Returning to the Building

Updated Covid-19 Protocol | November 1, 2021

Dear Friends,
We are pleased to share with you the welcome news that Temple Emanu-El is revising protocols to reflect steadily improving pandemic conditions in Dallas. We do so with input from our Medical Advisory Task Force, our Covid Advisory Team, CDC guidance and as always, a commitment to the dual Jewish values of taking care of our own bodies and doing nothing to harm the lives of others.  

Many of these changes are possible, thanks to the increasing availability of vaccines and our congregation’s embrace of this life-saving action. To date, some 2,500 congregants have already uploaded proof of vaccination. If you haven’t uploaded yours, please do so here. As a sacred community, we encourage everyone eligible to become vaccinated. When you do, you enhance not only your own health and safety, but that of family, friends and others in the community.

The key changes to Temple’s Covid response are below. They are in effect now and will remain until changing pandemic conditions dictate otherwise. Please see our Covid website for full details

Vaccinations
Temple requires anyone over the age of 18 to sign the brit and show proof of vaccination to enter the building. You can show proof in any of these ways.

  • Show the physical card
  • Show a picture or scanned image of card
  • Show any confirmation email from Temple, with the subject line “Confirmation Email: Temple Emanu-El Brit and Proof of Vaccination”

Masks

  • For fully vaccinated people inside the building, masks are optional.
  • Masks are required inside the building for:
  • Unvaccinated children between the age of 2-18
  • People over the age of 18 who have a medical exemption
  • Masks are optional for anyone outdoors.

Life Cycle Events
The following protocols are in place for life cycle events with the exception of funerals. Details for funerals will be discussed with the family by the officiating clergy member.

  • Everyone over the age of 12 must show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test within 48 hours of the event.
  • Without proof of vaccination or negative PCR test, those under the age of 12 must wear a mask. Children 2 years of age and under not required to mask.
  • Restrictions related to food are lifted. Events may be held indoors or outdoors, and buffets or self-serve platters are permitted in all venues.

Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) and Youth Learning + Engagement (YL+E)
Changes in protocols for ECEC and YL+E will be sent directly to families from Shelly Sender or Andrew Paull.

Questions, Concerns, Comments
We welcome your input and appreciate your support. Please reach out to us at memberconcerns@tedallas.org.

B’shalom,

Beth Gold, President
Meredith J. Fried, Executive Director

Important Update Regarding In-Person High Holy Days Services – August 26, 2021

Dear Friends: 

We welcome you to in-person High Holy Days services at Temple Emanu-El. With the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and based on our most recent email, Temple now requires the following procedures to safely and meaningfully experience our services. We look forward to seeing you soon, and Shanah Tovah! 

DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR ENTRY 

Proof of Vaccination: All members are required to upload proof of vaccination and honor Our Brit: Covenant of Care to enter the building. Please upload here. Following your upload, you will receive a confirmation email, which you will need to bring with you to Temple. 

The vaccination requirement does not apply to Temple youth, ages 12-18, attending the following services:

Rosh Hashanah: 

·     Family services in Stern Chapel at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

·     Congregational service in Olan Sanctuary at 12 p.m. 

Yom Kippur: 

·     Family services in Stern Chapel at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

·     Congregational service in Olan Sanctuary at 12 p.m.  

Digital Admission Card: Please be prepared to show the Digital Admission Card sent to you after registration. The subject line is “Your Tickets for High Holy Days 2021 Event.” NOTE: Please let us know the names of all who will be in your group so that we can make sure everyone has a chance to upload their proof of vaccination and receive confirmation. The link to add guest names is on that first confirmation email.

WHAT TO EXPECT 

In Olan Sanctuary: Temple is committed to providing a multi-access experience of the High Holy Days for members to participate in-person and online. Please be aware that audio-visual equipment will be prominently placed at the back and inside of Olan Sanctuary, on the slate floor and will partially obstruct the view of the bimah.

Masks and Social Distancing: Masks covering the nose and mouth are required to be worn at all times inside the building for congregants over age 2. Temple staff has prepared our worship spaces for appropriate social distancing. We request that you sit with members of your household, and that you maintain social distance from other congregants, clergy and staff who are not members of your household. 

