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A B'nei Mitzvah During the Covid 19 Pandemic

1. Welcome to Bar/Bat Mitzvah
2. How Do I Choose A Date?
3. Preparing For The Service
4. Planning Your Reception
5. Resources

We know you have been preparing for two or three years for your family's simcha. We know this simcha will now be much different than you had imagined and this may not be the Bar/Bat Mitzvah you envisioned so many years ago. However, we can promise you that our clergy will  work with you to create a meaningful, inspirational moment that you will treasure and remember. 

The following options are currently available:  

All subject to change as we follow recommended government guidelines, which change frequently


Option 1: On Campus - Outdoor Grossblatt Chapel

After hearing about the Governor's ban on indoor worship services, we can now offer an on-campus option in our beautiful outdoor Grossblatt Chapel for bar/bat mitzvah services The protocols that in place are precisely the same as the protocols for an indoor worship service (when ban is lifted) with the following exceptions.

  1. Guests will be limited to 30 people not including clergy, accompanist and other Temple Judea staff.
  2. All guests will still be required to wear masks at all times.
  3. The synagogue will provide all the chairs, tables, sound system, etc. There are significant additional costs associated with an outdoor event, but the synagogue will be subsidizing these costs.
  4. We do not have the ability to stream the service from any outdoor venue including the outdoor chapel. However, we will upon request, recommend a few vendors who can offer your family the ability to Zoom or livestream from the outdoor chapel. While there is an additional cost for this, we will work with vendors to assure you the most reasonable price possible. 
  5. There is no inclement weather alternative on campus. The service will be live on Zoom from your home if inclement weather is anticipated.
  6. In the event of a stay at home order, all b'nei mitzvah will be held via Zoom at your home.*  

Option 2:  Online on ZOOM

We also now know, based on our experience, that you can have a meaningful and memorable bar/bat mitzvah service online. 

In an effort to continue to focus on overall safety along with taking into consideration the latest medical, legal, and governmental guidelines, we will ask you and your guests to follow the criteria below if you select the Zoom Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  These guidelines are subject to change.  We will adhere to all recent and applicable government orders, rules, and regulations.  We will attempt to provide as much notice as possible, but please understand there may be changes and factors beyond our control.

Zoom Guidelines

A Bar/Bat Mitzvah service on Zoom originates from the home of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  It may originate from any location, but it does not take place on the Temple Judea campus.  A robust WiFi connection is required.  Most every home has a connection suitable for this purpose.

Equipment needed

The basic equipment is quite simple:  a computer with a camera and WiFi access.  Some families have chosen to augment this with inexpensive cameras designed for this purpose.  Others have chosen to engage an audio/visual company to provide more substantial cameras, TV monitors, etc.  Upon request, we are happy to provide you with our A/V vendor recommendations. This is strictly the choice of the family, we’ve seen great services done in every conceivable format.  

Zoom Link

Well in advance of the service, Temple Judea will provide you with a Zoom link that you can send via email to all of your guests.  Guests will click on the link and be in the ‘Zoom Room.  Your guests don’t have to have Zoom, though at this point, most everyone does. 

Provided by Temple Judea

We provide the Sefer Torah.  The cantor assigned to your service will deliver this to your home by arrangement on Monday or Tuesday prior to the service. 

    1. The Sefer Torah will be marked with post-it notes to delineate the aliyot and the Maftir.
    2. During a Zoom rehearsal, the cantor will review this with you and explain to you how to navigate the Torah.  
  1. You will be required to drop off the Torah the Monday after the service between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm.  You can leave it with the security guard at the security booth.
  2. We will provide a wrapped gift that will be presented during the service along with an envelope that contains the certificate of Bar/Bat Mitzvah. 
  3. We can provide a link to a siddur that can be used during the service.

 Guests

  1. You are free to have as many guests at your home as you feel comfortable to a maximum permitted by local, state and federal laws, regulations, guidelines, orders and advisories.  If possible, we recommend outside, weather permitting. 
  2. We advise you to follow all government advisories, regulations, warnings and orders.
  3. Temple Judea is not liable for the prevention or transmission of COVID19 that results from your event at your home. 
  4. Please let us know as early as possible if you will have more than 99 logins. 

 The Service

  1. The service is very similar to our ‘regular’ pre--COVID service in the Goor Sanctuary.  The Bar/Bat Mitzvah does all the prayers, chants all the aliyot and the Maftir, the Haftarah, the D’var Torah, etc.  
  2. Aliyot are either with people actually present in your home or online.  The clergy is responsible for muting and unmuting everyone.  It works well. 
  3. There is all the music you would have at our ‘regular’ pre-COVID service.
  4. The rabbi will sign on to Zoom approximately 20 minutes before the start of the service.
  5. The rabbi and the cantor will let people in from the waiting room and monitor the entire technical side of the Zoom service.  You may see them looking down.  They are communicating with each other via chat or text. 
  6. At the end of the service everyone will be unmuted to speak to each other and wish the Bar/Bat Mitzvah mazal tov. 

 

Option #3:
A
n Indoor Worship Service (when ban is lifted)

These protocols are based on extensive consultations with medical and legal professionals, as well as the advice of numerous professional organizations such as the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the American Conference of Cantors. They have been endorsed by the lay leadership of Temple Judea. We ask for your patience and understanding.

