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5782 - Notes from our President

August 23, 2021

Dear Hakafa Members,

The COVID Task Force has recommended, as a result of the uncertainties of COVID at this time, that we switch our High Holiday services to be exclusively on livestream, with only participants in the services being in the building. This recommendation was brought to the congregation at our meeting on Sunday, August 22, and was approved by a large majority of those at the meeting. We are all deeply disappointed that we will not be gathering in person, but we want to avoid contributing to anyone getting ill, either in our circle or beyond. We believe we will have meaningful and beautiful services, with professionals producing the livestream, and we know we are all grateful for the technology that permits this.

This change in plans will also change our schedule for services and other High Holiday programming. Please see the new schedule along with other updated information on the pages of this packet

While this will be a different experience than gathering in person, it still will be Hakafa coming together in a holy way. We hope that you will all plan on joining us for our High Holiday services.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year.

L'Shanah Tovah, 
Deborah Brown, President

August 1, 2021

Dear Congregants,

I look forward to gathering with all of you for our 5782 High Holiday services, whether I see you in person or know that you are joining us through livestream. I would like everyone to understand how the decision was reached to hold services as we expect to at this time.

Hakafa’s COVID Working Group was formed last fall. The committee was open to all Hakafa members, as are all our committees. The COVID Group has been active all year, working hard to keep up with the changing pandemic conditions. To reach a decision about how Hakafa would gather for the High Holidays, the COVID Group prepared a survey, sent to all members, to ask about their willingness to attend services under different conditions. Two hundred and four responses were received. 85% of respondents indicated at that time that they wished to attend in-person services. In early July, the Group submitted three possible scenarios for our High Holiday gatherings to the entire congregation in an email. They informed the congregation of the different levels of COVID mitigations and attendance limitations under the three proposals. The entire congregation was encouraged to attend a Special Meeting on July 20 to join in the decision of how we would proceed. Approximately forty of our member households were represented by one or more people at the meeting. As is stated in the bylaws, all decisions of the congregation are made by those in attendance at congregation meetings.

The congregation voted on July 20 to hold in-person services for the High Holidays, with the provisions that all people who attend services must provide a copy of their vaccination card, that everyone must wear a mask at all times unless speaking from the bimah, and that families or groups of close friends will maintain social distancing of 3 feet as advised by the WHO. It was understood that these provisions would result in a limit to the number of tickets that can be provided to members and possibly a limitation on the number of services that people can attend in person. These limitations were felt to be a necessary trade-off to provide greater safety in the face of the ongoing pandemic and the many unknowns about the Delta variant. The congregation in voting this way intentionally decided to be more cautious than the current CDC guidelines, in an effort to protect the more vulnerable among us. Our professionally produced livestream will allow everyone to attend all services. 

There is a wide range of opinion about safety concerns among our members. I hope that everyone will understand and support the decisions that have been made by the congregation. Please also remain aware that worsening COVID conditions could require us to change plans before September 6.

May our High Holiday gatherings be a time of renewal and recommitment to our families and friends, to our Hakafa circle, and to our continuing efforts to bring greater peace to our world.

Shanah Tovah,
Deborah Brown, President

Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyar 5782