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TINW Health Screening Form

Click the link below to fill out our Health Screening Form for attending ANY in-person event at TINW indoors or outdoors.  Thank you in advance for helping us maintain an environment that is safe for everyone!

Complete the Digital TINW Health Screening Form

October 2020 Update from Steve SAmuels

Dear Friends,

While we have been working hard to revise all of TINW’s activities these past months, we haven’t kept up with informing the congregation of these changes and decisions. I hope this letter will help answer some questions you may have and please feel free to contact me to discuss anything further.

Initial Changes & Restrictions

Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, Temple Israel leadership, clergy, and staff have implemented strategies, policies, and equipment to keep people safe inside the building and on our grounds. These changes were necessary for the Temple clergy and staff, Childrenspace North staff, children, and parents, and b’nai mitzvah families. When we can safely allow more use of the building and grounds, these changes will help to lower risks for everyone.

We closed the Temple building initially for all purposes according to NYS guidelines. When allowed by NYS guidelines, our tenant, Childrenspace North, based on their business model, began to use the building, implementing careful safety and cleaning protocols.

Temple leadership, clergy, and staff felt that the risks were too great to open the building to regular use, even when NYS guidelines allowed it. Many of our congregants and some staff are especially vulnerable to the Coronavirus, and we felt it was not prudent or ethical to begin the regular use of the facilities. We evaluated conditions and projected health scenarios for the fall season, and we decided in the spring that CJL classes would be held virtually to limit exposure among and between the students and teachers. We also decided in the spring to stream High Holy Day services without congregants in the building, and to develop intimate virtual programs that would engage congregants with the themes of the High Holy Days. These choices allowed our clergy, staff, and lay people to plan for the best online experiences possible, rather than divert their limited resources to develop both in-person and virtual programs.

Activity Expansion

We understand that as the general lockdown has eased in some respects, and as we collectively grow tired of restrictions, there are congregants who are ready to assume some risk and gather in-person with safety protocols.

We have tried to find ways to do this with the least risk to the participants, clergy, and staff, such as the CJL graduation drive-by, the Rosh Hashanah book take-out, honey and plant drive-by, the Sprout Westchester Rosh Hashanah family event, and the Sukkot celebration and time in the sukkah. We plan to implement pilot projects to allow a limited number of congregants to attend Friday night services from seats in the Oneg Room, and to allow congregants to spend some quiet time in the sanctuary during the week.

Improved Safety Measures Implemented
  • Consulted regularly with a medical expert about COVID-safe equipment, practices, and protocols
  • Installed MERV-13 filters in our HVAC (duct) system
  • Installed iWave needle-point bi-polar ionization equipment in our HVAC (duct) system
  • Installed wall-mounted anti-bacterial hand cleaning stations throughout the building
  • Installed hands-free devices in the men’s and women’s rooms- at urinals, sinks, and paper towel dispensers
  • Frequently wiped down commonly handled surfaces, including restrooms, door handles, pews, podiums, and microphones with disinfectants
  • Required each adult in the building to wear a mask at all times, including clergy, staff, and guests, unless they are in an office working alone
  • Established protocols for b’nai mitzvah families to safely access the sanctuary and bima, including a 24-person limit with defined seating locations to maintain distance from the pulpit and other guests
  • Required a signed agreement outlining required protocols within the Temple building from each person in a b’nai mitzvah group at least two weeks in advance of the event
  • Required a contactless temperature check and signed health-screening questionnaire from each b’nai mitzvah participant entering the building
  • Turned away some b’nai mitzvah relatives who were coming from a state under the NYS quarantine requirement, or who had been exposed and were subject to quarantine, if they had not been in quarantine for the required time before the b’nai mitzvah
  • We will require a signed agreement and questionnaire, and temperature check, or new protocols as may be suggested by our medical consultant, for participants in programs that we may institute
  • During b’nai mitzvah services, the Rabbi wears a protective KN95 mask and the Cantor participates remotely from her office. During Friday night services, the Rabbi and Cantor both want to be in the sanctuary unmasked so they can be heard while streaming. Steve Samuels, Temple president, wears a KN95 mask while on the bima on Friday nights, and moves to the side when the clergy face the ark to avoid being in the direct line of the Cantor’s aerosols
Possibilities for More Activities

We are open to new ideas from congregants for in-person programs if they are well-planned and adhere to safety protocols, and if the organizer is ready to implement them.

The time of COVID-19 will pass. There will be a vaccine. Possibly, we will incorporate safety protocols into daily life when the pandemic is over. We will engage with each other in-person and hopefully, be more aware of how precious it is to spend time together. Until then, we still have each other, though maybe not in the same space. Temple Israel clergy, staff, and leadership is here for you, and all of us are here for each other. We are a sacred community, now, more than ever.

L’Shalom,

Steve Samuels
TINW President

COVID-19: A rapidly Changing environment

Depending on the severity of the outbreak at any given time, public health officials may recommend community actions designed to limit exposure to COVID-19 including requiring individuals from certain areas of the US to quarantine for 14 days before being in public. Officials may ask us to modify, postpone, or cancel large events for the safety and well-being of our clergy, staff, participants, and the community.

If you have any questions about COVID-19, call NYS Department of Health hotline: (888) 364-3065

Source: CDC 

COVID-19 Key Prevention Strategies

Employ daily practice of everyday preventive actions. Use health messages and materials developed by credible public health sources such as your local public health department or CDC to encourage staff and participants to practice good personal health habits. Promote everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include:

  • Wear a surgical or cloth facemask (over your nose AND mouth) when indoors.
  • Remain 6 feet away from others when possible.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and use hand sanitizer when you cannot.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

People who are at higher risk are encouraged to avoid crowds as much as possible. Find more information here.

Source: CDC 

From County Legislator, Catherine Borgia

How to get tested for COVID-19:

  • If you have been in contact with someone infected or if you feel symptoms, contact your primary care doctor and they will arrange for the a Health Dept worker to come to you for a test. If you are sick, please stay home.
  • You can also call 211 if you don’t have a primary care physician.
  • Also feel free to text Ms. Borgia at 914-262-8873 if you run into any trouble.
Wed, November 25 2020 9 Kislev 5781