Online

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Beth El Family,

Thank you to everyone who tuned in last night to our livestream of evening minyan. We have been working hard to improve the online experience, and we're ready for tonight!

While services, SULAM and programs at Beth El are now cancelled through Sunday, April 5th, we are working to provide online opportunities for you. You can call into or log into our services and classes via Zoom (either the app or any web browser):
 
Sunday Morning Minyan (8:45am) — please click here for online video/audio computer or smartphone connection, or dial 1-646-876-9923 (wait) 646087702# for phone-only connection.

Weekday AM Minyan (7:00am) — please click here for online video/audio computer or smartphone connection, or dial 1-646-876-9923 (wait) 308913641# for phone-only connection.

Sunday-Thursday PM Minyan (7:30pm) — please click here for online video/audio computer or smartphone connection, or dial 1-646-876-9923 (wait) 871598464# for phone-only connection.

Friday Night Services (6:00pm) — please click here for online video/audio computer or smartphone connection, or dial 1-646-876-9923 (wait) 443707161# for phone-only connection.
 
Bible & Breakfast (8:00am Thursdays) — please click here for online video/audio computer or smartphone connection, or dial 1-646-876-9923 (wait) 872992957# for phone-only connection.
 
Also, we have an extraordinary amount of the last version of Siddur Sim Shalom that we could use for online services for the next few weeks. If you’d like to come by, beginning Thursday morning you can come in the front door and take one—they are right there, and then you can use that book to refer to for our services going forward "online".

We appreciate your patience as we learn this new form of online gathering.

Beth El Temple

Services Cancelled Effective Immediately

Friday, March 13, 2020 at 2:30pm

Dear Beth El family,

As you know, this is a time for caution and prevention, as COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) continues to develop on a very fluid basis. In less than an hour, it is anticipated that President Trump will declare a national emergency in the wake of the spreading virus.

After much consideration, we have decided to cancel all religious services, effective immediately, through Sunday, March 22nd. This is in addition to the cancellations previously announced.

There will be no Kabbalat Shabbat services this evening, nor will there be Shabbat morning services tomorrow, nor weekday morning and evening minyans. Please know this is a temporary cancellation, and we will continue to reevaluate the situation. As the situation develops and changes, we look forward to being able to resume our regular practices.

The Temple offices will be open throughout this period of time as normal (Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-5pm; Friday 8:30am-2:30pm). The professional staff is available as usual for your needs. As a precaution, hospital and nursing home visits by our clergy are being limited to emergencies only, under strict precautions mandated by the institutions to be visited. We will, of course, maintain telephone contact with ill members and their families.

We remain your spiritual home and will always be here for you. We are investigating ways to connect virtually for learning and communal "gatherings". Our audio message this week is available by clicking here. We face this challenge as a caring religious community bolstered by the values of our tradition and deep regard for each other. 

Please feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts, comments, hopes, and prayers. 

Wishing you all good health and blessings,
 
Rabbi Jim Rosen & Judith R. Rosenthal, President

SULAM on Haitus After WHPS Decision to Close

March 12, 2020

Shalom SULAM Families and Beth El Community!

Following the lead of our local public school system regarding cancellations and postponements, SULAM will take a hiatus. SULAM will not meet on Sunday, March 15th through Sunday, March 29th.

We will keep you apprised with updates.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Shabbat Shalom,
 
Michelle

Michelle Konigsburg
Director, SULAM
Beth El Temple
West Hartford, CT
860-233-9891

Coronavirus Precautions at Beth El

March 12, 2020

The Beth El Board of Trustees and clergy have carefully considered our responsibility to our members, to our families, our position in the community, and our mission as well, as it relates to how the virus impacts all operations of the Temple. The Board of Trustees decided at its monthly meeting last night, that through April 5th, Beth El Temple is cancelling or postponing all events outside of regularly scheduled services, SULAM, and life-cycle events (Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and/or (sadly) funerals). A list of such interrupted events is below. We are sanitizing as much of the Temple as possible 3 times per day, including door knobs, bathrooms, water coolers, etc. 

Additionally, we are taking extra precautions, and Beth El is not serving any “communal food” during this period of time. With that in mind, besides the events listed below, we will NOT be providing nor having Kiddush (nor lunch) on Saturdays March 14th nor March 21st. On these two dates, Mincha will take place at 12:15pm in the Chapel, directly after the main morning services conclude. For the next 4 weeks (March 14-April 4), Saturday morning services will take place in the Sanctuary. In accordance with all agency recommendations, we ask you to “spread out” within our Sanctuary as best you can to keep space between each of us. Even during daily services, spreading out in the Chapel is beneficial for all.

