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Plan for In-Person Services

Last updated November 20, 2020 at 2:00 PM

As infection rates in New York City rise, we are keeping a close eye on the changing situation. If needed, will adjust our plans based on local and state requirements and the principles we outlined when we first resumed meeting in person. Please email with any concerns.

The Boards of KH and SZ have approved the following plan to resume weekly in-person Shabbat morning services, in keeping with the principles we shared in June 2020. We endeavored to be thoughtful about each aspect of this plan, consistent with our conservative approach to risk. Details of this plan are below, and we welcome your questions and feedback.

Plan Highlights

  • We hold in-person Shabbat morning services at Schechter Manhattan with limited capacity, social distancing, and masks required. Weather permitting, we daven the Musaf service outdoors on the balcony with singing.
  • Registration for services is required each week.
  • We have modified the service to prioritize safety, including, sadly, forgoing all communal singing indoors.

How do I sign up to attend?

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 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. 

If you receive a place at services, you are required to confirm your attendance and complete a symptom check on Friday. This symptom check includes confirming that you have taken your temperature and will not attend if you develop a fever. It also requires that if you develop symptoms or test positive within two weeks, you will let us know so we can inform those who were present. Your privacy will be maintained. 

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

Individuals in the same household who wish to share a single place and each attend half of services (e.g. one attends Shacharit and the other attends the Torah service and Musaf) can specify this request on the registration form.

Everyone ages 12 and up is welcome to request a place at services using the registration form. See below for policy regarding requesting a place for children under 12.

Who can attend?

We can accommodate up to 24 households and a maximum of 36 people at services each week. 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 have been in close proximity with someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID in the past two weeks.
  • You have been asked to self-isolate.
  • You have returned from another state that does not share a border with New York and have not yet received your second negative COVID test, per the policy enacted November 4, 2020.

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

Attendance policy for children (updated January 4, 2021)
Children under 12 who can observe our social distancing rules are welcome to once again join our community for Shabbat morning davening. As with all others in attendance, they will need to wear masks and remain seated with member(s) of their household for the full 90 minutes of davening. To request a space for your child under age 12, please email We will continue to prioritize seats for adults with a halachic obligation to daven.

We plan to revisit options for additional children's programming when the infection rates and/or the weather improve.

Health & safety policies

We rely on each member of the community to uphold the following safety guidelines and will enforce it if necessary. 

  • All participants must arrive by 9:40 AM (9:25 AM in November) and will be checked in by a member of leadership. Participants arriving after that time may not be permitted to enter, and multiple late arrivals will impact registration priority for future weeks. 
  • Masks are required (covering both nose and mouth) at all times, and participants must bring their own. Masks with valves are not permitted.
  • Social distancing rules (6 feet) must be maintained, except among those in the same household.
  • Elevator use is restricted to 1 household at a time.
  • Restroom use is restricted to up to 2 people at a time.
  • 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.
  • Anyone not adhering to these policies or following the instructions and reminders given will be asked to leave.

Additionally, we’ve made the following arrangements for our use of the space at Schechter Manhattan.

  • Chairs are spread out so that participants only sit with members of their household.
  • The amud is located at the front of the room, facing open doors.
  • There is no side classroom access.
  • There is no kiddush, scotch, or coffee.
  • At the end of services we ask everyone to leave directly, while remaining distanced.

Ritual Changes

Consistent with our principle of maintaining halachic observance in accordance with safety guidelines, we’ve made the following changes to our Shabbat morning service. 

  • Davening is led at a quick pace and kept to under 90 minutes. 
  • There is no communal singing at all while indoors. Only the shatz (leader) and the people reading Torah and Haftarah will chant the respective liturgy & texts.
  • The Torah service is modified to enable social distancing.
  • Weather permitting, we daven the Musaf service outdoors on the balcony with communal singing. Masks and social distancing are still required when outdoors.
  • There is no d’var Torah.
  • Participants are asked to please bring their own talitot and kippot, as we won't be providing them, and are encouraged to bring their own siddurim and chumashim as well. There will be an option on the registration form to request to borrow KH siddurim and chumashim if needed. 

We appreciated the opportunity to davening together, even though shul feels very different from what we’re used to. We expect to make ongoing adjustments, even as frequently as week to week, based on the evolving situation and your feedback.

Outdoor Tot Shabbat

Winter Update: Tot Shabbat will be scheduled on a week-to-week basis throughout the winter (and is decided upon after the weekly email goes out). Email to inquire about the coming week or request to be added to the KH Families email list, where it will be announced each week.

We also hold outdoor in-person Tot Shabbat services on Saturdays at 10AM in Central Park. Registration is required by Thursday at noon, and registrants receive an email indicating whether or not they’ve received a place at services on Thursday night. The location is be shared with the confirmed families. A symptom check on Friday is be required, consistent with the in-person Shabbat morning services policy above. 

Tot Shabbat services can accommodate 6 families each week. We prioritize people who haven’t attended recently, and we select registrants at random for any remaining spaces. The restrictions on who can attend based on symptoms or exposure risks are the same as those listed above for Shabbat morning services. Masks (covering both nose and mouth) are required for all adults and all kids ages 4 and up and strongly preferred for kids ages 2 and up.

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 services will be canceled. Participants will be notified by email on Friday afternoon.

Remote programming continues

As we resume in-person services, we remain committed to continuing remote programming to stay connected as a community. We deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone who leads and participates in these programs and expect to continue offering these and possibly additional programs in the future. Please visit our Calendar to stay up to date on upcoming remote programs!

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

The Kehilat Hadar Board
Emily Scharfman, Steven Melzer, Meir Schecter, Tim Bernard, Max Arad, Mara Braunfeld, Aaron Kasman, Ashira Konigsburg, Stefan Krieger

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

Sun, February 28 2021 16 Adar 5781