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Updated HEA COVID Policy: February 23, 2022

The Reopening Committee was put together to be an ad hoc committee.  At that time, right after Purim, we thought it was a two-week to a month volunteer commitment.

Here it is, almost two years later, and I am happy to share with you that due to the reduction in the positivity rate dropping below the threshold that the CDC recommends for widespread indoor mask-wearing, the Reopening Committee is announcing that the HEA mask mandate will be lifted as of Shabbat morning, February 26.

As of February 26, it will be a personal decision for each person whether or not they wish to wear a mask. So go ahead and trade in your KN95s for Purim masks and let your smiles shine if you like. It’s up to you. 

Here are the COVID protocols that we will still be following at HEA:

Masks will be optional, but HEA will not be a place for any mask shaming.  Respect each other’s decisions and do not make any person feel “less than” for wearing or not wearing a mask.

Our water fountains remain shut off.  Please bring a bottle of water from home with you when you come into the building.
 If you feel ill with any symptoms of COVID, the flu, or a cold, please stay home. 
If you have been directly exposed to someone with COVID, please remain home until you are able to be tested and return once you have tested “negative”.

The best defense against getting very sick, hospitalized, or dying from COVID is to get vaccinated.  The Reopening Committee and HEA leadership strongly recommend that everyone who is eligible for the vaccinations and boosters get them. 

Thank you for all of your patience as we have ridden the ups and downs of the past two years. 

Please note that these protocols are subject to change at any time should the positivity rate change dramatically or if the local, state, or federal government imposes any mandates. 

Stay aware and stay healthy,

The Reopening Team

Updated HEA COVID Policy for February 2022

Although Denver’s public health order, which requires individuals aged two and older to wear a mask in public indoor spaces or to provide vaccination proof, expires on February 3, health experts recommend you continue to follow safety measures. Getting boosted, wearing a face covering, and maintaining social distance are effective measures to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. Therefore, we are still requiring that everyone in the building keep their masks on except when sitting to eat and drink.

Please read the CDC's Science Brief: Community Use of Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2

Updated HEA COVID Policy for January 2022

HEA Community,

We want to share with you some immediate yet hopefully temporary changes in HEA’s COVID protocols. Thank you for your patience as we work through this 
latest rise of COVID cases.

The volatility of the infection rate in Denver County makes it impossible to precisely predict future infection rates, at least until the spike in omicron variant infections subsides. As you know, the steps we have already taken—asking for all who are eligible to be vaccinated and boosted and universal masking—are big steps in mitigating risks to our congregants, guests, and staff. Additionally, we know the effects of omicron generally appear milder than previous COVID variants. But we also understand that omicron is more contagious than previous COVID variants. 

Although vaccinated individuals are unlikely to become seriously ill themselves, they may still infect others in the community who may become sick and create an additional burden on our already over-taxed local health system. They may also expose others in the community who do not become sick but are nevertheless required to isolate and stay out of work for a period of days determined by federal, state, and county guidelines.

Please take note of the following immediate (yet hopefully temporary) protocols, changes in schedules and practices:

  • Masks must be worn by all individuals who enter the building and at all times, regardless of vaccination status. At this time, KN95 and surgical paper masks are the most effective facial coverings. We have plenty of masks in the building for you.
  • We ask that everyone who is eligible for the COVID vaccines get them. Also, if you are eligible for the booster, we recommend you get your booster also. No proof of vaccination is required at this time. We trust you.
  • Shabbat morning services for adults will remain in-person. Please make your own personal decision on attendance based on your personal circumstance and comfort level. We will not be holding Musaf class in the library.
  • Rabbi Gruenwald’s Meditation service, scheduled for January 15, is canceled for this month and will return on February 12.
  • Tot Shabbat, scheduled for January 15, has been moved to Zoom. Look for more information soon on how you can celebrate Shabbat with Dani Wynn and Dani Tavbin.
  • Our 2nd-6th grade Shabbat service, scheduled for January 15, will be led over livestream by Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner. Our Wednesday email and our website will have the link for you to join us.
  • Thursday morning minyan will return to Zoom only. 
  • We will not be holding Kiddush lunch. With omicron transmission rates rising due to the speed of the contagious nature of the strain, we want everyone to keep their masks on at all times. If you are missing your weekly meal from Cohen’s Cuisine, please remember you can order your Shabbat dinner and Kiddush lunch from them off of their website.
  • Please bring your water bottle. We will be shutting down the public water fountains. 
  • All Adult Education classes and programs will be moved to Zoom.
  • All Youth Activities will be rescheduled or moved to Zoom.
  • The HEArt program (our religious school) will hold virtual classes for January 23 and January 30 .  Links and details will be forthcoming in the weekly email that parents receive on Friday.
  • Our office will remain open. However, we are on a skeleton crew in the building, so please have patience when you come in or call our office and be kind to the staff.
  • Our Preschool remains open. Although running on a very limited staff, they are keeping our youngest friends safe and cared for. Any changes in preschool protocols or practices will be communicated by Rebecca Paradis, our Preschool Director.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and if you have any further questions about these plans, please visit the HEA website or call our office. 

Thank you again for your continued patience and understanding. We know this is very difficult for everyone. Together, we can work to keep each other safe and healthy. 

