Temple Judea meets quarantine challenge

The Island Now
Cantor Jacobson, Education Director Lauren Resnikoff, Rabbi Todd Chizner (Photo courtesy of Nancy Fadem on behalf of Temple Judea)

”Shelter in place” has become the byword of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning virtually all Temple Judea activities that had been scheduled must now be done from homes. Many of Temple’s activities needed to be re-examined. New ways to function needed to be discovered. Temple Judea has quickly met this challenge.

The “new normal” is now seeing and participating in Temple activities online via Zoom.
The possibilities of Zoom, which up until now were practically unknown to many, have become the gold standard for Temple participation.

Virtually all of the Temple activities, which have always been in the Temple sanctuary, library, classrooms, meeting rooms or offices, are now online for all to access from the comfort and safety of their own homes, a most helpful new way to carry on Temple services, activities and business.

Friday evening Shabbat services are now conducted online by Rabbi Todd Chizner and Cantor Deborah Jacobson. Cantor’s guitar provides a warm addition to the singing of the prayers and songs.

Because COVID-19 happened so quickly and with minimal time to prepare, the congregants didn’t have access to their prayer books. A quick remedy was devised by projecting on screens various prayers, readings and Torah portions. Through Zoom, all participants can be seen and heard, both individually and as a whole group.

Recently, it was determined that if the weather is good, Shabbat services will be held outside in the beautiful Lipsey Garden as well as virtually on Zoom.

The Temple Judea Wednesday Torah group, a mainstay for many years in the Temple library, is now done “virtually” led by Rabbi Chizner.

Each member of the group participates from their own homes. The portion of the Torah to be studied is projected on their screens. To be able to see and hear each other is almost as good at being “in person” and lively discussions follow. It is a pleasure for each member of the group to meet this way.

“Back to the Basics” a course in elementary Hebrew for adults is offered twice each week. Rabbi Chizner, Cantor Jacobson and Education Director Lauren Resnikoff alternate as instructors. The students of the class are enthusiastic about now being able to read the Hebrew words that they have always known from the liturgy but had never been able to read in Hebrew.

Numerous other entertaining and educational events have been provided to our members and the community including a wine tasting and an online interview with a prominent cast member of the popular TV show, “The West Wing.” Other events are in planning stages.

Temple business must go on, and necessary conferences for clergy, trustees, board members, committee members and office staff are frequently held virtually to discuss important Temple matters.

The High Holidays are approaching, presenting some important questions and decisions which need to be made. The date that the pandemic will end is unknown. Accommodating several hundred congregants and meeting everyone’s needs and desires in a safe way is a challenge. The members of the board, clergy and staff are continuously working out details to do so and provide a meaningful, inspirational and traditional High Holy Day experience for all.

Temple Judea of Manhasset is located at 333 Searingtown Rd. at exit 36N on the LIE. Phone: 516 621-8049 Visit the website at www.temple-judea.com. New members are always welcome. The first year of membership is free!

Submitted by Temple Judea of Manhasset

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