CHANGE OF REGISTRATION 

If you wish to update your reservation, whether changing the service time or moving online, please email us at hhd@tedallas.org or call 214.706.0000 and we will be happy to assist you with your changes. 

QUESTIONS?  

We are always happy to hear from you. Please see our Covid-19 FAQs or email hhd@tedallas.org for assistance.  

Sincerely,

Meredith J. Fried

Executive Direction

High Holy Days Covid-19 Policies and Procedures Update – August, 25, 2021

Dear Friends: 

Our expression of the Jewish value of creating a safe community has been unwavering since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have anticipated a joyful return for in-person High Holy Days services while taking pride in our vibrant online worship experiences. Yet once again, we are navigating challenging situations with the resurgence of infections in the greater Dallas area, including breakthrough incidents among fully vaccinated people. 

We cherish your support, patience and flexibility as Temple leadership continues to evaluate how to join safely for worship, learning and community.  

As of today, we still plan for our High Holy Days services to be available both in-person and online, and we will continue to monitor circumstances in the coming weeks. Important updates are below:  

Proof of vaccination: Guided by Jewish values and medical professionals at Temple, Dallas County and the CDC, the Board of Trustees has updated its Covid-19 policy. Beginning at the High Holy Days, proof of full vaccination will be required to enter the building for all who are eligible to be vaccinated (currently ages 12 and older), with the following exceptions. 

The vaccination requirement does not apply to Temple youth, ages 12-18, attending the following services: 

·      Rosh Hashanah: Family services in Stern Chapel at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Congregational service in Olan Sanctuary at 12 p.m.  

·      Yom Kippur: Family services in Stern Chapel at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Congregational service in Olan Sanctuary at 12 p.m.  

 The following services are for vaccinated members only (regardless of eligibility or age): 

·      Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day 9:30 a.m. 

·      Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur Morning 9:30 a.m., Yizkor and N’ilah services. As previously communicated, the Yom Kippur afternoon service will be online only.  

Proof of vaccination will not be required of students attending Youth Learning + Engagement classes and programs, which will primarily take place outdoors. Information about Covid-19 safety protocols for YL+E will be sent to families in a separate email. 

Commitment to a safe community: In addition to vaccination, all who enter the building are required to properly wear masks over their mouths and noses, to practice appropriate social distancing and to agree to honor Our Brit: Covenant of Care.  

Digital admission card: A follow-up email will be sent this week to those who have registered for in-person services with a link that will permit you to upload your vaccination card for entry into the building. We encourage you to register for High Holy Days services or update your request at this link: participate.tedallas.org/highholydays. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more details, or email hhd@tedallas.org for assistance.  

We anticipate that this decision will be reassuring to many of you and that others might disagree, given the diversity of impassioned opinion about the appropriate response to Covid-19. Temple leadership spent many hours crafting and deliberating this policy. We believe this is the best way to ensure the health and safety of our members and staff while offering a rich and responsible range of in-person experiences to all our members.  

We understand that many members are eager to return to in-person High Holy Days services, while others will feel safest experiencing services online. We have learned over the past eighteen months how our own homes can be places of spiritual encounter, prayer and song. We welcome you to the sacred journey of this season, wherever you may be. May we make our way together as one community, and arrive at this new year in wholeness, health, joy and peace.  

Rabbi David Stern 

Beth Gold, President 

Meredith J. Fried, Executive Director 

In-person Shabbat services: Opportunities and information

[As of July 29, 2021]

Jewish tradition teaches, “to save a life is to save the world, (Sanhedrin 37a),” which is why, out of an abundance of caution and with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we have once again adjusted our Covid-19 protocols. With infection and hospitalization rates rising, along with vaccination rates remaining steady, we want to be a sanctuary, a place of refuge for our members. We will continue to respond based on Jewish values, taking care of ourselves, not putting others at risk and protecting life. Here is the latest update:

  • In accordance with CDC guidelines, beginning Thursday, July 29, everyone entering Temple Emanu-El will be required to wear a mask. For events outside on the campus, masks are not required.
  • The Board of Trustees voted last week to require all staff, faculty and contractors to be fully vaccinated by September 1.
  • We continue to strongly urge you and your family members 12 and over to be vaccinated, if eligible.

