Coronavirus Update, August 13, 2020
There are moments in private and public life when our moral compass is tested--and it turns out to be a multiple-choice format. This year we have wrestled with our options: Do we (A) fulfill our foundational mission to provide a spiritual sanctuary during a time of need? Do we (B) stand up for individual freedoms by allowing the shul to go on and people to choose what feels right? Or do we (C) set those ideals aside for a time and join a state, a nation and a world in adopting abundance-of-caution measures designed to protect the many?
The calculus is changing daily, if not hourly and, as you know, local organizations everywhere are currently implementing Illinois’ Phase 4 Covid 19 guidelines and setting policies accordingly. We are currently maintaining our building policy of staff only and only as required. Our Board of Directors has recently passed our own revised Building Policies and Procedures Covid 19 Guideline manual.
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During this hiatus, our business office has continued operations on the schedule of 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday & Thursday and Friday until 3:00 p.m. In addition, the Rabbi will keep his appointments and is available in times of need. Feel free to call or email me or call the office (847-498-8218) with requests and/or questions.
Our remarkable board leadership is continuing to provide programming via live-streaming and recorded audio and video in order to deliver the social, educational and religious programming that we cannot currently offer in person. We will keep you apprised of our progress on this and all other matters, and ask for your patience and understanding as we implement workarounds for our new reality.
We have been amazed by the amount of our community’s support in weathering this storm together. To feel fear, anxiety and uncertainty is not only normal; it serves us by reminding us to be vigilant, alert and strong. From start to finish, Shir Hadash is here for you. We look forward to celebrating the blessing of a return to the routine… in the very best of ways.
Marc Fargotstein M. EdT
Shir Hadash Board President
Coronavirus Update, July 16, 2020
First and foremost, we hope that you and your families are safe and that you know that you are the most important part of the Shir Hadash community. If there is anything that you need or questions that you have, you are always welcome to contact myself or the office at any time. We are family and we are all in this together!
As of today, our building is still closed to all public activities. We are using this time to perform maintenance and implement our NSGP Security Grant improvements for doors, windows and security monitoring. Cleaning supplies, hand cleansers and disinfectant wipes have been ordered. The building will be completely cleaned and sanitized. Governmental guidance is being turned into policies and procedures appropriate for our capabilities and facility.
What needs to be done before we can open up the building again? Figuring out how many people can occupy the building for an activity. What activities can be done outside? How do we deliver training of our safety procedures? How and who will perform wellness and temperature checks? How to keep our bathrooms clean after each use. These and many other items are currently being addressed by our Covid-19 Taskforce led by Jerry Weiss. I would like to personally thank Jerry and the team for their time and effort in this exceedingly important endeavor. Because of the fluid nature of this pandemic, we are erring to the side of caution in our decision-making process because nothing is more important than you and your family’s health and welfare. As we move forward, you will be informed of any programming and facility changes the task force and the Board of Directors deem as safe to proceed with.
On the Shir Hadash website we promote our three C’s--Community, Creativity, and Caring. The Covid-19 Pandemic has been a challenge to each area but these challenges have been opportunities to grow as well. We not only maintained our services; we have increased their reach. We all miss being able to meet, nosh and schmooze but we have found new ways to connect virtually. We have all used the time to reflect on the well-being of family, friends and community.
We are currently reviewing ways to safety meet, pray and teach again at or in our building. This is not a simple task. Social distancing, masks and sanitation practices, reduce but do not eliminate the risks of spreading the virus. State directives now allow small gatherings, provided we can execute events in a way that maintains practices that health officials have specified.
Our events have always been filled with singing, laughing and friendship in close quarters. I personally have replaced handshakes with the Vulcan (and Jewish) gesture--“Live Long and Prosper.” We need to prepared to accept that as we gather, social distancing of 6 feet and masks will be mandatory. We also may not see some friends in-person until there are immunizations, but know this, we are in this together! Please let me know your thoughts and ideas. We are here for you.
Marc Fargotstein M. EdT
Shir Hadash Board President