Dear Friends,

We pray this note finds you, your family and friends physically healthy and managing to cope emotionally as our nation faces this unprecedented crisis due to the spread of the coronavirus. The Talmud teaches, “Kol Yisrael arevin ze ba’zeh v’kulan k’guf echad” – “All Israel is responsible for one another and are like a single body.” Like the many cells of a single organism, human beings are all connected to one another. What affects one can quickly impact the others – for better or for worse. Each of us must act responsibly to protect others in our community, and our Temple community must act responsibly to protect the rest of the world around us.

Per yesterday’s message, our Board of Trustees met in extraordinary session last night to address the growing concerns in our community about the COVID-19 virus. Temple Sinai will suspend operations, effective immediately, until April 15. Of course, should the current public health situation worsen, this suspension would be extended.

This means:

•Friday Evening Shabbat services will be livestreamed ONLY. Our building will NOT be open to the public. Rabbi Millstein and Cantor Nitza will lead services this evening and every Friday evening at 7:30 pm while our building is closed. Please click here to join us online!

•Saturday Morning Torah Study, Shabbat Minyan Services and all classes and Temple programs will not be held.

•The Early Childhood Center will not hold classes. Classes will resume on Monday, April 20, following the previously scheduled Passover break. The ECC staff will be in contact with you next week regarding virtual activities for families.

•Religious School classes will not be held in person. Our Education team will be in contact with Religious School families next week regarding virtual classes.

B’nei mitzvah lessons will also continue virtually. Your child’s instructor will be in contact with you next week.

•Families with b’nei mitzvah during this time are being contacted separately by our clergy team.

•Our clergy will still be providing pastoral care and assisting with life cycle events during this time. Please contact Rabbi Millstein at 201-655-0266.

Please do not attempt to visit Temple Sinai during this time period. For the health and safety of our community, our staff will be telecommuting while operations are suspended. Resuming Monday, you can reach our team via email and at 201-568-3035 (during normal business hours), as we will be forwarding phones and checking messages.

As Jews, our history can help us cope. We know what it means to be suddenly dislocated and to have our lives upended. While we are not being exiled from our homes – quite the opposite! – many of us have been dislocated from our places of work and leisure. Moreover, we have been displaced from our spiritual home, Temple Sinai.

During our times in exile from our homeland, however, we did not despair. We found new ways to celebrate our faith and always remained connected to others in our community, finding support and strength. And we always knew that one day we would return and resume our lives in our homeland. May we find new creative ways to remain connected to one another during these challenging times and continue to be a kehilah kedoshah, a sacred community. And may we soon find ourselves back in our wonderful spiritual home, Temple Sinai!

Last but certainly not least, we wish a complete healing, a refuah shleimah, to all those who are ill during this time, and look forward to the time when we will gather together again as one community in body and spirit.

Anne-Marie Bennoun, President
Rabbi Jordan Millstein
Joe Slade, Executive Director