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TINW is continually monitoring the local health status of our environment.  Based on new information or guidance from our medical consultant, we may change our guidelines or procedures at any time.

As of 11/12/20, 24 people in total (this includes B'nai Mitzvah and family as well as guests) can join Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.

The Q&A below reflects guidelines updated October 2020.  Technology Guidelines can be found here, Tips for Guests Using Zoom, and below the Q&A.

B'nai Mitzvah During COVID Q & A

Back to B'nai Mitzvah Guidelines Page

Does every person, whether they live in the same household or not, have to sign the agreement AND the questionnaire? 
No. The parents of the B'nai Mitzvah must sign the agreement and take responsibility for communicating the information to their guests.  EVERYONE in attendance must complete the Health Screening Form at or just prior to arriving at TINW.

Taking photos on the bimah. After the services without the clergy present, can the immediate family take pictures without masks on? Can the family/friends take pictures without masks on in the Sanctuary? 
Masks must be worn by each person, at all times when entering the TINW building. The only people that can take off their mask is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child and his/her immediate family during the speech and/or Torah Blessing. After the service, when the clergy has left the sanctuary the B'nai Mitzvah and immediate family may take unmasked photos in the Sanctuary.  Masks should be worn at all times otherwise.  Photos often come out better outside the Temple as the lighting outside is better, so you may want to keep that option in mind.

Can the family take pictures with their extended family/friends together without masks in another space, like the community room? Fall/winter weather may not permit for outside photos. (Especially if they can’t take family pictures without masks in the sanctuary?) 
The only time masks can be removed is outside. We can’t have gatherings in the Roth Family Community Room unmasked due to the days when we have double bar/bat mitzvah’s because there is not enough time to clear the room of potential aerosols.

Will the Cantor get a zoom and streaming link to each family in plenty of time for the family to distribute to their guests?
Yes

Can the family have an outline of the service in advance to help organize Aliyot? 
Cantor Fogelman will make a brief pamphlet of the service.

When the parents are saying their speech to the child, can the rabbi step away and parents take off their masks? 
The only time that the parents can remove their masks is for their speech or if they are doing the aliyot blessings.

When family members come up to the bimah, if allowed, to say an Aliyah, can they take off their masks? Again with Rabbi moving away first. 
Masks cannot be removed any family member/guest except the immediate family of the B'nai Mitzvah.

Is it possible for Cantor to show a montage of personal photos while the guests are waiting in the “waiting room” before they are let into the zoom? 
Yes!  Cantor Fogelman can show a montage.  It must be received by Cantor Fogelman before the final rehearsal.

Cantor when the service is over, can you send the archived streaming video for the family? 
Yes

Friday night before the B'nai Mitzvah, does Steve announce the bar/bat mitzvah child and light the candles and kiddish on behalf of the family?  Is the family involved at all or just mentioned? 
If the family wants to come on a Friday night you may.  It is up to each individual family. If they do not, Steve Samuels, the TINW president, will do candles and kiddish on your behalf. If you do want to come on the Friday night, we do need to know in advance.

Candy to toss at the end of the service to celebrate and add some fun for the families? They are looking for something special to make the day a little festive. 
Yes, you can toss candy. Please use only soft, individually wrapped candy, and once the Rabbi leaves the sanctuary, please pick up all candy to take with you.

I'm afraid I don't understand some of the mask distinctions.  If parents are permitted to remove our masks when giving our speech or saying/chanting a Torah blessing, then it doesn't make sense to me that we are not permitted to momentarily remove our masks for photos on the bimah prior to the service.  Can you clarify the reasons for this? 
Because of the uncertainty of the virus, we need to limit the time  that masks are allowed to be removed.  We wanted the parents to be able to talk to their child without wearing a mask, and if the parents do a blessing we felt the same way, no masks required. The parents felt that this was so important to them for pictures and video. We thought long and hard and with the advice of our health care provider, we are taking a chance by allowing the masks to come off during those times. The more  we limit families removing masks we are keeping our families, clergy and staff as safe as possible.

Can a non-Jew put the Tallit on the BM child?  
Yes, a non Jew can put on the tallit as long as it is a meaningful act for that person

Can four people come to the Bimah for an Aliyah? 
Four people can come up for an Aliyah. They must be masked unless they are in the immediately family— parents or siblings — of the bar mitzvah.  Saying the Torah blessings and putting on the tallit are the only honors that can be physically done; the others (Opening the Ark and handling the Torah) are symbolic since the Torah will be already out and ready at the beginning of the service. 

