The Jewish concept of "Pikuach Nefesh" (saving a life) overrides virtually every other Jewish ritual and commandment. As CBI adjusts to the evolving threat of COVID-19, your safety remains our most important concern. The CBI leadership team, guided by Executive Director, Rochelle Reich and President, Ellen Sanders, is proactively working to ensure the safety of our congregation and guests. We are gathering information from the Department of Health and Department of Emergency Management as it becomes available. We are also consulting with physicians in the community as to best practices. In an attempt to offer some immediate suggestions regarding safety at the shul, we are making the following recommendations and reminders for communal interaction and observance at this time.
New COVID-19 Policies for the High Holidays
Effective immediately, everyone (all ages) entering the building must be either vaccinated or have had a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours. All attendees must continue to wear a mask, sit in designated seating areas/maintaining social distancing, and register to attend programs and services. As this is a house of God, we expect that all attendees will be honest and abide by this policy.
Shabbat Services For a link to Friday Night services on alternate weeks at 6:00pm, visit the Virtual Community page. Full Saturday morning services are currently being held every Saturday in-person and via Zoom starting at at 9:30am. The Zoom link is available through our weekly eblast as well as on the Virtual Community page (see link above). If attending in-person services, you must register online by Friday noon here to facilitate contact tracing in the event it becomes necessary.
Youth Education Program and Hebrew Classes are taking place virtually during the school year. Staff will be emailing parents materials and lessons each week. Hebrew lessons will take place on-line. It's a wonderful opportunity to bring Jewish learning into the home.
All Other Classes, Programs and Meetings will be offered on-line wherever possible. For a list of our virtual meetings, classes and programs, check out the Virtual Community page.
2020 One Light Gala, scheduled for Sunday May 31, has been postponed. Stay tuned for updates on when this event will take place.
Helping us to be our best (Jewish) selves
It is easy to fall into glib, prejudicial generalizations about different racial and ethnic groups. As Jews, we know how xenophobia can lead to false and unscientific associations with a disease, particularly in times of epidemic. We must ensure that we and others don't cast such generalizations or make hurtful statements towards other ethnic and racial groups.
Similarly, we must not, God forbid, blame or judge people for contracting a disease. When others suffer from illness, we are obligated to support them. That is the Jewish reaction. No one is at fault or lesser than for their suffering.
Bikkur Cholim, visiting the ill, is one of the most cherished of Mitzvot (and our shul's original name). Obviously, literal Bikkur Cholim is strictly forbidden if it puts the visitor at medical risk. But, the value always remains true: we move closer to, not further from, those who are ill. If we cannot literally visit, due to infection, we must find all other safe and possible ways to support the ill.
Be Informed and Keep in Touch
At times like this, solid science-based information helps you assess your risks and remain healthy. If you believe you have an elevated risk, either because of your age or a compromised immune system, please contact your physician and follow their guidelines. To monitor the spread of the Co-Vid 19 virus and its impact on our community's public health, visit, www.cdc.gov/COVID19
You can also text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and statewide updates about COVID-19. This 2-1-1 service can refer callers to the organizations in their local community best equipped to address their specific health and human services needs including food, shelter, energy assistance, housing, parenting resources, health care, employment, substance abuse treatment, as well as specific resources for older adults and for persons with disabilities, and much more. Simply dial 2-1-1 or TTY 888-892-1162 for assistance.
Also, Jewish Family Services of WNC has posted a list of COVID-related resources and programming, compiled by the Asheville Jewish Leadership Collaborative and available to anyone. You can find it here.
Finally, as a community, we must keep in touch with each other. Check in on those who may be elderly or at higher risk. If you get a call from the CBI Chesed committee to help run errands or provide meals for someone who is not well, please help out. And by all means, if you feel overwhelmed or confused, reach out. Contact Lee in the office (828-252-8660) or email Caren Kessler (Chesed Committee) and they can help put you in touch with the people and services you need. For 120 years, our strength has and will always be that we are here for each other.