The Rabbi, Staff, Board, and Safe-Reopening Committee have determined that it is not appropriate to meet in-person at this time. In-person services will not meet this week and are not expected to meet for the duration of the “pause.” We will monitor and evaluate the situation as time progresses and update you, the community, as promptly and transparently as we can. In that spirit, we’d like to enumerate the various factors we’re considering at this moment.
With the dramatic local rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases and high positivity rates, we cannot ensure the safety of our members to the degree required by halacha. Safeik pikuah nefesh - a situation where there is possible yet meaningful risk to life or the threat of serious injury - is to be treated as a certain risk to life in Jewish law. In other words, there comes a time where the risk is too high and the unknowns too great to operate safely. When we have to seriously worry about whether it is, in fact, safe to open, halacha comes and demands we err on the side of caution. While this reason alone would be sufficient, additional factors are also at play.
Rapidly increasing hospitalizations and stress to the medical system warrant our concern. We all share collective responsibility, and it is upon us to do our part to reduce stress to the system at this most critical juncture.
The Governor’s Office and Department of Health have urged houses of worship to cancel in-person services during this time if at all possible. If this is the medical need, it is not only possible but required by halacha, and so that’s exactly what we’ll be doing
Though testing capacity is expanding, there is a backlog at the current moment. Were someone at services to test positive, an increasingly likely occurrence, current rules would require many if not all attendees to test and quarantine. This would cause major disruptions to peoples’ lives during an already stressful time.
As a final consideration, even had we decided to meet outside, current spacing limitations would not allow for even a quorum in the current space. For all of these reasons, we will be pausing in-person services at this time.
This is all a balancing act, and the value of prayer, particularly during an eit tzara, a time of communal distress, is profound and real. We urge and encourage our members to use this time for heartfelt prayer from the safety of their homes. We also kindly request that as many members as possible try to attend our online Ma’ariv at 8:00 pm Saturday night through Thursday night at the CBS Zoom Channel. The Rabbi will be writing sermons and recording videos related to prayer in an effort to help jump start the private prayer experiences of our members and supporters.
We’re disappointed, even crushed, that it’s come to this. Since the summer, we’re extremely proud of the Shabbat, Holiday, and Weekday prayer services (all outdoors) that we’ve been able to create. As a community, many have been able to lean into prayer and the creation of a kehila kedosha, a truly transcendent community. At this time, however, the weight of the evidence demands our pause from in-person gathering until further notice. We'll look forward to eagerly jumping back in (with our Kol(d) Haneshama campaign to pray outdoors through the snow and cold of a New England winter) as soon as things stabilize and it is safe to do so.
3:58 pm Friday - Candlelighting
6:50 am Saturday - Hanetz Hachamah (Sunrise) - It is the opinion of the Rabbi that this is the ideal time to reach Shema and Shacharit when not praying with a quorum. Shacharit may be recited until 9:59 am.
9:12 am - Latest time for Shema
9:59 am - Latest time for Shacharit
12:03 pm - Earliest Mincha
4:16 pm - Sunset/Last time for Mincha
5:02 pm Havdalah
Our Zoom Ma'ariv is going strong. Let us continue this momentum! We invite you to join us nightly at 8 pm (except on Fridays) via our zoom channel https://zoom.us/j/9557914827
Your presence is appreciated.
If you could text or email Donny Jurkowitz to let him know you will be attending at
Friday Night 51°
Saturday Day 52°
Saturday Night 43°
Hanna Abramowitz (Chana Lee bat Shoshana Leah)
Rabbi Ephraim Berlinksy (Ephraim Gedaliah ben Chanah Raizel)
Prayer Design Committee: While we're obviously not meeting indoors at the current moment, we have a dedicated team of members, artists, and artisans working hard to design an intentional and inclusive prayer space. Headed by our talented member Brendan Rose, we wanted you to know we're working with diligence and care so that our new "shul" is operational when we can pray inside again.
Tuesday Night Talmud (TNT!): Students of all levels and backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to attend our explosive, interactive, in-depth Talmud, study group. As we've all been thinking about the spaces we pray in with different lenses, we'll be studying B'nai Ha'ir, the fourth chapter of Masechet Megillah, which focuses on the laws concerning the sanctity of prayer spaces and ritual objects.
Why: Talmud study is a great way to learn the debates and reasoning which animate what we do (and what we don't do). Hopefully, this will lead to a much deeper understanding of our current religious practice. Moreover, this year's topic will provide framing and context for thinking about prayer space through the rabbinic lens.
When: Tuesdays from 8:00 - 9:00 pm on the CBS Zoom Channel. https://zoom.us/s/9557914827
December 15th (Special Chanukah Edition)
Join Rabbi Dolinger for a text-based study of the Zohar, the great Jewish work of mysticism, poetry, and imagination. Open to anyone!
Wednesdays from 12pm-1:15pm
Where: CBS Zoom Channel
Virtual Office Hours with Kesher Social Worker Tara Watkins
From Tara: "Many of us, struggle with feelings of uncertainty as well as other struggles related to the pandemic. As the Kesher worker for the temple, I am available to help with information and referral in the Jewish and larger community to help find appropriate assistance. I am also available for consultation and an ear to listen and help process a challenging situation.
I may be reached at 401-527-7772 and email@example.com. Starting Thursday, December 3rd I will also be
holding weekly virtual office hours from 9:30am to 12:30pm on Thursdays. If you are interested in
scheduling a time to “meet” during this time please call or email in advance. You may also use the link
provided and wait in the waiting room to be admitted."
Kesher is the congregational outreach program of Jewish Collaborative Services currently active at
Congregation Beth Sholom, Temple Emanu-El Temple Sinai and Temple Torat Yisrael. Kesher services are
offered free to temple members and their families due to generous funding from the Jewish Alliance of
Greater Rhode Island and private donors. Conversations with Tara are confidential. https://doxy.me/tarawatkins