BZBI, where you belong

Information for Joining In-Person Services

    Please Read this Information Prior to Joining In-Person Services

    You do not need to register in advance to attend BZBI hybrid religious services (Kabbalat Shabbat in Fitler Park at 6:00 PM on Fridays, and Shabbat service in the Goldberg sanctuary on Saturdays at 9:30 AM). We ask that once inside our building, you observe BZBI’s rules, which were put in place with the guidance of our COVID task force, the city of Philadelphia, and State of Pennsylvania:

    • Wear a mask while in the building
    • Maintain social distancing
    • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently
    • Use the bathroom designated for you, and use a sanitizing wipe on surfaces afterward.
    • Follow the directional arrows as you walk around the building.

    Potential indicators of COVID-19 or other transmissible infection

    I pledge that I will not attend any service or program at BZBI if I or those attending with me experience any of the potential indicators listed below, or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test:

    • Continuous or intermittent cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever or feel feverish (with or without chills)
    • Sore throat
    • Headache, muscle aches or muscle pain
    • Recent loss of the sense of taste or smell
    • Fatigue (tired)
    • Congestion or a runny nose
    • Recent nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Recent infection requiring prescription medication
    • Exposure in the last 14 days to someone with a cold, flu contagious illness, or suspicion of COVID-19.

    If you have any of the following symptoms, please seek medical assistance immediately:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face.

    Reopening Task Force Report to our Community

    Returning to BZBI for in-person services has been a joyful and significant step in a gradual reopening process. We are thrilled to be able to welcome those who feel comfortable, into the building for Shabbat morning services. It is a gift to hear our voices come together in song.

    During this time, indoor worship services will be abridged to limit time congregating. Social distancing, masking, and capacity restrictions will also be required inside the building. To ensure multi-access capabilities, services and other programs will continue to use Zoom, and we will hold some services and programs outdoors, when possible.

    As we look forward to returning to more in-person worship, learning, and social gatherings, it is the goal of the BZBI Reopening Task Force to help make the BZBI community more vibrant than ever. With the health and safety of our community as a primary concern, we will explore how we can reconnect with synagogue members and provide a meaningful worship experience that benefits from our experience with technology. There will be no one-size-fits-all approach, and we will adjust as we move forward.

    Q: Will BZBI mandate vaccinations in order to worship in-person?

    A: BZBI encourages all members who are eligible to get vaccinated. However, some members of the BZBI community cannot, owing to age limits or health conditions for example. In order to avoid excluding those individuals, we have opted to enact other COVID precautions for weekly services. A decision on vaccine requirements for High Holiday services has not yet been made.

    Q: What is BZBI’s policy on masking?

    A: Masks are required for ALL individuals above the age of two when in the building. Individuals will unmask when delivering a D’var Torah or chanting Torah/Haftorah on the Bimah for improved acoustics. Only vaccinated individuals will be allowed on the Bimah. No other exceptions will be allowed. Attendees who refuse to wear a mask in services may be asked to leave.

    Q: What is BZBI’s policy on social distancing?

    A: Individuals should sit by pods in the sanctuary. The pews are marked with spaces to distance pods by 6 feet, and seating is limited to alternating rows.

    Q: I am vaccinated but my children are not. Can my family attend services in person?

    A: We recognize the importance of a family worship experience on Shabbat and allow unvaccinated children to attend services provided they are masked (if they are over 2 years of age). We are also planning outdoor programs in August for our children and parents to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

    Q: I am vaccinated but have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual(s), or am not feeling well. Am I allowed to come into BZBI?

    A: No. If you are feeling unwell or have had a COVID exposure, please follow current CDC guidelines on the length of a quarantine period before you may return for in-person services.  Our tradition insists that Pikuah Nefesh – the preservation of life – take precedence over even our most sacred Mitzvot.

    Q: What worship experiences are available to individuals or families who are not comfortable returning to in-person services?

    A: All services will remain fully accessible over Zoom.

    Q: Will there be Kiddush on Saturday mornings?

    A: Our kitchen is closed for renovations, and it is impossible to provide adequate social distancing in Kahaner at this point in time. BZBI is looking at ways to support a brown-bag/to-go Kiddush experience. For now, light snacks are being served outside of the main entrance at the conclusion of services.

    Q: Are any worship experiences limited to a virtual-only option?

    A: While all services have a Zoom option, evening minyans will be limited to Zoom-only.

    Q: How is BZBI making COVID planning decisions?

    A: The Reopening Task Force has two physicians providing medical recommendations, and will follow guidance from the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Departments of Health and the CDC. The committee meets regularly to review and revise policies based on community member feedback and changing public health recommendations. In support of High Holiday planning, BZBI will be conducting a brief survey to assess member preferences on worship options and offer the opportunity to voluntarily disclose vaccination status.

    Q: How will BZBI respond to the Delta variant or other changes in the pandemic?

    A: The Reopening Task Force is closely monitoring the potential impact of COVID variants and local community spread. If conditions change; for example, emergence of a vaccine-resistant strain or increased rates of infection, BZBI may adopt more restrictive measures on in-person worship experiences.

    Q: The pandemic has impacted my spiritual, physical, or emotional health. Can BZBI offer any help?

    A: Please contact the rabbis for individualized pastoral care or support: rabbifriedman@bzbi.org or rabbiweber@bzbi.org

    Q: How do I get more information about Reopening Task Force planning at BZBI?

    A: We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Please email reopening@bzbi.org with any comments or questions. COVID policies will be shared in the E-Cong newsletter and on the BZBI website.

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