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

Kane Street Synagogue’s response to the COVID-19

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.

We have assembled an advisory group of Synagogue members who have infectious disease expertise, and have been relying 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.

Kane Street Kids

Kane Street Kids will close as of Monday, March 16, and will remain closed at least through March 27. We recognize 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 believe this is the right time to make this choice. We will continue to reevaluate when we can safely re-open, and Rivka Seeman will continue to communicate regularly with our preschool families.

Hebrew School and Children’s Programs

As of today, we are suspending Hebrew School classes, youth services on Shabbat, BBYO, and Bialy Rock programs for the next two weeks, through March 29. At that time, we will reevaluate to determine whether this programming can resume. Our staff will do everything they can to provide children with at-home learning opportunities. Further information will come directly from Rabbi Valerie Lieber.

Shabbat Services
Services on Friday night, Shabbat morning and Sunday morning will be suspended as of now and through March 29. 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. We also remind you of fellow Conservative congregations that livestream their services.

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 will be postponed through the end of March, at which time we will reevaluate how to proceed. 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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