As we enter the fifth month of the Corona Virus pandemic, Congregation Nishmat Am – its leaders, members, staff – continues to grieve with the rest of the world on the staggering loss of life. We also pray for the full recovery of those who are afflicted by the disease.
The effect of the Corona Virus has been life-altering for all of us. The way we relate to one another, how we transact business, the rhythms of our daily lives and even the manner in which we are raising and educating our children have been changed. All the while we must be vigilant to do all we can to stem the spread of the virus and reduce its impact on our lives.
We also know that the “lockdown” has had a profound effect on our synagogue. The suspension of services and live programs has left a void in the lives of many of our members. We know how eager people are to return to attending services and programs to enjoy the social comradery that comes with those events. Our board of directors has been and continues to meet regularly via Zoom to put plans in place to resume services and programs once it is safe to do so.
Given the persistence of the disease, the recent spike of cases in Texas and also consideration of Jewish Law from the perspective of Rabbi Cohen, the board has decided that we should not resume services at this time. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as the weeks progress and keep you up to date.
We want to stay connected with you! This is what we are planning.
Friday Night Kabbalat Shabbat Zoom service
Each Friday evening at 6:30 PM, Rabbi Cohen leads Shabbat services, using our standard siddur shown on the Zoom screen, and always with a d’var Torah. Watch for the Zoom in information in our e-mail.
Tuesday Night – Pirkei Avot Class
Starting this Tuesday July 7, at 7:30 PM, Rabbi Cohen will give a weekly Zoom class on Pirkei Avot – Ethic of the Fathers. Rabbi Cohen will teach and lead a discussion on this well know part of our Talmud that is a guide for ethical and moral behavior. Watch for the Zoom in information in our e-mail.
Tuesday Afternoon – Women (and men) Love to Learn
On Tuesday, July 14, at Noon Women Love to Learn will take place. The topic is “The Spanish Inquisition and Dona Gracia de Nasi – A Heroine of Sephardic Jewry.” Rabbi Cohen will discuss the significance of the date as we enter the period prior to the Ninth of Av. Then Gerri Patterson will tell the story of Dona Gracia de Nasi, a woman who lived as a converso and became the most wealthy and powerful woman of her time.
Also, look for other classes, lectures or programs during the summer.
Although the format of how we relate to one another has changed dramatically – electronic instead of face-of-face – what has not changed is our personal commitment to be supportive and helpful wherever possible. Please do not hesitate to call or write to either of us at any time if there is any synagogue or personal matter you wish to discuss or need help with.
Our intention – as of today – is to hold high holiday services at the Comfort Inn & Suites, the same venue as in previous years. Services will be conducted in full compliance with government and health agencies as well as any hotel regulations. Next week we will send out our High Holiday information sheet with specific procedures as they pertain to the current situation. We ask that you return it to us with the necessary information so that we may properly plan to create a safe, joyful, and meaningful High Holiday experience.
As you know, the pandemic is creating serious economic consequences for us as well. We turn to you to help us maintain the synagogue now so we can be fully ready to serve you and your families both during and after this crisis. In the High Holidays mailing you will see our launching of the annual Yom Kippur Appeal. We sincerely hope that you can generously support our annual campaign.
It is our fervent wish that we stay healthy and safe and that we will soon be able to resume services and greet one another face-to-face.
With sincere best wishes,