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Plan for In-Person Services

Last updated July 4, 2021 at 2:45 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

Plan Highlights

  • We hold in-person Shabbat Shacharit services and Torah reading at Schechter Manhattan. Registration for services at Schechter is required. 
    • We have adjusted our seating to enable regular non-distanced seating for vaccinated participants who choose it and distanced seating for those who prefer or require it.
    • As of May 29, 2021 we have resumed indoor singing and kibbudim (honors) including aliyot, ark openings, hagbah, and gelilah. 
    • As of June 26, 2021, we are delighted to expand the options for including kids at indoor services. See details below. 
    • 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.
  • Weather permitting, we daven the Musaf service and hold children's programming outdoors in Central Park (email for the exact location). Registration is not required for outdoor Musaf, and kids of all ages are welcome.
    • As of June 26, 2021, vaccinated participants are no longer required to wear masks at outdoor services or kids programming. 

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 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.

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 June 22, 2021)
We are delighted to expand the options for including kids at indoor services. Beginning June 26, 2021:

  • Babies who will be in strollers or in their parents’ laps may attend indoor shul. (No masks required, because of their age.)
  • Kids who are more mobile are welcome to come to services for as long as they can stay in their seats, and then leave the building, since we cannot currently use side classrooms or congregate in the halls. Kids age 2 and up will need to be masked. In practice this means parents could bring children to indoor services for as long as the children are able to be in their seat and then head to Central Park to catch Tot Shabbat, Junior Minyan, or outdoor Musaf.
  • Children who can remain seated and masked with member(s) of their household for the full duration of davening are of course welcome to attend for the entire indoor service. 

Depending on the needs of parents of children, we’ll evaluate whether to open the side rooms to accommodate families who need to step out briefly, e.g. to feed a baby.

Children should be listed on an accompanying adult's registration form and symptom check form. If space is limited, we will continue to prioritize seats for adults with a halachic obligation to daven.

Children are also 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. 

  • All participants 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,

  • As of June 26, 2021, Schechter Manhattan no longer requires us to check people in when they arrive at indoor services. As a result, attendees of indoor services are no longer required to arrive within 10 minutes of the start time, though we do still encourage everyone to arrive at the start of services in order to make a minyan. 
  • 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 to enable both distanced and non-distanced seating options. 
  • 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

We're grateful to have removed most of the ritual changes we'd made previously. 

  • As of May 29, 2021 we will resume singing indoors and giving out kibbudim (honors) including aliyot, ark openings, hagbah, and gelilah.
  • As of June 26, 2021 we will resume providing siddurim, chimashim, talitot, and kippot at indoor services, for those who wish to borrow rather than bringing their own. 
  • There is no d’var Torah.

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 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

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

Outdoor Children's Programming

We hold outdoor in-person Tot Shabbat services on Saturdays at 10:30 AM in Central Park, geared toward kids ages 0–5. We also hold outdoor in-person Junior Minyan services geared toward kids ages 5+, at the same time and place, every other week. Check the calendar for the schedule. 

Email 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 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 and

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

Mon, October 18 2021 12 Cheshvan 5782