Health & Safety Committee Update

The Health & Safety Committee (formerly the Reopening Committee) is committed to keeping you informed, answering your questions as they arise and listening to your comments and feedback. Please visit this page often as we will be regularly posting updates, additional FAQs and useful resources.

Throughout this journey, our motto has been, “Go Safe” and we have been guided by the Jewish value Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh B’Zeh/ Every Jewish person is Responsible One for the Other. It is important to understand that the precautions we are taking limit the risk of spreading the virus to others. Anshe Emet, like any other place of worship, cannot eliminate the risk of transmission entirely. While the Health & Safety Committee is focused on what is in the best health and safety interests of the congregation, we must also rely on each person to follow all guidelines and make decisions that limit the risks to themselves, their families, and others. Individuals should assess their own risk level based on a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, ability to wear a mask for long periods of time, work environment (are you exposed to high risk at work?) and out-of-state travel.


Contact Us with Your Questions

Chicago’s Reopening Guidelines for Places of Worship


FAQs

1 |
Q. When will we be able to come back to Anshe Emet in person?
A. We have recently begun to conduct small minyanim. To start, we are inviting lay leaders (Board members and Committee Chairs) to participate to observe the new protocols and provide feedback for future services. Our hope is to gradually expand both the number of people that can attend in person and the number of services. In addition, we have been exploring other small gatherings, including life-cycle events (weddings, brit milah, b’nai mitzvah, shivas) incorporating physical distancing and other safety measures. We are also exploring outdoor program and service options that offer more flexibility with less risk.


2 |

Q. What are some other steps along the way?
A. We have several milestones that we are working toward. While these steps may not necessarily occur in this order, we are evaluating the lessons learned at each milestone to inform the subsequent steps. It is very important to note that these plans and target dates are subject to change on short notice given the unpredictable nature of our current environment. 

      • Conduct in-person Shabbat minyan with ~10 people (Ongoing beginning July 4, 2020)
      • Provide guidelines for programming and life cycle events (In progress)
      • Add a Shabbat mincha service with ~ 10 people (Target: Late July – Early August)
      • Conduct outdoor programs with ~20 people (Target: Mid to Late August) (Working toward this)
      • Increase the number of people in Shabbat service(s) to ~20 people
      • Hold in-person minyan indoors with ~20 people (Target: Late August – early Sept.) 
      • Conduct 2 simultaneous Shabbat morning services (Working toward this)


3 |

Q. How can I be invited to an indoor, in-person service or program?
A. 
During this testing period, the number of people being invited to attend services is limited generally to provide feedback and recommendations on the new protocols. If you would like to attend a service in the future, please contact us at info@ansheemet.org. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of evaluating your own risk and the risk you may pose to others in attending on-site services. We ask that people in high-risk groups or those who have close contact with members of high-risk groups think very carefully about their individual risk before attending.

In order to attend, you must:

      • Be able to be masked for the entirety of the service 
      • Be a Jewish adult (bar/bat mitzvah age+)
      • Be free of any COVID symptoms
      • Not have had any contact with someone who has tested positive in the prior 14 days
      • Follow all travel restrictions (for example, not having traveled in the last 14 days from a state that currently is restricted upon entry to Chicago)


4 |

Q. W
hat about life-cycle events (weddings, brit milah, baby namings, b’nai mitzvah, funerals, shivas)? 
A. For now, we are treating life-cycle events on a case-by-case basis. We are working with each individual or family on a one-to-one basis to determine what works best for them and is within the general guidelines that have been established for health and safety.


5 |

Q. Who is on the Health & Safety Committee? How often do they meet?
A. 
Anshe Emet created an inter-disciplinary Reopening Committee in June to advise and help guide decisions as Chicago gradually moved through the stages of reopening. The committee includes lay leaders: Elizabeth Alpern (medical), Marla Clayman (health communication), Dani Lazar (public health administration), Sam Schwartz-Fenwick (legal), Seymour Turner (facilities); and clergy and staff: Rabbi D’ror Chankin-Gould, Kim Carter, Boni Fine and Naomi Richman. The committee meets weekly.

 


Reopening Committee Update
July 10, 2020

Last Shabbat marked an important milestone for Anshe Emet with our first Torah service in more than 100 days! This service was the first in what we hope will be a series of milestones as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

Throughout this journey, we have been guided by the Jewish value Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh B’Zeh/ Every Jewish person is Responsible One for the Other. It is important to understand that the precautions we are taking limit the risk of spreading the virus to others. Anshe Emet, like any other place of worship, cannot eliminate the risk of transmission entirely. While the reopening committee is focused on what is in the best health and safety interests of the congregation, we must also rely on each person to follow all guidelines and make decisions that limit the risks to themselves, their families, and others. Individuals should assess their own risk level based on a variety of factors such as age, physical condition, ability to wear a mask for long periods of time, work environment (are you exposed to high risk at work?) and out-of-state travel.

The primary goal of this past Shabbat service was to have a minyan present so that we could read Torah and recite Kaddish. Members of the Reopening Committee and Anshe Emet staff were in the main sanctuary to make the minyan and participate in the service. We learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. We were able to get a sense of the space and additional safety precautions that need to be considered over the next weeks and months. All of this informs our thinking about guidelines for any and all in-person programming.

  1. In coming weeks, we will be reaching out to individuals and families to participate in additional on-site services.  The number of people in person will remain very limited to create the safest environment possible. This is why only those who have been specifically invited to attend will be allowed to participate in the live service at this time. We will begin by inviting lay leaders (such as Board members and Committee chairs) who are guiding different aspects of the reopening process; and those who are able to read Torah and lead services on short notice.
  2. After each service, we will collect feedback and carefully evaluate the overall in-person and virtual experiences. Observations will also be made to make any necessary adjustments to health and safety precautions in the context of prevailing conditions and directives from the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and CDC.

The Reopening Committee is committed to keeping you informed and keeping you safe. To this end we are setting up a dedicated page on the Anshe Emet website which will go live next week.  In the meantime, we welcome your questions and comments at info@ansheemet.org.