Dear Temple Shalom Families and Friends,
Over the past many months, our entire synagogue team has done tremendous work to provide religious services, religious school, childcare, and numerous programs, including the Night of 1,000 Menorahs (attended by over 400 people) and Sunday’s Covid-19 vaccine clinic for the community.
Temple Closure (December 24 – January 3)
In recognition of this outstanding work under extremely difficult working conditions and to provide an opportunity for our entire staff to rest and recharge, we are closing the Temple building beginning on Friday, December 24 through Monday, January 3. This will allow our entire staff to receive a well-deserved break. Shabbat services (both Friday and Saturday) will be lay-led and held over Zoom. Other than Shabbat services and some critical end-of-year tasks, there will be no programs or Temple activities scheduled. With immense gratitude for the work our staff has done, they will be receiving paid leave during this time in addition to their usual annual leave.
Staff emails and phone numbers will not be monitored during this time. In case of an emergency (such as death or illness), please call 301-587-2273.
Virtual Programming (January 4 – January 9)
To protect the health and safety of our community, we will have one week of virtual programming, school, and services upon the re-opening of the Temple on Tuesday, January 4. From January 4 through January 9, mid-week Hebrew school, Wednesday morning minyan, Erev Shabbat services, Saturday morning worship, religious school on Sunday, and all other Temple meetings will be held virtually. The ELC will operate in person and the Covid-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for January 9 will be in person. We will plan to resume our regular in-person programming on Monday, January 10.
We take this step out of concern for the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, and the expectation that many Temple members are traveling and gathering with others over the winter break. With the Temple’s closure the final week of the year, starting January with a virtual week of programming will allow us to consider what additional precautions we should take to best protect our community and sustain our in-person operations. Making this decision on virtual programming now will allow our staff additional time to prepare for early January.
Thank you for supporting our staff in having this time off so that they can enjoy this period and then return to supporting our community. As we move through the shortest days of the year, we look forward to bringing in the light with you in the days, weeks, and months to come.
L’Shalom (In Peace),
Rabbi Rachel Ackerman, Senior Rabbi
Jeff Steger, President
Susan Goutos Zemsky, Executive Director
Lisa Heiser-Polin, Director of Early Learning Center