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On behalf of TBI's board and spiritual leadership, here's how we are responding to covid-19:

This page was last updated and reviewed on July 22nd

This page will be consistently updated with the latest news from the Board, Rabbi and Cantors. TBI is located within the City of Los Angeles, and is subject to all emergency orders from the Mayor. The Board reviews all updates from all levels of government, as well as guidance from Jewish organizations and re-opening plans from peer synagogues.

These are truly unprecedented times, and now more than ever we know the role that community and spirituality can play in our lives. The temple building and grounds have been closed since March 19th, and since then we have not stopped working to ensure that our services and programming continue online and to understand how and when we will be able to re-open our physical sanctuary. 

Based on the new restrictions put in place for indoor public places, religious services and more broadly the continued extensions of emergency orders, we believe it is unlikely that our building and grounds will re-open to our members and guests in time for the school year or the High Holidays. A number of factors influence our assessment above and beyond the valuable advice given by our municipal and state government leaders- these include the underlying health conditions and risk factors to our staff and members and the unique risks presented by Jewish services where singing and congregating are commonplace. Given the current conditions in the City of Los Angeles, we are not confident that it would be sufficiently safe to have multiple family units inside the sanctuary participating in typical ritual activities.

What this means is that Torah School will resume online for now, and we are planning for a slate of online and distanced services, programs and activities for the upcoming High Holidays, though it may still be possible to stream rituals and programs led by our clergy inside the sanctuary, and it may still be possible to organize socially distanced, outdoor gatherings of smaller groups of member families.

We have every intention of returning to in-person learning for our Torah School and in-person programming for our community within the coming year.

 

Click here to read a July 3rd letter from Rabbi Rosner on behalf of the Board, explaining what a possible re-opening might look like and why we have not decided to do so just yet.

Give the changes in guidance since then, we do not believe that the scenario outlined in the July 3rd letter are feasible yet, though they continue to outline a likely not-too-distant scenario of what the first stages of re-opening could look and feel like.

In the sections that follow, we've tried to answer any questions that we think our members might have, including ones we've already been asked. If there is anything we've left out, please e-mail us at admin@tbila.org.

 

Here's what we know and can answer right now:

Is TBI's building open for any in-person services, classes or events?

Unfortunately no. Right now we do not believe that we could keep our staff, our members and their loved ones sufficiently safe while engaging in the kinds of activities that we all miss so much. We are abiding by all emergency orders from the City of LA and the State of California, and as of this writing we are not planning to gather in-person, in our sanctuary, in the Fall. 

 

Is TBI still running services, classes and events? 

Absolutely yes! Our shabbat services- all of them- are taking place over Zoom, and we are adding extra events for holidays and catching up with our members all the time. We are assembling a team to plan High Holiday services and programming that will keep us engaged and connected to one another, and we will keep adding details as we have them. Torah School will resume online on August 23rd, and we will continue to plan for a transition to in-person learning when it becomes safe to do so. 

 

Will there be any changes or rebates to membership fees as a result of the current closure? 

The Board has decided not to raise membership fees at all for the coming year, to acknowledge the financial hardship placed on all of us by the stay-at-home orders. We are continuing to collect membership dues, as we continue to run all of our regular programming online, though if you are facing particular financial strain right now please let us know so that we can find a solution that works.

 

Will there be any changes to High Holiday ticket prices or procedures if services are online? 

It is becoming increasingly likely that we will hold a different kind of High Holidays this year, including some online services and programs. If you haven't already, please fill out this brief survey, and consider joining in the ritual committee meetings or High Holiday committee to have a hand in guiding us through this uncharted territory! We will likely not charge for High Holiday tickets this year, and will ask our members and guests to consider making a donation in lieu of the typical ticket cost to help support our programming, planning and community. 

Please take a look at our High Holidays page for more details on High Holiday planning, services, and changes.

 

Will the Torah School stay online for the coming school year? 

We will keep this information up-to-date, knowing that last-minute changes are possible given the nature of the current emergency orders. As of right now, we are planning for the upcoming Torah School year to begin online on Sunday August 23. We think it is unlikely that the entire school year will be virtual, so we are actively planning for a hybrid school year, and we hope to transition to in-person learning some time in early 2021. We will continue monitoring the situation and assessing the best advice and research we can find, keeping the safety of our families and children as our top priority.  

Cantor Laurie is hard at work making sure that our online resources and activities provide the same educational and social opportunities for our children and families- we want to reassure everyone that even if Torah school classes are online for the time being, students will still receive all of the materials, lessons and programming that we would normally provide!

Please take a look at our Torah School page for registration information, fees and dates.

 

What is happening with Jewish life cycle events like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs? 

We are taking a flexible approach to working with families who are approaching these special events. Some members prefer to delay these celebrations until such a time when we can be together again, and we are working with them to see if and when this will be possible. Some members prefer to join in our online services to share these events with their our community and their family and friends around the world. 

We want to acknowledge that the pause in our in-person gatherings and celebrations is longer than we planned, and longer than we had hoped. Where at first we anticipated relatively short delays, we are working with each of our families to understand the impacts and plot the best course. 

 

Are the grounds and building being maintained? 

Yes! Initially, only board and staff members were allowed on the grounds to perform essential upkeep tasks, we have started allowing volunteers to lend a hand maintaining our garden and grounds as well. We are maintaining strict policies that only allow one person or household at a time on the grounds, with at least 2 days in between visits, and all visitors are wearing protective equipment. 

We are looking for volunteers willing to take on some building maintenance tasks (such as painting of the fence or trim) that can be done in accordance with safe social distancing protocols. Please contact admin@tbila.org if you're interested!

Please contact us with any further questions:

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at admin@tbila.org

Tue, September 29 2020 11 Tishrei 5781