Plan to Resume In-Person Services

Last updated August 24, 2020 at 5:45 PM

The Boards of KH and SZ have approved plans to resume weekly in-person Shabbat morning services, in keeping with the principles we shared in June. 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 will hold in-person Shabbat morning services at Schechter Manhattan with limited capacity, social distancing, and masks required.
  • Registration for services is required each week.
  • We will modify the service to prioritize safety, including, sadly, forgoing all singing. 

How do I sign up to attend?

We’ll send out a registration form in the weekly email every Monday evening. You may request a place for the coming Shabbat by filling out that form before 5 PM on Wednesday. On Wednesday night, all registrants will receive an email indicating whether or not they’ve received a place at services. 
If you receive a place, you will be 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.

Who can attend?

We can accommodate 34 people at services each week. Anyone who is leading a part of the service and those saying Kaddish will receive places first. After that, we’ll prioritize people who haven’t attended recently, and we’ll 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 a state on New York’s quarantine list in the past two weeks.
Initially, no children younger than 12 will be permitted to attend. Older children must stay with an adult household member for the whole service. 

Health & safety policies

We will 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 and will be checked in by a member of leadership. Participants arriving after 9:40 AM will not be permitted to enter. 
  • 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 determined the following plans for our use of the space at Schechter Manhattan.
  • We'll be spreading out chairs so that participants only sit with members of their household.
  • The amud will be located at the front of the room, facing open doors.
  • There will be no side classroom access.
  • There will not be kiddush, scotch, or coffee.
  • At the end of services we will 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 planned the following changes to our Shabbat morning service. 
  • Davening will be led at a quick pace and kept to under 90 minutes. 
  • There will be no singing at all. Only the shatz (leader) and the people reading Torah and Haftarah will chant the respective liturgy & texts.
  • The Torah service will be modified to enable social distancing.
  • There will be no d’var Torah in person. D’var Torah videos will continue in the weekly emails.
  • Participants are asked to please bring their own talitot, siddurim, chumashim, and kippot, as we won't be providing them. There will be an option on the registration form to request to borrow KH siddurim and chumashim long term, until we can start sharing ritual items again. 
We look forward to being able to daven together, even though shul will feel very different from what we’re used to. Once we begin, we expect to make ongoing adjustments, even as frequently as week to week, based on the evolving situation and your feedback.

Outdoor Tot Shabbat

We will also begin offering outdoor in-person Tot Shabbat services on Saturdays at 10AM in Central Park. Registration is required by Thursday at noon, and registrants will receive an email indicating whether or not they’ve received a place at services on Thursday night. The location will be shared with the confirmed families. A symptom check on Friday will be required, consistent with the in-person Shabbat morning services policy. 
Tot Shabbat services can accommodate 6 families each week. We will prioritize people who haven’t attended recently, and we’ll 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.
  • Weekly Ma’ariv services on Tuesdays
  • Pre-Shabbat Happy Hour
  • Havdalah services every other week
Please browse this website for more event information, and email us if you’d like to get involved with new remote programming. 
As mentioned above, we welcome and appreciate your thoughts as we navigate this new phase. 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

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