Updates on Coronavirus and Our Community

Morning Minyan – Join us online

Click here to join minyan services via ZOOM.
Morning Minyan (M-F) at 7am | Sunday at 8:30am

You may also connect via phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 US (Chicago)
You may be asked to input the Meeting ID: 689 962 027

New to using Zoom? Learn here

Friday Night & Saturday Morning Services

Click here to view our live stream of Shabbat services.
Friday Night Service at 6pm | Saturday Morning Service at 9:30am


See all of the resources available to you and your family, provided by Anshe Emet and the greater Jewish community, during this difficult time.


Food Sources

Zelda’s Catering
If you are in need of food, but don’t wish to visit the grocery store, or are thinking of what to do for Passover, Anshe Emet and Zelda’s Catering is here to help. Zelda’s is providing food now through Passover. 10% of everything ordered from either menu will be donated to Anshe Emet.

View menus here:
Drive-up/Pick-Up Menu 2020
Passover Pick-up Menu 2020

Sarah’s Tent Kosher Food Market
Sarah’s Tent is available for food purchases for Passover. To place a food order, please contact Karyn Meyers at kmeyers222@msn.com


Monday, March 16

Challenging Moments and Difficult Decisions

Dear Friends:

My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples: these words which are inscribed on the lintel of our sanctuary have always been emblematic about the mission of our congregation. It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that we will no longer be able to gather in the synagogue until further notice. Our decision is based upon our own concern for the health and welfare of our entire community and in keeping with Governor Pritzker’s response to the Coronavirus for the residents of Illinois. We have decided that the current closure of our building will now include prayer services. This will include any life cycle events from birth to death. We have also informed our B’nai Mitzvah and their families that they will have to postpone their simchas.

The fact that this is the first time that such action has been taken since the founding of our congregation in 1871, speaks to the seriousness of this moment. According to medical experts, we have reached the community spread phase of Covid 19 and it is our sacred responsibility to do everything in our power to encourage people to spend as much time as possible in their homes. It is for all of us to follow the admonition of Moses, “Choose Life”, and take every precaution to protect ourselves, our families, and those with whom we come into contact. Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines and stay safe. While physical distancing is an imperative at this time, Anshe Emet is fully committed to creating social nearness by making every effort to create a virtual community.

We have created opportunities to join with other members of Anshe Emet through live streaming and other online options:

  • Live streaming and access to digital copies of Lev Shalem for worship services are available at ansheemet.org/livestream
  • Morning Minyan times:
    • M-F at 7am (even Rosh Chodesh)
    • Sunday at 8:30am
    • Minyan video link via zoom, click here.
      • Or dial in by phone to +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
      • You may be asked to input the Meeting ID: 689 962 027
  • To download Siddurim click here and follow the instructions
  • Prayer experiences for young families will be provided by Max Handelman (information to come shortly). If you need to reach Max, please email her at mhandelman@ansheemet.com. Links will be provided on the Young Family Facebook page and Listserve.

Our clergy, our staff, and our caring committee remain ready to support and assist our congregational family. Please email the staff if you need assistance. If you have a scheduled appointment with one of our clergy or staff, please ensure that they have your contact information. To make a time to speak with Rabbi Siegel, please be in touch with Antoinette Nunez at anunez@ansheemet.org. To speak with Rabbi Chankin-Gould, Rabbi Russo, Hazzan Berke, or Hazzan Mizrahi, please be in touch with Tamar Brooks at  tbrooks@ansheemet.org.

This Shabbat we will officially end the book of Exodus. When we come to the final words the congregation rises and recites three Hebrew words: Hazak Hazak Venithazak: Be strong, be strong and let us be strengthened together.  

  • Hazak: We pray for the strength to make wise decisions.
  • Hazak: We pray for the wisdom to act thoughtfully and prudently throughout this crisis.

Hazak: We pray that God will give us the courage to stand as one congregation, one nation, and one world community to fight this virus, and come to a day of good health and well being for all.

