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Plan for In-Person Services

Last updated November 29, 2021 at 8:00 PM

The Boards of KH and SZ have approved the following plan to for in-person Shabbat morning services, in keeping with the principles we shared in June 2020. We continue to endeavor to be thoughtful about each aspect and phase of this plan, consistent with our conservative approach to risk. Details of the current plan are below. We welcome your questions and feedback at covid@kehilathadar.org.

Plan Highlights

  • We hold in-person Shabbat Shacharit services and Torah reading at Schechter Manhattan. Registration for services at Schechter is required.
    • Non-distanced seating is available vaccinated participants who choose it, and distanced seating is available for those who prefer or require it.
    • All participants are required to wear masks at both indoor services, other than the person leading the service or reading the Torah or Haftarah, if they are fully vaccinated.
    • Babysitting is available for young children attending services, with limited capacity.
  • Weather permitting, we daven the Musaf service and hold children's programming outdoors in Central Park (email office@sznyc.org for the exact location). Registration is not required and kids of all ages are welcome. Masks are optional for vaccinated participants.

How do I sign up to attend?

Registration is only required for services at Schecher Manhattan, not for Musaf in Central Park. We send out a registration form in the KH and SZ weekly emails every Monday evening. (If you don't currently receive our emails, you can sign up on either of our websites or email office@sznyc.org for support.) You may request a place for the coming Shabbat by filling out the registration form before 5 PM on Wednesday. On Wednesday night, all registrants receive an email indicating whether or not they’ve received a place at services. 

Individuals from the same household (e.g. couples, roommates) are requested to register together if they intend to sit together. 

On the registration form, vaccinated registrants can opt into non-distanced seating in order to increase the number of people we can accommodate. Under New York State rules, unvaccinated individuals are still required to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members while indoors and therefore must request distanced seating.

Participants who wish to request babysitting for young children may specify this on the registration form. Since the babysitting room capacity is limited, participants will be notified on Wednesday evening whether or not their child(ren) received a place. Receiving a place at services is not a guarantee of receiving a place in babysitting. Learn more about babysitting below.

As of December 4, 2021, Schechter no longer requires us to collect symptom check forms from attendees each Friday. Please email office@sznyc.org if you no longer plan to attend services so that we know not to expect you.

Who can attend?

The number of people we can accommodate each week depends on how many households require distanced seating, but at minimum we can accommodate 24 households or 36 people. If more people register than we have space for, anyone who is leading a part of the service and those saying Kaddish receives a place first. After that, we prioritize people who haven’t attended recently, and we select registrants at random for any remaining spaces. 

Please do not attend if any of the following are true:

  • You are sick.
  • You have felt sick in the past two weeks.
  • You are required to quarantine under New York state or local laws, due to travel or exposure.

The COVID task force may make exemptions to the above based on consulting with a physician. 

Indoor service attendance policy for children (updated November 8, 2021)
Children are welcome to attend shul indoors. Expectations differ depending on their age and whether or not they have received a place in babysitting for that week. 

  • Masks are required for children ages 2 and up. 
  • Children who have not received a place in babysitting for that week may not use the babysitting room, due to capacity restrictions.
  • An additional side room will be open for families who need to step out briefly, e.g. to feed a baby.
  • During davening, children must either remain seated with member(s) of their household or be in babysitting or under adult supervision in a side classroom. Please do not congregate in the halls.
  • We are currently exploring logistics for bringing children’s programming indoors and will update this page once plans are in place.

Children should be listed on an accompanying adult's registration form. There is an option on the registration form to request a place in babysitting. If space in the main service is limited, we will prioritize seats for adults with a halachic obligation to daven.
 

Health & safety policies

We rely on each member of the community to uphold the following safety guidelines at all of our in-person services and will enforce it if necessary. 

  • All participants ages 2 and up are required to wear masks during indoor services. Unvaccinated participants are required to wear masks during outdoor services. Masks must cover both nose and mouth, and masks with valves are not permitted.
  • Fully vaccinated people leading Shacharit and Musaf or reading Torah and Haftarah are permitted to take off their masks while leading their part of the service, at both indoor and outdoor services. Leaders who are not yet fully vaccinated and wish to remove their masks while leading may reach out to the COVID team to discuss the possibility of submitting a timely negative test. 
  • Social distancing rules (6 feet) must be maintained by anyone who is not vaccinated.
  • Anyone not adhering to these policies or following the instructions and reminders given will be asked to leave.