In an effort to continue to focus on overall safety along with taking into consideration the latest medical, legal, and governmental guidelines, we will ask you and your guests to follow the criteria below if you select an indoor worship  option in the Goor Sanctuary.  These guidelines are subject to change.  We will adhere to all recent and applicable government orders, rules, and regulations.  We will attempt to provide as much notice as possible, but please understand there may be changes and factors beyond our control.  

  1. Each family will be allowed 40 guests inclusive of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family.  This does not include clergy and other Temple Judea staff, one videographer and one photographer. Infants in arms/strollers are excluded.
  2. Everyone will be required to wear a mask at all times while on campus and especially in the sanctuary. There are no exceptions except as noted below.
  3. Everyone entering the building will be temperature screened with a non-contact thermometer.  Any temperature reading of 100.1 or higher will not be permitted to enter.
  4. Everyone entering the building will be required to sign the Temple Judea COVID waiver/release. 
  5. Guests will be expected to comply with all posted signage and directions.
  6. An electronic copy of a  guest list will be provided to Stacey Rutstein at the temple office by Tuesday the week of the event.  Guest lists must contain guest emails.
    1. Each guest will be sent an email with a COVID waiver. Guests should print out the waiver, sign it and bring it to the synagogue of the day of the bar/bat mitzvah.
    2. A guest who arrives without a signed waiver will be asked to do so at the entrance. 
    3. No guest will be admitted without a signed waiver. 
  1. The service will be limited to 75 minutes. 
  2. The service will be broadcast over our livestream, if you choose.  Guests not present can access the livestream without charge or password via the Temple Judea website, FB Live and YouTube Live. 
  3. Air conditioning will be used during the service. 
  4. There will be no communal kippot, tallitot or prayer books.  Families that wish to obtain their own kippot may do so but they must be distributed in a manner that maintains social distance.
  1. Temple professional staff (rabbi, cantor, music director, etc) will wear a mask at all times, except when they are speaking or singing.   Cantors are required to stand behind the plexiglass barrier while they are singing. 
  2. Clergy and professional staff may also choose to wear face shields at their discretion.
  3. Guests will sit in pews as marked.  Guests will sit as individuals because the temple cannot monitor who is in a family bubble and who is not.  This excludes children able to sit on their parents' laps.
  4. There will be a pew reserved for the parents and siblings of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah who may sit together.
  5. There will be no communal singing, responding to prayers such as the Torah blessings or responsive readings. The only people permitted to sing are the cantor and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  6. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah will stand behind a Plexiglass barrier. While standing there, s/he is not required to wear a mask.  While behind the Plexiglass barrier, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be able to chant prayers, Torah and Haftarah.
  1. When not standing behind the Plexiglass barrier, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah must wear a mask at all times.
  2. The parents of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah may stand behind the Bar/Bat Mitzvah barrier when appropriate in the service.  While behind this barrier, they are not required to wear a mask.
  1. The only people permitted on the Bima will be limited to the clergy and the mother/father/siblings of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah and of course, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  1. Aliyot will be read (not chanted) from the pews. No response is permitted.
  2. There will be no lifting of the Torah (hagbah) or dressing of the Torah (glilah).
  3. The Torah will not be returned to the Ark during the service.
  4. The mother/father/siblings may dress the Torah.
  5. The Torah will be out on the Bar/Bat Mitzvah lectern and rolled to the appropriate portion.  Each aliyah and maftir will be noted with a post-it note.  This will be reviewed at the rehearsal.
  6. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah will chant the Haftarah and the D’var Torah as per normal.
  7. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah will receive a blessing from the clergy.  Bar/Bat Mitzvah will stand behind Plexiglass without a mask.  Clergy will stand a minimum of 6 ft away and be wearing masks.
  8. Parents' blessing will take place behind the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Plexiglass and are not required to wear masks.
  9. There will be no Motzi and no Kiddush.
  10. At the moment, there are no receptions.
  11. Guests will be asked to leave the Sanctuary in a manner that maintains social distancing.  While on our campus, including the parking lot, there will be no hugging, etc.  Social distance is to be maintained at all times.
  12. Each student will have one rehearsal in the Sanctuary with the assigned cantor.
  13. Use of the bathrooms will be subject to social distancing.  A maintenance person will be present to clean after each use.
  14. The elevators are restricted to those who cannot access the sanctuary in any other way.  Some elevators in the building will accommodate 2 people; some will accommodate 4 people.  Signage will designate occupancy for COVID19.
  15. The parents/siblings/and Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be able to access the Sanctuary for pictures on the bima if desired.  They do not have to wear a mask, but anyone else (e.g., photographer) must wear a mask.   The Ark may be open or closed at your discretion.  You will have to make a separate arrangement to take pictures in the sanctuary.  This can be done before the service, time permitting.  
  16. Temple Judea, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to alter these rules without notice.
  17. Temple staff and volunteers ask all guests to comply with these rules.
  18. Bar/Bat Mitzvah family members are expected to follow all of these guidelines, role modeling appropriately safe behavior to all their guests.
  19. Guests who do not comply will be asked to leave the campus. 

We pledge to keep you informed in a timely fashion with information as soon as we receive it. 

In addition, rules, orders and regulations from various authorities  having jurisdiction change frequently. Again, we ask for your understanding and patience.

A note from Temple Judea’s Senior Rabbi, Joshua M. Aaronson