Michael S. Siegel
Senior Rabbi
Anshe Emet Synagogue


Friday, March 13

Shabbat Update on Coronavirus and Our Community

Friends,

We continue to work with medical authorities who inform us on preventing the spread of illness while continuing to remain connected to one another during this challenging time. We will update you as more information becomes available.

SHABBAT SERVICES:
We encourage you to stay home and take advantage of our live streaming option at www.ansheemet.org/livestream. If you do join us on Shabbat, please greet each other warmly through waving and without touch and observe guidelines (keep a distance of 6 ft.) on social distancing.

Friday, March 13 at 6:30 pm:

  • Main Sanctuary – Musical Shabbat As You Are (live stream)
  • Lakeview Minyan is cancelled

Saturday, March 14: 9:30 am-12:30 pm:

  • Main Sanctuary (live stream)
  • Rose Crown Minyan in the Malkov Chapel

The Anshe Emet Staff is working from home; please email them if they can be of assistance. The clergy is always available. If you have a scheduled appointment with one of our clergy or staff, please ensure that they have your contact information. To make a time to speak with Rabbi Siegel, please be in touch with Antoinette Nunez at anunez@ansheemet.org. To speak with Rabbi Chankin-Gould, Rabbi Russo, Hazzan Berke, or Hazzan Mizrahi, please be in touch with Tamar Brooks at tbrooks@ansheemet.org.

We ask you to be vigilant in following these CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough inside your elbow and immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects daily. This includes items such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, phones, keyboards, sinks, etc.

Please consider the following prayer:

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists

God of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.

Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.

Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

Praised are You, God, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.
Alden Solovy

Gathering to hear words of Torah is core to our identity as Jews and our values at Anshe Emet. But the greater mitzvah is protecting ourselves and the vulnerable within our community. We look forward to coming together as a community, soon.

Shabbat Shalom,

Michael S. Siegel
Senior Rabbi
Anshe Emet Synagogue


Thursday, March 12

To our Anshe Emet Family,

First and foremost, please know that the clergy and staff of Anshe Emet Synagogue are here to provide for your spiritual, religious and pastoral needs during this trying time. We continue to consult with the Chicago Department of Public Health and medical experts in the community to make fact-based decisions that conform with the latest understanding of the ongoing pandemic.

As you can see from the letter below, the risk to our community members remains low. Nevertheless, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, we have been working to provide religious and pastoral services while being mindful of our responsibility to encourage social distancing.

Avodah: Prayer
Beginning immediately, and continuing through March 22nd, the Synagogue building will only be open for prayer services. This will include morning minyan, Friday night services and Shabbat morning services. As the situation continues to change, we will continue to reassess as we go forward. All available live streaming of services can be viewed at ansheemet.org/livestream.

Please know that our Clergy, Staff and Lay Leadership remain committed to continuing the holy work of our community.

In Pirkei Avot (1:2), the teaching of our ancestors offered a succinct understanding of the work of the synagogue: Our world stands on three pillars – on Torah study, on prayer, and on acts of chesed, of loving kindness. These are the pillars of the foundation that is our Anshe Emet family, today, and every day.

Torah: Study
Religious School will continue to take place virtually. It will not be meeting in the building until further notice. All of our Thursday classes will take place virtually. Religious School families should expect targeted information tomorrow with specific details about what is to come.

Our Friday morning parsha class will continue via phone conference call. For that information, please email Antoinette Nunez at anunez@ansheemet.org. Our Shabbat (Saturday) morning parasha Class is temporarily postponed. The Sunday morning Hartman class will be held virtually. Hazzan Berke (eberke@ansheemet.org) will notify the participants in our JBC (Jews By Choice) program with next steps.

G’milut Hasadim: Acts of Caring and Loving Kindness

Our clergy, our staff, our caring committee remain ready to support and assist our congregational family. If you have a scheduled appointment with one of our clergy or staff, please ensure that they have your contact information. If you do not have an appointment, but have questions or concerns, please know that we are here for you. If you have suggestions as to how we can better serve our community please let us know. To make a time to speak with Rabbi Siegel, please be in touch with Antoinette Nunez at anunez@ansheemet.org. To speak with Rabbi Chankin-Gould, Rabbi Russo, Hazzan Berke, or Hazzan Mizrahi, please be in touch with Tamar Brooks at tbrooks@ansheemet.org.