As always please be in touch with us if you need additional support at this time or want to share your thoughts.   

An early Shabbat Shalom to all and we hope to see you soon, in person or online,
Beth Gold, President
Rabbi Debra Robbins
Meredith J. Fried, Executive Director

[As of July 1, 2021]

With our Board of Trustees approval, we are pleased to announce our next steps on the path to full resumption of in-person gatherings and worship. Beginning Tuesday, July 6, 2021, we will increase capacity indoors and eliminate the mask requirement for fully vaccinated members and visitors.

Over the past 16 months, we have focused our decisions on the Jewish value of pikuach nefesh, saving life in emergency situations. Now, as the pandemic phase has shifted, we need to adjust our thinking and practices, recognizing we still have responsibility for each other. We turn this summer to the complementary Jewish values of sakanat nefashot, taking precautions to avoid endangering others, and shmirat haguf, preserving our own health and well-being, which includes following proven medical advice.

We will continue to draw upon the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities, in consultation with our Medical Advisory Task Force, in this next phase. We are reminded by our MATF, as we make our own choices about participating in person, that those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 are at increased risk of infection to themselves and others. Many conditions, with or without vaccination, are associated with this increased risk and worse outcomes. It would be safest for those individuals to experience Temple online. Please check with your doctor if you have questions about your own risk.

Your Temple leadership is hopeful that recent declines in Covid-19 infection will continue, but the past is an imperfect predictor of the future. The virus constantly evolves and if infections in the community increase significantly or evidence of loss of vaccine efficacy arises, we may need to reinstitute stronger preventive measures. Our policies will continue to evolve as they have since the pandemic began, including, should it be necessary due to changes in the data, reinstating certain restrictions that are currently being eased.

The following practices will be in place on Tuesday, July 6, 2021:

Vaccinations/Masks/Social Distancing
  • All members and visitors coming to Temple Emanu-El are expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 excluding those individuals who are prohibited from receiving a vaccine for medical reasons or are under the age of 12.
  • Any members or visitors over the age of 2 who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a face mask properly at all times while in the building. Masks are optional for fully vaccinated persons. We urge all who can to vaccinate.
  • In respect to others’ comfort and personal space, please minimize physical contact unless specific permission has been granted from the individual.
Congregational Gatherings/Life-cycle Events/Temple Meetings
  • Capacity will be increased to 75 percent of indoor spaces, services and events will be planned accordingly.
  • Pre-registration remains a requirement to attend worship services.
  • Temple remains committed to multi-access participation and we are offering a robust calendar of opportunities for everyone, some online, some in-person and some in both modalities.
Entering the Building/Brit
  • Everyone coming to the campus will be asked to electronically affirm our commitment to care for others and ourselves. Please click here to read Our Brit: Covenant of Care.
Hospitality/Food
  • We are now able to accommodate events, receptions and food service according to revised health and safety guidelines. Please contact us for specific details when you are ready to plan your event.

Many of you have been asking about our plans for the High Holy Days. We are pleased to share with you that Temple clergy, staff and lay leadership have been working closely together for several months on the High Holy Days. Our plans call for in-person services while continuing to offer online opportunities. After a year of unprecedented change, we will look to this season to help us begin to recharge, focus, and enter 5782 with a renewed sense of community and hope. Watch for details in Temple communications as they become available.

We are committed to the safety of each member of our community and will continue to listen to you and to monitor trends, data and local health orders as is necessary. You can reach us using the contact information below. Thank you for your patience and your partnership as we move forward together.

B’shalom,

Beth Gold, President

Email: bgoldpresident@tedallas.org
Phone: 214.706.0000

Meredith J. Fried, Executive Director

Email: mfried@tedallas.org
Phone: 214.706.0000, ext. 130

Please see here for the Central Conference of America Rabbis (CCAR) “Guidelines for Reopening After the Pandemic.”