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Kol yisrael arevim, zeh ba'zeh

We are all responsible for one another (Talmud)

We are taking all precautions necessary to ensure that in classrooms, the sanctuary, the social hall, or wherever we gather for creating this holy community, we will be safe and responsive to Covid-19 conditions.

Based on recent trends in Covid-19 case numbers and guidance from the CDC Loudoun County officials, our Covid Task Force has reevaluated our current masking policy. Effective immediately, masks will be optional in the building with the following exceptions:

  • Masks will continue to be required for RUJEC and the religious school, and any of their indoor functions.

  • As the size of our in-person events can fluctuate, please be mindful that there will be some events when we expect a large crowd, and those events will require a mask. That will be noted in the newsletter and on the calendar. If you’ve arrived without one, we will have plenty on hand for you.

  • As the county and CDC monitor the metrics for Loudoun County, if needed, we will revise our masking policy accordingly. 

As always, our main concern is the health and wellbeing of everyone who is part of our CSS family, visitors, and the members of the community that share our space. We do still recommend wearing a mask and physically distancing to help protect the health and wellbeing of everyone in our building. 

Congregation Sha'are Shalom Leadership continues to rely on guidance from the Loudoun County Health and Human Services Department, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia Department of Health, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to the above organizations, the Secure Community Network (SCN), a branch of the Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA), is also monitoring the situation and sharing best practices and guidance to synagogues, schools, and other Jewish entities.

We have been adjusting some of our own practices for improved healthcare:

  • Having additional supply of hand sanitizer, including touch free in the school areas

  • Adjusting our food preparation and consumption practices, including grab-and-go meals and snacks

  • Instituting no-touch practices in the sanctuary, such as not kissing the Torah, prayer books, or Torah wrap during the Torah service or reading 

  • Continuing to hold services over Zoom in addition to in-person (see the newsletter for the link)

In the event of any cancelations or building closure, CSS will notify members of our community of the change through email, our Facebook pages, and text:

  • If Loudoun County, CDC, VA Dept of Health, or SCN advises closure, CSS will cancel in-person activities and the building will be closed

  • Aligned with LCPS cancelations and subsequent on-line learning processes, RUJEC, Religious School, and Adult Ed will not be held in person

  • If we have a confirmed case of the virus from anyone who has been in the building we will contact the Loudoun County Health Department and follow their guidance

  • B'nai mitzvah tutoring may be done remotely as appropriate - please check with your tutor

The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • If you are able to, get vaccinated

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. (At CSS, touch-free hand sanitizer stations are located in the Religious School and RUJEC areas on the lower level.)

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home when they are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Judaism values your health more than ritual observance (sakkanat nefesh). If you are in a high-risk group or simply don’t feel well, please stay home. We will miss your temporary absence from activities, but look forward to seeing you online, and back in person when the risk is lowered.

Please contact our Chesed Committee if you have a need, if you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to make a donation to help those in our congregation who may have a need due to illness. 

We appreciate everyone's attention to safety and cooperation as we strive to keep everyone healthy. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.