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Plan for In-Person Services

Last updated May 24, 2021 at 9:30 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. 
  • We have modified the service to prioritize safety, including changes to capacity and seating to enable distancing for unvaccinated participants. As of May 29, 2021 we have resumed indoor singing and kibbudim (honors) including aliyot, ark openings, hagbah, and gelilah. 
  • Weather permitting, we daven the Musaf service outdoors in Central Park (email office@sznyc.org for the exact location). Registration is not required for outdoor Musaf, and kids of all ages are welcome. 
  • All participants are required to wear masks at both indoor and outdoor services, other than the person leading the service or reading the Torah or Haftarah, if they are fully vaccinated. (We plan to revisit our outdoor mask policy in the near future). 

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. 

If you receive a place at services, Schechter requires that we have you 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. 

On the registration form, vaccinated registrants can opt into sitting in closer proximity with other participants, in order to increase the number of people we can accommodate indoors. Under New York State rules, unvaccinated individuals are still required to maintain six feet of social distance from non-household members while indoors.

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

Who can attend?

We can accommodate approximately 24 households or 36 people at Schechter 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 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 January 4, 2021)
Children under 12 who can observe our social distancing rules are welcome to join the community for Shabbat morning services at Schechter. As with all others in attendance, they will need to wear masks and remain seated with member(s) of their household for the full duration of davening. To request a space for your child under age 12, please email covid@kehilathadar.org. We will continue to prioritize seats for adults with a halachic obligation to daven.

Children of all ages are welcome to attend outdoor Musaf services in Central Park. Masks and distancing are required per state and local guidelines.
 

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. 

  • Participants are required to wear masks (covering both nose and mouth) during services and must bring their own. 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 fully vaccinated.
  • Anyone not adhering to these policies or following the instructions and reminders given will be asked to leave.

Specifically for services at Schechter,

  • All participants must arrive by 9:40 AM 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. 
  • 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.

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

  • Chairs are spread out so that participants only sit with members of their household, unless they are fully vaccinated and have opted into the closer seating option as part of registration.
  • Depending on seating capacity, we will move the amud (table) back to the center of the room, from where it had been at the front of the room.
  • There is no side classroom access.
  • No food or drink is served at Schechter. See below regarding kiddush at outdoor Musaf.
  • 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. 

  • As of May 29, 2021 we will resume singing indoors and giving out kibbudim (honors) including aliyot, ark openings, hagbah, and gelilah.
  • There is no d’var Torah.
  • Participants are asked to please bring their own talitot and kippot, as we are not providing them.

We appreciate the opportunity to daven together, even though shul still feels different from what we’re used to. We will continue to make ongoing adjustments based on the evolving situation and your feedback.

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, though vaccinated participants may remove their masks after the service ends. 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 it is raining or snowing 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 Tot Shabbat

We  hold outdoor in-person Tot Shabbat services on Saturdays at 10:30 AM in Central Park, geared toward kids ages 0–5. 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. 

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. Email kids@kehilathadar.org to join our Families email list, where changes will be announced when applicable. 

Remote programming continues

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 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

Sun, June 20 2021 10 Tammuz 5781