Can the BM family attend the Fri nite service if they are sharing their BM date?  How is this organized if both families would like to attend? 
Yes, if both families want to come Friday night TINW will work it out -- One month advance notice is necessary to make this a safe opportunity for everyone. Everyone in your family would need to be masked (including the B’nai mitzvah).

We know this is not easy, and as things change, day by day, we will update you with any new information we have.

We also want to remind everyone that if you let me know in advance we can have you come and take pictures in the sanctuary at the beginning of the week.

technology guidelines during covid

The staff and clergy of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester have developed ways to use the miracles of modern technology to share your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah service with extended family and friends. Although we know that this is not the way you initially envisioned celebrating this milestone, we are fortunate that we have found ways to create a meaningful experience while staying safe and socially distant.  

Rabbi Jaech and Cantor Fogelman will lead the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service, with Rabbi Jaech present in the sanctuary and Cantor Fogelman leading remotely from her office. Cantor Fogelman leads from her office because of safety reasons; since COVID-19 is spread through the air, singing is considered to be an activity that increases the risk of spreading the virus. From her office, Cantor Fogelman will be running the technology that allows us to share the service remotely with friends and relatives around the globe.   

Your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah service can be viewed online in two different ways: 

  1. Livestream on TINW.org: 

https://player2.streamspot.com/?playerId=a2393c79  Also available via the purple button on the homepage of TINW.org. 

  1. Zoom: Cantor Fogelman will provide you with a Zoom link for your child’s Bar Mitzvah service up to six weeks before your scheduled date. If you would like this link earlier, please let Cantor Fogelman know and she will get it to you sooner. 

We suggest sending your guests both of these links. Each method of streaming has a different set of advantages, plus it is always best to have a backup link in case of any unforeseen technical difficulties. We will record the service via both the Livestream and Zoom and will send you links to both recordings in the week following your child’s ceremony. 

About the Livestream: 
On the Livestream, your guests will see a frontal wide-angle shot of the sanctuary, with both Rabbi Jaech and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child clearly visible. They will be able to hear (but not see) Cantor Fogelman lead parts of the service remotely. 

About Zoom: 
On Zoom, your guests will see a close-up view of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child, with the Rabbi visible in the background. They will see Cantor Fogelman leading parts of the service on a split screen alongside the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child. On Zoom, your guests will receive copies of the text and translation of your child’s Torah and Haftarah reading. Your guests will have the opportunity to send greetings using the chat function and will be able to greet each other before and after the service.  

Remote Participation:  
On Zoom, there is also the opportunity for family and friends to participate in the service remotely. If you have guests participating remotely, they must be available on Zoom during the final rehearsal for a sound and technology check.  

Photo Montage: 
Zoom offers the ability to share a photo montage with your guests while they are waiting for the service to start. If you are interested in doing so, please create a series of slides of family photos using Powerpoint or Google Slides. Please send the slides to Cantor Fogelman before your final rehearsal.  

For your guests:  
We have developed the following guidelines that may be helpful to share with your guests as they prepare to attend your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah service via Zoom: 

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We are so excited to have you join us from the comfort and safety of your own homes. Here are some tips to help you have a meaningful virtual experience:  

 Please install the Zoom app on your device and create an account in advance at www.zoom.com 

 Find a comfortable spot where you have limited distractions, good lighting, and reliable access to the internet. 

 Please join the Zoom service around 10:25am by clicking on the Zoom link or by entering the meeting ID and passcode. 

 You may be placed into a virtual waiting room until we start. You may need to click “Join with Computer Audio” or “Call over internet” to enable sound when you join. 

 Zoom is a two-way experience. We want to see you! Please be sure to turn on your camera by clicking “start video”. 

 As much as we’d love to hear you, please be sure to remain on mute to prevent any feedback noises. Do not click the “unmute” button unless asked to do so. 

 Be aware that everyone can see you! 

 Feel free to use the chat feature to send supportive messages via chat throughout the service.  

Back to B'nai Mitzvah Guidelines Page

Tue, January 19 2021 6 Sh'vat 5781