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Below are email updates sent to the congregation regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and Temple Ner Tamid's response. 

Current Response Team: Temple President Kenneth Cohen, Rabbi Marc Katz, Cantor Meredith Greenberg, Executive Director Michelle W. Malkin, VP for Shoresh Preschool Debbie Kravitz, Shoresh Preschool Director Wendy Blum, VP for Religious School Erin Ackerman, Religious School Director Iris Schwartz, and Pastoral Nurse Karen Frank. 
 
Date: 3/17/20
Subject: Shabbat in Quarantine
 
Dear Congregant, 
 

I'm sorry to be writing so soon after we got good news of the negative COVID-19 test. However, I wanted to update you about changes in services this weekend, since I am now quarantined.

In short, I took my son, Lev to his 18 month check-up last Monday, March 9th and learned this afternoon that our pediatrician has tested positive for COVID-19. I feel totally fine, as does Lev, however in speaking with various state and local hotlines, we decided that since we were in very close contact during that visit (Lev can be a little squirmy) I should be quarantined for 14 days from the date of exposure (lasting until Sunday).

There are two reasons I'm writing now. First, to let you know that we will be having services on Shabbat over Zoom rather than streaming them, so Cantor Greenberg and I can lead from different locations. And second, if you saw me between Monday, March 9th and now, to pay a little more attention to your own bodies. The advice I got was that exposures of exposures need not quarantine unless I develop symptoms. (For example my wife, Ayelet, is not in quarantine as she was not at the appointment and did not have 1st degree exposure). I feel fine and am at the tail end of the quarantine but if anything changes I will be in touch.

For now, stay tuned for a robust schedule we are working on for next week. We will send out our weekly E-geret later this week with the links to everything but until then, here is the schedule for upcoming events for the rest of this week:

Wednesday and Thursday
7:30pm - Community Sh'ma Unwind with Cantor Greenberg, check our calendar for the link
 
Wednesday, March 18
7pm - Teen check-in conversation with Rabbi Katz
7:45pm - Interfaith Friends Circle
 
Friday, March 20
8pm - Friday Night Services
 
Saturday, March 21
9am - Tot Wake Up Shabbat
9am - Lay Led Torah Study
10am - Shabbat Morning Services
7:30pm - Community Havdallah
 
Sunday, March 22
Religious School and Family Services (information being sent directly to parents)
3pm - Healing Service with Peri Smilow
 
Sending you strength in these difficult times and if you need anything, please reach out.
Rabbi Marc Katz
 
 
 
Date: 3/16/20

Subject: Negative Test Result

Dear Congregant,

We wanted to send a quick update that the congregant who was being tested for COVID-19 just thankfully learned that they tested negative. They also reported feeling better and our thoughts are with them for a full refuah shelema.

We will be in touch in the coming days with more programmatic updates but until then we wish everyone a restful night and continued health.

Rabbi Marc Katz
Temple Ner Tamid
 
 
 
Date: 3/16/20
Subject: Community Opportunities and Updates
 

Dear Congregant,

We promised to be in touch with frequent updates about the individual being tested for COVID-19 who was present over the past two weeks at the Purim Spiel, Megillah reading, and Harvey Morginstin’s funeral and shiva that evening. At this time, we have no updates on the status of the test. We have been in touch with the individual daily and will update you as soon as we know.

It was so moving to be together at our various virtual gatherings this weekend, we hope you felt the power of our community and we are working hard to create a robust calendar of opportunities for our community to stay connected.

Our first offering will be a Community Sh’ma Unwind with Cantor Meredith Greenberg starting tonight at 7:30pm. All are welcome to join us for this nightly (Monday – Thursday) 15-minute connection to help us refocus our energy, give us all an opportunity to connect, and allow us a moment of release as we prepare to rest for the evening. We hope you will join us – the zoom information is below.

Another opportunity we wanted to share is offered by the Jewish Spirituality Institute. This daily online meditation session will be led by a variety of community leaders and will take place M-F from 12:30 – 1:00pm. For more information or to register, please visit their website.

As virtual programs and classes are scheduled, we will be updating our TNT Calendar. This is where you can always check to see what is going on and find the link to the program you would like to participate in. We continue to be committed to your spiritual and physical well-being!

We are with you,

Rabbi Marc Katz
Cantor Meredith Greenberg
Temple President Kenneth Cohen
Executive Director Michelle W. Malkin
 
Topic: Community Sh’ma Unwind
Time: Monday – Thursday 7:30pm – 7:45pm ET
https://zoom.us/j/947132333
 
Meeting ID: 947 132 333
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Meeting ID: 947 132 333
 
 
Date: 3/12/2020
Subject: IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE
 

Dear Congregant,

We have a number of important updates regarding COVID-19. The first is that we got word that a member of our congregation is currently being tested. They attended our 7pm Purim services on Monday night and has not been back since. After consulting with the Bloomfield and New Jersey Health Department, we were given the guidance that unless that person tests positive, there are no quarantines needed. Tests often take 5-7 days. Thankfully, our staff wiped down the microphones after the event and we have had very limited programming in the space since. As we know more, we will send updates.

