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JRC Covid-19 Information

 

Click Here to View JRC's COVID-19 Community Covenant


 JRC's Reopening Update and FAQ, November 2020

When we first began to shelter in place in March, we yearned for the day when we'd return to normal. It has been a difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging time for everyone. JRC's swift and comprehensive reaction to the coronavirus kept us connected and in community. JRC responded with abundant caution to institute social distancing and working from home, and to completely redesign how we worship, learn, support one another, and work for the needs of our community (tzorchei tzibur).

As we continue the work of keeping each other safe and consider what in-person activities may be safe, we want to be sure that our actions are dictated by our values and are in concert with the best scientific and medical advice available.

Medical science and Illinois law must be used as the basis upon which we make decisions about how and when to open our building and return to some in-person programming. Opening too soon or too broadly may increase the likelihood of new outbreaks. We continue to hold health and safety above all other concerns as a guiding principle, even as we recognize the toll of continuing isolation.

 

Will JRC organize in person gatherings?

JRC is balancing both creativity and safety as conditions and recommendations continue to evolve. Many of our members enjoyed both in person and virtual gatherings around the high holidays, when the weather was conducive to gathering outdoors.  Early childhood families have safely participated in very small “Play-at-JRC” gatherings on our own playground, with limited building access to our washrooms.  Our expectations must be realistic. We should expect gatherings of differently sized groupings to be permitted at different times and should not be surprised if some activities that are permitted are shut down again in response to new outbreaks or other relevant conditions.

What is the plan to open Early Childhood?

JRC has done a tremendous job of pivoting to online programming for most of our services and programming. Early Childhood Education is one area where no virtual substitution is possible.

That is why preschools across the nation have opened and have had great success remaining open. We are confident that we will do the same. With this in mind, JRC Early Childhood Center is opening classes for 3-5 year-olds on January 11th. Classes will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

After consulting with medical professionals, DCFS, and doing our due diligence regarding building use and airflow requirements, we feel confident that we can safely and effectively open the ECC.

The medical professionals consulting with the Covid Taskforce have advised us that preschool aged children are less likely to spread the virus than older children or adults. The preschool will consist of a very small group of no more than ten children and two adults, allowing for proper social distancing.

The state guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health state that child care programs can stay open if they are following the guidelines of the Department of Child and Family Services. Early Childhood is contained in one part of our building, away from staff or public areas. Contact Shelli Patt, Early Childhood Director, for more information.

What is the plan for Religious School?

JRC has embarked on a meaningful and robust Religious School for the 2020/2021 school year.  Most grade levels held initial outdoor class activities to kick off the school year with some fun community building exercises and with the goal of building bonds between teachers and students. Our teachers and Rabbi David are continually adapting our curricula to a virtual environment and working to strengthen the bonds among the students. We are exploring creative opportunities for the spring, and we will continue to offer exciting and age appropriate offerings during the cold winter months through religious school and beyond. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with Rabbi David should you have further questions in the meantime.

How have we reconstructed Bat/Bar/Brit/B’nai Mitzvah this year?

Mazal Tov! B'nai Mitzvah is about embracing a more adult relationship with Judaism, and we are working with families to ensure that this milestone and ritual can take place in a way that is safe and preserves our values and traditions. Each family in our current B'nai Mitzvah class receives assistance to create a Zoom-based experience.  Everyone has adapted beautifully and the Zoom screens are filled with ruach. Each family finds unique ways to celebrate their child. The B’Nai Mitzvah class has stayed connected and continues to support one another, including passing the custom made Torah scroll holding each student’s parsha,name and signature, from home to home.

What do the Illinois Covid guidelines mean for JRC?

We will continue to communicate with the congregation as we determine when it is safe to reopen different facets of our in-person operations. Senior Leadership and staff are fine tuning what conditions need to be in place for our staff and clergy to be safe and to feel comfortable working in the building. Leadership will also determine what needs to be in place for congregants to gather in the building, including our ability to physically distance and to establish effective cleaning protocols. We will continue to comply with local, state, and federal guidelines as well as take into consideration the importance of the wellbeing of our members, staff and guests. We will likely open up gradually and will be prepared to open and close intermittently if needed. Our building maintenance staff continues to work on special projects around the building. We cannot wait to welcome you back physically!

How does JRC make safety decisions?

The JRC Senior Leadership Team meets regularly with a health professional to discuss the most current COVID-related information as it pertains to our congregation. We base safety decisions on local, state, and federal guidelines, and we weigh how these decisions fit within our values. We consider ways in which we might mitigate risk, and then ask the question, "is it worth the risk?" Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members and staff.

How can I continue to engage with JRC?

JRC staff, clergy, and congregants continue to create programming that's educational and entertaining.

We will continue to offer a variety of online JRC content, including worship services, Torah study, cooking club, Shabbat circle time, and more. Our clergy post daily messages on the main JRC Facebook page which are also available to view on the JRC Community Calendar, as well as hosting a variety of online programming you can participate in live (both via Facebook Live Streaming and smaller group Zoom sessions). Check out our JRC Community Calendar to stay up-to-date with JRC opportunities. We are learning a great deal from this time, so as we slowly reopen, we will offer ways to combine in-person, live-streaming, and virtual programming, which will make it possible for more members to engage.

I'm not on Facebook. How do I access content?

JRC's Facebook page is public, allowing anyone to access it regardless of whether the viewer has a Facebook account. Additionally, we post our daily content on the JRC Community Calendar, including Clergy messages and Kabbalat Shabbat recordings, which are added to the dates they were shared.

Take the North Shore Safety Promise

As cases of COVID19 surge in our state and new guidelines for extra caution are presented from the IL Department of Public Health, JRC remains committed to our values to keep one another safe. Public health, taking care of the community, and not separating ourselves from the community are all Jewish values which we hold sacred. JRC is proud to support our healthcare workers, public health professionals, and each other by always wearing masks, continuing to physically distance, not gathering indoors and doing what we can to save lives. We know this is hard in so many ways, and we are grateful to our JRC members for continuing to hold our collective moral and ethical Jewish values at the forefront.

North Shore University Health System has published this Community Safety Promise. We encourage all of our JRC members to do their part.

Please revisit our website to read our most up to date information. If you have additional questions, please contact info@jrc-evanston.org

 

Stay Safe and Be Well!

Quick Links:

Early Childhood Center Update | Religious School Update

How Do We Make Decisions | Evanston Interfaith Clergy Letter 

Sun, February 28 2021 16 Adar 5781