The Latest from BZBI

Administrative changes in response to new COVID rules

November 17, 2020

As COVID-19 infection rates rise in Philadelphia and across the country, holidays that we instinctively associate with large gatherings, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, cannot look the same this year as in years past, and we mourn the loss of togetherness that has been the second scourge of this pandemic. That loss is compounded by the ongoing uncertainty of how much longer we will bear the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll of the pandemic. Your rabbis are available for virtual appointments if you need spiritual guidance and support in this difficult time, and we encourage you to take advantage of our online minyanim, or reach out to other BZBI community members individually, to seek and offer support.

Tonight begins the Hebrew month of Kislev, a time that challenges us to find and spread light as the darkness around us grows longer and deeper. We need the spiritual dimensions of Hanukkah – relentless perseverance and uncompromising hope – more than ever. Even when we are physically apart, our community remains strong and united.

Effective November 16, Mayor Jim Kenney instituted new policies for the City of Philadelphia.  We have reviewed these new protocols, and we want to provide you with an update regarding our current practices for worship, programs, and other activities inside our building.

As always, our decisions are consistent with our guiding Jewish Values of piku’ach nefesh (preserving life and health) and arevut (communal responsibility). Accordingly, we shall adopt the new guidelines in the following ways:

  • We shall have one staff member in the office at a time, and our office will be open for phone calls only between the hours of 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM Monday through Friday. As always you can reach us by email: templeoffice@bzbi.org. Public hours are suspended until further notice.
  • All of the other office staff will be working remotely and you can reach them individually, through email and on their cell phones. For contact information please check our website
    or call the Temple office.
  • All in-person ritual services and programs (indoor and outdoor) are suspended until infection rates decline sufficiently for us to resume safely. We will continue all of our online programming and ritual services.
  • The Laurie Wagman Playschool & Abigail R. Cohen Preschool will remain open with additional safety precautions.

As we continue to monitor new developments and guidance issued by the regulatory agencies related to COVID-19, we will notify you of any further changes. We look forward to being together again. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we keep our top priority the safety of our employees and congregants.

With blessings for safety and good health,

Rabbi Abe Friedman
Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Annie Lewis
Associate Rabbi


Rebecca Slavin-Phillips, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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