Update in Temple Operating Status

Dear Temple Shalom Families and Friends,

We hope that you had an enjoyable start to 2022 and we look forward to another fulfilling and meaningful year at Temple Shalom.

Since our recent communication in December about the status of Temple activities, Montgomery County and the country generally have experienced a significant spike in COVID-19 cases. Our initial plan (in December) was to return with a week of virtual programming through January 9. Given the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases, we have decided to continue our virtual programming, including for religious services, Torah study, religious school, and meetings, until January 31, with a few exceptions.

The exceptions include the in-person vaccine clinic on January 9 and the blood drive on January 26, and the Early Learning Center (which has its own set of protocols including frequent onsite testing). Additionally, if unseasonably dry and warm weather allows, we will consider some outdoor programming.

If you are participating in any indoor events at Temple in January, we ask that you wear a KN95 mask or equivalent (without an exhale valve), which are considered significantly more effective against the Omicron variant than cloth masks and even surgical masks. They will be available at the synagogue.

We take this step out of concern for the rapid increase in local Covid-19 cases, the widespread disruption caused by quarantining and isolation, and our staff’s capacity to plan meaningfully without needing to worry about staffing shortages and last minute pivoting due to emerging cases. Our hope is that the number of cases will peak soon, and we will then be able to return to in-person services and programming in February. We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and reevaluate as necessary. If you have any questions, please reach out to one of us.

As we approach our annual MLK service on Friday, January 14, and other programming, we hope that you will join us.

L’Shalom (In Peace),

Jeff Steger, President

Rabbi Rachel Ackerman, Senior Rabbi

Susan Goutos Zemsky, Executive Director

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