Here is a list of cancelled/postponed/impacted events, scheduled to be held at Beth El, through April 5th (this list includes both Beth El and non-Beth El events scheduled to be held at the Temple):  

  • Pirkei Avot — cancelled March 14-April 4
  • Bible & Breakfast — cancelled March 19-April 16 (Passover weeks too)
  • Mazel Tots & Shabbat Club — will take place on Shabbat each week, but no food will be provided/served
  • KNITzvah — cancelled on March 15
  • Ulpan — cancelled March 16-April 1
  • Endowment Board, Finance Committee, Executive Committee Meetings — all cancelled through April 5
  • Lunch and Learn — cancelled March 17-March 31
  • BEMA Concert  — March 22 performance is postponed (and will be rescheduled in the summer); all rehearsals currently are cancelled.
  • Shababa — cancelled on March 20
  • Yoga — cancelled on March 21
  • Men’s Club Breakfast — cancelled on March 22
  • Schmoozers — cancelled on March 25 and April 1
  • Music Recital — cancelled on March 26
  • Family Service & Lunch — cancelled on March 28
  • JCL Program — cancelled on March 29
  • Horseradish — making/sale/distribution is cancelled for this year
  • Talmud Study — cancelled March 11-April 1
  • Israel Program: Updates From Israel #1 — cancelled on April 2
  • USY Dinner — cancelled on April 3
  • B’nai Jeshurun-style Shabbat Service — cancelled on April 3


Again, daily and Shabbat services will continue as normally scheduled, as well as SULAM. Also, all SULAM field trips are cancelled, and our learners are being “spritzed” with sanitizer (educators, too) on arrival (while supplies last). The Temple offices will be open throughout this period of time as normal. The professional staff is available as usual for your needs. As a precaution, hospital and nursing home visits by our clergy are being limited to emergencies only, under strict precautions mandated by the institutions to be visited. We will, of course, maintain telephone contact with ill members and their families.

We imagine that some of you may not be happy with some of these changes, but these are critical times for health concerns and we wish to act with an abundance of caution and consistent with current CDC and local mandates. We are encouraging you to actively stay safe as our leaders guide us, but know that we at Beth El are here for you in these difficult times, and please do call upon us if need be.

Here are also things you can continue to do to try and prevent exposure to the virus: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds - especially after visiting a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If you don't have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover your entire hands and allow them to dry thoroughly.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands as noted above.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick (until you are better). If you are a caretaker for someone who is sick, wear a facemask.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • At public events AND in all public places, please try and keep a distance of 3 to 6 feet between yourself and other people.

 
In addition, you can get additional information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

We all know that this current crisis is fluid and changes daily, and as such our practices will too. We will be in touch with you with the passage of time, and of course we hope that no one in our community will be affected by Coronavirus. We remain your spiritual home and will always be here for you. We face this challenge as a caring religious community bolstered by the values of our tradition and deep regard for each other.

Please feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts, comments, hopes, and prayers. 

Wishing you all good health and blessings,
 
Rabbi Jim Rosen & Judith R. Rosenthal, President

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Dear Beth El Temple Family,
 
We are all watching, with care and real concern, the spread and danger posed by the Coronavirus. While there is no reason to panic, we want to use this opportunity to remind the community of precautions we should all be taking.
 
For the time being, consistent with recommendations from the CDC and health officials, we ask people NOT to have physical contact with anyone while at Beth El. We suggest starting with a simple "Hi!" or "Shabbat Shalom." If you want, while it may feel uncomfortable or even silly at first, add a nod or maybe bow slightly, maybe bump elbows, whatever feels most comfortable. It is for your safety and ours.

We also ask that you refrain from kissing mezuzot and/or the Torah as it passes by; to show honor to the Torah, we suggest bowing as the Torah passes or kissing your own hand.
 
Additionally, here are some other recommended practices, whether at Beth El or not:

  • Clean your hands regularly when you are in public. You may do so with soap and water but you must wash for at least 20 seconds for it to be most effective.
  • Hand sanitizer is equally effective in killing viruses like Corona (but does not physically clean dirty hands); to use properly, cover the entire hand and fingers and let dry.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, preferably with a tissue that is immediately disposed of or, minimally, into your sleeve - then reclean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home's entrances and in your care for use when you can't immediately wash your hands.

These are excellent practices, regardless of coronavirus, which help contain the spread of the flu among other illnesses. Millions of Americans this season have gotten the flu, with nearly 20,000 deaths, including over 100 children. If you have not already done so, get the annual flu vaccine, unless medically contraindicated.
 

We ask that if you have symptoms of illness, including fever, coughing, stomach bug or any other sickness, please DO NOT come to Beth El, during the week, for Purim, or on Shabbat. Protecting and preserving health supersedes these other considerations.

We continue to clean and sanitize regularly. We will continue to keep abreast of the situation and update everyone with any adjustments, changes or new instructions.

May we be blessed with good health, wellness and prosperity.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rabbi Jim Rosen &
Judy Rosenthal, Congregational President

Thu, April 2 2020 8 Nisan 5780