Coronavirus Update 3-12-20

Shalom Chaverim,

As we are all aware, things are changing rapidly with regards to the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon and beyond. We want to take a moment to update you as to how we are adjusting shul operations in response to new information and recommendations.

While Gov. Kate Brown’s ban on large gatherings (250+) does not directly impact us, we need to be ever-mindful of the range of ages that gathers at Shaarie Torah weekly and take measures to protect everyone’s health.

·       Due to low RSVPs, likely prompted by health concerns, we have decided to cancel tomorrow’s Kabbalat Shabbat service and dinner. If you already paid please contact the office for a refund or to hold for a future dinner.

·       Saturday morning Shabbat services will proceed as planned. This week our kehillah is celebrating the Bat Mitzvah of Hanna Volz.

·       Torah Yoga and Tot Shabbat have been suspended this month.

·       A modified Kiddush luncheon will be served by gloved volunteers and staff. No self-service on the food buffet this week. We are reverting to disposable tableware and cutlery during this time. We will assess Kiddush options week by week and keep you informed.

·       We are choosing to begin Spring Break now for all students (Shabbat School and WNS). Families are still welcome to join us for Shabbat services if they choose. Jude Kassar will communicate with school families separately.

·       Ours is a tradition of putting our hands or other items to our mouths often, such as kissing the mezuzah, siddur or Torah. The recommendation throughout communities is to make the gestures but not the contact: air-touch and –kiss instead so as to prevent the spread of germs.

·       Avoid contact with other people: no handshaking, hugging, kissing, high fiving, even elbow bumping. Try to maintain a 6’ distance from others. There is plenty of seating in the sanctuary to allow for personal space.

·       Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Use your paper towel to shut off water and open doors. Trash cans are available outside restrooms. Use hand sanitizer when handwashing isn’t an option.

·       Cover your coughs and sneezes. A disposable tissue or napkin that is immediately discarded is best; if those aren’t available cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm instead.

We cannot emphasize enough the warning from the Oregon Health Authority: people most at risk of severe health effects from the virus – older Oregonians and those with underlying medical conditions – should stay home as much as possible. If you are housebound and need support, please let us know.

This morning Gov. Brown said, “My first order of business is to protect the health of Oregonians.” We will take that one step further and say that ours is to protect the health of everyone who calls Shaarie Torah their shul. We will continue to send updates as situations unfold. Do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.

To your good health,

Jemi Kostiner Mansfield, Executive Director                                            

Daniel Petcher, Board President