This may be the last time that I will wish you a L’shanah Tovah as your Rosh Minyan.
But first, I want to share a little history of how we ended up on the roof of the Ganzberg Education Building for Rosh Hashanah.
Last May, I worked with Rabbi Chorny and Sheryl Goldman to allow the Library Minyan to daven on the Ganzberg Educational Building roof. Sheryl sent out the registration forms and made a safe “seating chart” each week we were up there. We moved when the canopy was removed.
In June, California opened up and vaccinated congregants over 12 were allowed in the building and again in the Dorff Nelson Chapel. It was great to be back. At that time, it was apparent that we would be in the Dorff Nelson Chapel for the High Holy Days.
Temple Beth Am tested the Dorff Nelson Chapel’s airflow; the results showed that the Chapel airflow was one of the strongest of the entire building. I continued to believe that the Dorff Nelson Chapel would be the best place for our High Holy Days services.
Temple Beth Am continued planning for the High Holy Days and assigning spaces. As the weeks passed, the Covid-19 numbers started to tic back up. Some folks were getting nervous about being in the Chapel. We moved Shabbat services to Corning 8. There was talk, amongst members of our minyan, of moving us to Corning 8 for the High Holy Days. Unfortunately, after speaking with TBA senior staff, it was made clear to us that this location was not available for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur morning but that we would be able to be on Corning 8 for Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur Mincha and Neilah.
This past Shabbat Melissa Berenbaum suggested that we do a shortened morning service. There was precedent for this: Rabbi Michael Berenbaum and Micky Rosen lead shortened two-hour services on the Ziering Family Field last year. I spoke with Rabbi Schatz and Sheryl about accommodating us on the roof. They agreed and said there was already a program later that morning, so we needed to end services by 10:00 a.m but could start at any time in the morning.
I took our options to the Steering Committee. Our choice was davening indoors, in the Chapel, with no time constraints, only open to vaccinated people, all attendees in masks. The other option was outdoors, which would make some people more comfortable, but resulting in significantly shortened services. We chose the outdoor option with truncated davening.
I have worked as an Executive Director for two congregations and as a Director of Development for a third. The last thing any organization wants to do is make scheduling and facility changes one week before the High Holy Days. I thank Temple Beth Am’s Clergy and Administration for their “joyful flexibility” during this unique time
I look forward to seeing you on the roof or at any Temple Beth Am service you choose to attend. I end by wishing you and your families a happy, healthy new year.
Next Year in the Dorff Nelson Chapel!
Shabbat Shalom and L’shanah Tovah,