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Petaluma's Inclusive Center for Jewish Life

Important High Holiday Announcement

08/09/2021 03:28:33 PM


Rabbi Ted Feldman

Dear BIJC Community,

A few decades ago I lived in the south of the United States and Delta was merely the airline that flew through Atlanta. Now the word delta permeates news pages world-over with more ominous implications. The pandemic that we thought was winding down is now, once gain, roaring in our country and around the world. With it come the donning of masks for those vaccinated and unvaccinated and precautions renewed to prevent the transmission of the virus that has changed our daily lives.

It is with this in mind that the BIJC Board of Directors and Ritual committee met last Thursday to review our plans for the High Holidays, but a few weeks away. After serious and heartfelt discussion and with my support, we have decided that the risks associated with gathering in person are too great. We will, therefore, be making our holiday services available only virtually again this year through the Zoom platform.

While there is disappointment in such an action, the reality of the threat is too great to take the chance. I have been following decisions made by other communities and more and more are shifting their services online. There have been communities which have opened their doors for services and events and seen outbreaks of Covid-19. We choose not to risk that happening here. Please look for further communications in the coming weeks for the changed schedule and access links for the services. Fredi Bloom, Jef Labes, and I will be working to do our best to provide a meaningful experience, albeit in a seemingly unnatural way.

Today is Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the month of Elul on the Jewish calendar. Our tradition has seen this month as one of preparation for the Days of Awe leading from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur. Our season of reflection and renewal comes with the ability to use these days ahead to think about the new year and how would might like our lives to be, recognizing the difference between those parts of life over which we have some say and those over which we do not. The themes of renewal and repentance come with notions of forgiveness - forgiving ourselves and people in our lives who have brought hurt into our worlds.

As the holidays approach, there will be opportunities to learn, contemplate, and prepare for our High Holiday experience so that we may enter 5782 with hopeful hearts and grateful feelings for our blessings.

I look forward to walking this journey of the month of Elul with you.

Shalom and Shana Tova,
Rabbi Ted Feldman

Thu, June 1 2023 12 Sivan 5783