May the God who blessed our ancestors offer healing to all those affected in our community and throughout the world at this difficult time.

Michael S. Siegel                                                    Art Friedson
Senior Rabbi                                                           President
Anshe Emet Synagogue                                        Anshe Emet Synagogue


From Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School
Thursday, March 12 

Dear Bernard Zell Families,

Late this evening, we learned that the spouse, and one child of the parent who was previously confirmed positive for COVID-19, have also tested positive for the virus. Upon receiving the test results, we again consulted with our partners in the public health community, as well as our medical advisors.

The affected parent was last on campus on March 5, 2020 for Parent-Teacher conferences, and met directly with some of our faculty. While the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) assessment is that the risk to our community remains low, their protocol with regard to those teachers who came in contact with the parent has changed. CDPH will be speaking with those teachers tomorrow with the intent of monitoring their health for an additional seven days.

Again, the CDPH continues to emphasize that the risk to our community members remains low, and in fact, does not recommend a school closure; nor did yesterday’s school session pose any additional risk. Similarly, the risk of transmission by our community members to the general population remains unchanged.

At the same time, it is clear to us that the landscape with regard to best practice in community health has changed, and is moving from tracing individual contacts to protecting whole communities from exposure. With that in mind, and recognizing the importance of our entire faculty in daily school operations, school will be closed tomorrow, March 12, 2020, and will remain closed through Friday, March 20. Pending further information, our current plan is to reopen on Monday, March 23.

Ever since the viral outbreak has become a public health concern, the Bernard Zell leadership team has made it our collective priority to ensure the health and safety of our community members by relying on the expert opinion of public health authorities and medical professionals. Unfortunately, even with the best minds at work, COVID-19 is a new health threat, and the understanding of this virus continues to evolve by the minute. We will continue to act in alignment with the best science available to us in order to ensure the safety of our community.

The outpouring of support for the family has been overwhelming and speaks to the incredible strength of our community. We continue to wish them a refuah shlemah and to send them our love and best wishes. We ask that you continue to respect their privacy and to continue to model the empathy and kindness that are at the heart of Bernard Zell. If your student is in a grade with a student who has been confirmed positive, you will be notified under separate cover.

I want to take a moment to recognize the hard work of our teachers in preparing for the possibility of an extended closure. Distance learning plans will be enacted beginning on Monday, March 16, and the school will be in touch on Friday with further specifics.

We are disappointed that this closure will prevent us from being with your children in person. Our remote-learning plans will take an engaging and developmentally appropriate approach to providing the highest quality education possible.

I will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

B’Shalom,

Gary Weisserman
Head of School


Wednesday, March 11

Dear Friends:

The health and safety of our community is on everyone’s mind and remains our top priority. We continue to be grateful to work very closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health, the CDC and congregants who are medical experts. We are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of illness while continuing to remain connected to one another during this difficult time. Thank you for your patience and kindness as we navigate these issues.

We ask you to be vigilant in following these CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash or cough inside your elbow and immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects daily. This includes items such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, phones, keyboards, sinks, etc.

We have consulted with the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) and they have advised members who are at high risk for serious illness to stay home and make use of connecting virtually (through audio or video). This includes adults over age 60, those with chronic conditions that may put them at risk and people with compromised immune systems. People who exhibit symptoms and whose presence may be a risk to others should also stay home and make use of connecting virtually.

Additionally, CJLS has advised us on appropriate techniques for live streaming on Shabbat during this time. We will be live streaming our Shabbat services on Friday, March 13 at 6:30 pm and Shabbat morning sanctuary services on Saturday, March 14 from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. You can find the live stream on our website at www.ansheemet.org/livestream. If you do join us on Shabbat, we encourage you to greet each other warmly through waving but not handshaking/kissing.

