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236 Kane Street / Brooklyn, NY 11231 / 718 875-1550

Kane Street Synagogue’s response to the COVID-19

Updated: September 8, 2020
Originally posted: March 12, 2020

Pikuach nefesh, or saving a life, is of paramount importance in Judaism. We are being guided by that imperative in all decisions we make. We also recognize that gathering as a community in times of trial and uncertainty is very important to our community, and we want to find ways to continue to do so in safe ways, even if they are not the ways we are used to.

The Kane Street COVID-19 Advisory Group consists of Synagogue members who are physicians, many of whom have significant infectious disease and epidemiology expertise. We have relied on them for guidance and advice, in addition to the official guidance from the CDC, NYC Department of Health, and other government and Jewish communal agencies, including regulations from the NYC Department of Health with regards to holding in-person classes for our Preschool.

Kane Street Kids Preschool

Kane Street Kids was closed as of Monday, March 16, 2020, and remained so until the end of the 2019-20 school year. We recognized the importance of routine and education for our youngest children, but for the safety of our students, their families, and our teachers and staff, we believed this was the right time to make this choice. We are happy to announce that the school re-opened for in-person classes on September 8, 2020 for the 2020-21 school year. We constantly evaluate the ongoing impact of the pandemic, including keeping to strict health and hygiene protocols, and our Preschool Director continues to communicate regularly with our preschool families.

Hebrew School and Children’s Programs

We suspended Hebrew School classes, youth services on Shabbat, BBYO, and Bialy Rock programs for the next two weeks, through March 29. At that time, we reevaluated to determine whether this programming could resume, and concluded the best course was to do so online only. For the 5781/2020-21 school year, classes remain remote only until further notice.

Shabbat Services
Services on Friday night, Shabbat morning and Sunday morning currently take place online only. This is a profoundly difficult decision to make, as Tefilah B’tzibur (community prayer) at Kane Street is a mainstay of our lives, for many of us for decades. We are taking this pause in light of the dangers of public gatherings for all of us, and to take time to imagine alternative ways of prayer which – while connecting us to G-d, Torah and each other – will also involve less risk. Please find information and links to all of our regular services at

Learning and Social Groups
Rabbi Jason Gitlin will be following up to help transition Pirkei Avot Study Groups, Our Jewish Life Discussions, and other activities onto an online platform during this time.

Other Events and Meetings
Parlor Meetings related to the Rabbi Search were postponed into April, at which time we held them online. We will communicate about other upcoming events as decisions are made.

Practical Support and Pastoral Care
At this time, many are feeling frightened and alone, and we know that some may be in need of practical help to enjoy life day to day.

It’s moments like this when being part of a community that cares, supports, and prays for one another can be most strongly felt, lifting our spirits. Let us increase our resolve to be here for one another. If you can help with support of daily needs, such as light shopping or picking up a prescription, or if you have such needs, please contact [email protected] For pastoral support, please contact [email protected].

Pirke Avot powerfully teaches “do not separate yourself from the community” (al-tifrosh min ha-tzibur) — and we won’t!

Thank You For Your Cooperation
We know that these changes will bring inconvenience and sadness to many in our community. We are doing everything we can to protect our community so that we may continue to support each other in health and happiness. Please help us to keep the whole community, especially those within our congregation who are at heightened risk of complications, safe and healthy.

Every morning, immediately upon arising, the traditional Jew thanks G-d for another day of life (“Modeh ani…”) and then, after ritually washing hands, for “seichel tov l’chol osei’hem” which means “good sense for all the practitioners.” We are now listening to, and grateful for the advice of the physicians in our community. But we have each become, in a way, general practitioners, now uniquely mindful of the opportunity we all have to preserve life. As a Kehilla K’dosha, a sacred community, we will continue to take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the health of our Synagogue households, and to do what we can to arrest the spread of this disease so that others avoid suffering. We will continue to provide you with updates.

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