PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – September 2021
A couple of months ago here in Southern California we seemed to be humming along in our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions, especially for those of us fully vaccinated, were relaxing. We were looking forward to High Holiday services that would be almost “normal.”
But as the Yiddish proverb tells us, mann traoch, Gott lauch, man plans, God laughs. The Delta variant exploded on the scene and all of a sudden the number of cases started to rise, the rate of positive tests climbed, and the numbers were very quickly beginning to look like the bad old days. Some restrictions were reimposed. There was a renewed push for the unvaccinated to please get the vaccine. Here at Temple Beth Emet we shelved plans to reintroduce a regular kiddish and masks were again required indoors for everyone. We even had two Bnei Mitzvot where everyone was masked. The Board of Directors decided to protect the health of our congregants by requiring everyone attending High Holiday services to confirm their vaccination status or present a recent negative COVID-19 test.
The actions we have taken here in Southern California to deal with this Delta variant appear to be having the desired effect. The rate of positive tests peaked early last month and is steadily decreasing. Hospitalizations look like they may have peaked. Daily deaths remain elevated but the numbers seem to have topped out. If we all keep doing what we need to do, we may have seen the worst of this fourth wave.
Last year’s High Holiday services were pre-recorded and edited, then uploaded to YouTube. It took a tremendous effort over many weeks, and the result was a High Holiday experience we were very proud of.
This year we will have services in our building with masking for all, and vaccine/testing requirements to assure the safety of our Temple family. It will be our second year of doing things a little differently, but it will be more normal and we can all be together again. That will feel good!
Religious school will open September 12 with in-person instruction, albeit with alterations to reduce contact between classes.
Bnei Mitzot, High Holiday services, religious school, and even resumed Sisterhood meetings — we are reaching with caution and hope toward a future when we will be able to sit in Blum Hall together, have a nosh, and say, “Remember when we couldn’t do this?”
Every year at this time I am honored to wish you l’shanah tovah tikatevu, a good and sweet year for all of us. This year, that wish comes with an extra measure of hope and confidence in the future of our congregation and our Temple community. Let us make it so.
— IRA L. GOLDSTEIN, President