Currently, we will continue to offer our special communal Shabbat kiddush lunch, which will not be self-serve. This may contribute to longer line times and we thank you, in advance, for your kindness as you may spend a little extra time in line.

As we move forward and consult with medical personnel you will be notified of various closures and postponements from Anshe Emet. At this time, we are cancelling our March 20, 2020 Shabbat dinner and Anshe Emet Live in honor of Hazzan Mizrahi. Also, the JUF Event on March 18 has been cancelled, as has the AIPAC event on March 30 at Anshe Emet.

For more information about the virus, please consult with your medical provider or the Centers for Disease Control website.

We will share information as it becomes available. As always, we remain committed to being a kehillah kedoshah, a sacred and caring community.

Take care,
Michael

Michael S. Siegel
Senior Rabbi
Anshe Emet Synagogue


Tuesday, March 10

Anshe Emet Synagogue will Reopen Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11

Dear Friends:

I am writing as a follow up to today’s (Tuesday, March 10) eblast regarding the Coronavirus. As you can see from the correspondence below, the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School will reopen tomorrow and I am happy to report that Anshe Emet will, as well. All activities will resume as normal and the Anshe Emet staff will be back in the office.

We have taken the time that we have been closed to conduct a deep cleaning of the synagogue.

We continue to work very closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the CDC and I have consulted with congregants who serve our community in a medical capacity: to whom we are very grateful. We very much recognize that at this time this public health situation is fluid and things can change very quickly. We thank you very much for your patience and your confidence as we navigate this matter.

As soon as we have additional information it will be shared with the community. Thank you for your concern for the family who has been affected and for your understanding as we work to keep our school and congregational family, safe.


Michael S. Siegel
Senior Rabbi
Anshe Emet Synagogue


From Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School:

Dear Families,

Thank you for your patience as we’ve spent the day working with top public health professionals to gain a thorough understanding of the current situation. As you are aware, today’s closure was a preventative measure, as well as an opportunity to pause and make clear-eyed decisions with all available information on the table. We’ve used this day to continue deep cleaning and making plans for how best to keep you, our community members, safe.

Since last night’s email, the Bernard Zell leadership team has been in constant communication with the Chicago Department of Public Health, seeking their professional recommendations for how the school should proceed. We have also sought advice from individual members of our community and from our ad hoc medical advisory committee.

Both the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health are in alignment with their guidance to resume operations tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, following today’s deep cleaning.

“Given that the current risk of community transmission in Chicago is low, and based on the information obtained regarding the investigation of the parent who has tested positive for the virus which causes COVID-19, the Chicago Department of Public Health does not see a need to continue school closure. We are working closely with school administrators to ensure the health and safety of Bernard Zell students, their families and staff,” said Stephanie R. Black, MD, MSc, Medical Director with the Communicable Disease Program at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Medical experts have assured us that risk to our community remains low. The spouse and children of the affected individual have all been tested, and while the results are still pending, under these specific current circumstances, the Chicago Department of Public Heath’s recommendation to reopen school would be unchanged regardless of the outcomes of the tests.

CDPH consulted directly with the CDC to be certain they were applying the most current clinical understanding of the virus. They concluded:

  • Family members, which were not symptomatic at the time they were in the school and have been absent from the school since last week, did not pose any greater risk than the risk of unknown community-based transmission.
  • If further action is warranted by pending test results, the CDPH will follow up directly with any individuals that may be at elevated risk.

While we will continue to prepare ourselves for the likelihood of future cases, we are satisfied by the medical guidance we have received that this specific travel-related case presents no greater risk than the potential for an unknown community-based transmission.

Moreover, health officials have advised that there is no reason to self-quarantine or even curtail your normal day-to-day activities. They simply recommend that you continue to take standard preventative measures including frequent handwashing and other actions endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I appreciate your ongoing flexibility and your continued well wishes for the affected parent. We are one Bernard Zell community, and we will work together to face this challenge. I encourage you to exercise gemilut hasadim, and show kindness and care for everyone within our community. I plan to be back in touch with you to share an additional update as circumstances warrant.

 

B’Shalom,

Gary Weisserman
Head of School