Even before we discovered this potential news, our temple staff and leadership have decided to make the following changes:

Along with partner organizations, we have decided to cancel all of the large gatherings planned for the month of March and April, including the Passover Seders, speakers’ events, Mitzvah Day, and the RAC-NJ Advocacy Day.

At this time, we will be canceling the TNT Gala. We have already begun plans on how to celebrate 40 years together and honor our founders after this situation is resolved. More information will be coming soon about efforts from the committee to virtually continue the spirit of the event.

All religious school classes are canceled. If you are a parent, please look to your email over the coming weeks for more information from Iris Schwartz and Maribel Leon regarding virtual learning opportunities. We will reassess on a weekly basis when it is safe to resume regular classes. 

Starting next week, most B’nai Mitzvah lessons and adult education will be conducted virtually. Clergy and instructors will be in touch with families and members with more information and instructions.

Shoresh Preschool will be closed on Friday 3/13/20. Over the weekend, we will reassess the feasibility of remaining open as we talk to experts, area communities, and the Bloomfield public schools. If you are part of the Shoresh community, look to your email and text messages (from 973-314-2424) for updates as soon as we know more.

We have a number of updates about Shabbat Services. Our Erev Shabbat service will be moving to livestream only – you can access the stream on our public Facebook page or our YouTube Channel. We are working to give you access to the prayer book outside of TNT. We encourage you to participate in the comment sections as we continue to create community with one another.

Life cycle events, including Saturday morning B’nai Mitzvah services, will be a closed service for close family and friends with livestream available for congregants who want to participate. On all life cycle events, either Rabbi Katz or Cantor Greenberg will officiate in order to limit possible exposure in order to remain the most available to you.

If you are experiencing a lifecycle or pastoral emergency, please call the main Temple number to be connected to Rabbi Katz’s cell phone. For other questions, please call our mainline and leave a message with one of our staff member's extension, not the main voicemail, to ensure someone receives your message.

These are all very difficult decisions for our staff and leadership, the health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance. Our phones and emails are open to your comments and concerns. If you are feeling scared or overwhelmed we want to listen.

We are with you, 

 
 
 
Date: 3/7/2020
Subject: COVID-19 Updates and Actions
 

Dear Congregant,

We’d like to share some information and actions Temple Ner Tamid will be taking in light of recent CDC recommendations. The CDC is recommending that those at high risk, older adults, and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, stay home as much as possible. If you have questions about your particular situation, please call the NJ Coronavirus & Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

In light of these recommendations, we will be making some reasonable changes to protect our most vulnerable population. We will be canceling our senior program, the Louis R. and Dorothy Druian Fellowship Circle, and the Shoresh Bubbie and Zadie visiting program until further notice. Additionally, since our oneg offering is traditionally self-serve, we will not be providing oneg receptions for the time being.

All other programs will be continuing as normal. Our Erev Shabbat Services and many of our programs will continue to be livestreamed, accessible on our YouTube channel and public Facebook page.

Our staff are in constant communications with area synagogues, private and public schools, and NJ and local health departments to stay up to date with the evolving situation.

There is a lot of misinformation available that may cause you concern, for that reason we recommend visiting the NJ Department of Public Health website, www.nj.gov/health, regularly for accurate updates.

Thank you for your continued patience as we chart the best course of action to keep our community members safe.

Rabbi Marc Katz, Temple President Kenneth Cohen, and Executive Director Michelle W. Malkin​​​​​​

Date: 3/5/2020
Subject: COVID-19 Awareness
 

Dear Congregant, 

The staff and leadership at Temple Ner Tamid have been closely following the evolving COVID-19 situation in the US and New York areas. At this time, we wanted to share with you the pandemic procedure plan we have adopted as we plan for the worst but hope for the best.

Here at TNT, we want to make every effort to keep our families safe and healthy. We have supplied hand sanitizer (60%+ alcohol as instructed by the CDC) in all gathering areas and classrooms as well as instructed our custodians to regularly clean all door handles and railings.

All staff have been asked to stay home if they are not feeling well and regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

During this time of uncertainty, we ask you to do your part, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the every-day personal and public health preventative actions recommended by the CDC and if you have traveled to any CDC COVID-19 transmission countries, we ask that you follow the 14-day self-quarantine recommendation.

If you have any personal concerns and would like to speak with our Clergy, they can be reached at Rabbi@nertamid.org and Cantor@nertamid.org. As the situation evolves, we will notify the community of any further actions we will be taking.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate this developing situation!

TNT Staff and Leadership

Thu, May 28 2020 5 Sivan 5780