Specifically for services at Schechter,

  • Elevator use is restricted to 1 household at a time.
  • Restroom use is restricted to up to 2 people at a time.
  • Chairs are spread out so to enable both distanced and non-distanced seating options. 
  • Attendees are expected to stay in the main room throughout the service (other than to use the restroom) and are asked not to shmooze in the hallways or entryway.
  • No food or drink is served at Schechter. See below regarding kiddush at outdoor Musaf.

Ritual Changes

We're grateful to have removed most of the ritual changes we'd made previously. At this time, the only notable change to our regular service is that there is no d’var Torah. 

Babysitting

Beginning November 13, 2021 we are reinstating babysitting for young children attending indoor services. Participants who wish to request babysitting may specify this on the registration form. Those registering with children must select distanced seating, even if they intend that the children will be in babysitting during the service.

Masks are required in babysitting, as in all of Schechter, for all children ages 2 and up. Based on the guidance from our consulting physician, we do not require children to remain distanced while in babysitting but we will calculate the room’s overall capacity by defining 3” x 3” as the required amount of space per child.

Since the babysitting room’s capacity is limited, participants will be notified on Wednesday evening whether or not their child(ren) received a place. Receiving a place at indoor services is not a guarantee of receiving a place in babysitting. If more people submit requests than we have space for, children attending with someone who is leading a part of the service will receive a place first, after which we will prioritize younger children. Children who do not receive a place are not permitted to use that room.

The babysitter will not do diapering, toileting, or feeding for children. Adults who need to feed children during the service may either do this in the babysitting room at a distance from other children, or in another room.
 

Outdoor Musaf

Registration for outdoor Musaf is not required, but all those in attendance should be symptom free and in compliance with our attendance guidelines. Masks and distancing are required for all unvaccinated participants. Kids of all ages are welcome! Email office@sznyc.org for the exact location.

Davening starts with the chatzi kaddish and silent Musaf amidah. Please bring your own siddur as well as a talit and kippah if you wear them. 

We will not move outdoors if there is a city weather advisory or extreme weather (e.g. rain, snow, heat) and will instead complete the service indoors at Schechter Manhattan. When possible, we will make a decision in advance. To sign up for cancelation email notifications, email office@sznyc.org

On weeks when we have a sponsor, we'll have a small, individually-wrapped nosh to enjoy after outdoor Musaf. We're also looking for a few more volunteers to join the kiddush team to help facilitate. To sponsor kiddush or volunteer on the kiddush team, please reach out to kiddush@kehilathadar.org

Outdoor Children's Programming

We hold two outdoor in-person services on Saturdays at 10:30 AM in Central Park. Tot Shabbat services are geared toward kids ages 0–5, and Junior Minyan is geared toward kids ages 5+. Both services meet nearly every week. Check our calendar for the schedule. 

Email kids@kehilathadar.org for the exact location. Registration is not required, but all those in attendance should be symptom free and in compliance with our attendance guidelines. Masks and distancing are required for all unvaccinated participants. 

We ask that families bring their own picnic blanket and set up at least 6 feet away from other families. Families are encouraged to bring their own grape juice and snack as well as a plush Torah if you have one.

In the event of rain or inclement conditions, children's services will be canceled. Email kids@kehilathadar.org to join our Families email list, where changes will be announced when applicable. 

 

As mentioned above, we welcome and appreciate your thoughts as we navigate the current moment. Please feel free to contact us at contact@kehilathadar.org and membership@sznyc.org.


The Kehilat Hadar Board
Emily Scharfman, Steven Melzer, Meir Schecter, Max Arad, Allison Kapusta, Aaron Kasman, Ashira Konigsburg, Stefan Krieger, and Heather Rosen

The Shaare Zedek Board
Michael Firestone, Lianna Levine Reisner, Adin Rosenberg, Jeff Weinstein, Sara Marks, David Handelman, Harlan Levinson, Sharon Meiri Fox, Joshua Newman, Ronald Slusky

Wed, December 1 2021 27 Kislev 5782