B’shalom,

Rabbi Bruce Dollin
Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald
Caron Blanke, Board Chair
Laura Intfen, CEO

Updated COVID Safety Protocols - August 31, 2021

Come close to me, God. Comfort me with apples.
Remind me the world is born again each year—
Even if I’m not ready, even if this year
I’m not sure I know the words to pray.

From the Sonnet for our Second COVID Rosh Hashanah,Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

This past year has left us craving a return to togetherness. It has been a year of limitations, and we are all exhausted and discouraged by the recent news. Based on expert medical advice and considering many different factors, our reopening committee sought to balance the need for communal gathering with reasonable precautions to protect the health and wellbeing of our members. With these values in mind, HEA recognizes that the safest place for members to participate in High Holy Days this year will be at home while viewing our high-definition livestreamed services. Those who choose to attend services in person will be asked to adhere to the protocols outline below. 

Please read through this email in its entirety to be able to fully participate in High Holy Day worship in a way in which you feel is safe and comfortable for you.

CHANGES IN PROTOCOL FOR FAMILY SERVICES AND ALL HIGH HOLY DAY SERVICES IN THE SANCTUARY AND BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH:

The difficult decision has been made that the best way to keep people safe is to have only vaccinated people in both the HEA and Bethany sanctuaries. 

All families with children under 12 years of age are invited to our Young Family and K-6th Family Services, which will be held outside on the HEA Sukkah pad behind the sanctuary. Medical grade, well-fitting masks are required at all services, inside or outside. Masks will be provided if needed.

CHANGES IN PROTOCOL REQUIRING ALL PARTICIPANTS ELIGIBLE FOR A COVID VACCINATION TO SHOW PROOF OF THEIR  FULL VACCINATION STATUS:

We are requiring proof of full vaccination status for all attendees that are eligible for the COVID vaccination. You can find information on eligibility and fully vaccinated status requirements on the CDC website.

HEA is offering you three ways to minimize lines at check-in next week and share your vaccination status early:

  • When you come in to get your tickets, show us either your Vaccination Card, a photo of your vaccination card on your phone, or your online passport from your mYColorado app*.
  • Upload a picture of your Vaccination card or a screenshot of your online passport from your mYColorado app* to either your ShulCloud member account or put your photo in an email to info@headenver.org. Your photo will be deleted after we record your vaccine.
  • Show either your card, a photo of your card on your phone, or your online passport from your myColorado app at check-in when you come to services. If you choose this option, please plan on coming at least 30 minutes early to decrease the backup that will accumulate as people arrive. 

* Both Android and Apple App stores offer the myColorado app for free.  Once downloaded, just follow the instructions to take a photo of the back of your driver’s license to have your online COVID passport downloaded onto your phone. The HEA rabbis have approved the use of electronics only at check-in for this verification process.

Feel free to call our office for assistance with this process.

EARLY BIRD TICKET PICK UP AND MACHZOR CHECK OUT:

You can pick up your tickets, show your proof of vaccination or check out Machzor Prayer books for use at home at our main office:

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (August 31, September 1, and 2)  9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, (September 3) 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Monday, (September 5) 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

 
Registration is required for all services, and capacity is limited at both the HEA building and Bethany Church. Please be advised that if you do not register, you may be turned away at the door.

If you have already registered and have decided to stay at home for services, PLEASE CALL AND CANCEL YOUR REGISTRATION to allow space for those who want to attend.

While we strive to create the safest environment possible for you and your loved ones to gather and welcome 5782 in our community, be aware that there is a certain risk factor in every public outing, and only you can know what is right for you.

FAQs

Why can’t I wait until the morning of services to see how I feel about going?

With room capacity limits in place, if you decide to enjoy services at home, it is possible that someone else who wants to be in the building may not have a spot. 

Won’t my at-home experience be subpar to being in person?

We heard last year from those of you who watched services from home or with your prayer pod that you had a wonderful experience and enjoyed the comforts of home. Consider reconvening your Prayer Pod from last year and relax while enjoying the high-quality livestreaming that HEA provides. Enjoy this video that the HEA staff made last year to remind you how wonderful it is to welcome the New Year with friends and family from your living room or backyard.

How do I join services remotely?

Click HERE to join us via livestream for services. Don’t forget to stop by this week to pick up and check out your prayer book so you can fully participate. 

What do I need to know if I am coming to services in person?

You must pre-register to attend in-person services. You can register HERE or by calling the office.

Plan on getting to shul early as there will be a check-in process.

Be prepared to show your proof of vaccination if you haven’t already done so.

Note that the air conditioning will be blowing to keep the air in the sanctuary moving in accordance with the ventilation suggestions from the CDC. You may want to bring a sweater. 

Remain masked at all times in the building, regardless of vaccination status. Be sure that your mask fits properly, and for your protection, wear a surgical-grade mask. We will have masks available at HEA. 

If you are attending the outdoor Family and Youth Services, always leave your mask on properly and be sure that your child is also wearing their mask properly. 

Know that our staff and volunteers are working hard to keep our community safe. Please do not create any awkward moments for them.  If you are uncomfortable in our building or with any of the protocols in use, we encourage you to join us online.
 
Your safety is of the utmost importance to us.

We plan to continue sharing updates and information and encourage you to visit our website frequently and to open all emails from us for more details. For a complete schedule of the High Holy Day services, links to our livestreaming, and other pertinent information visit:

High Holy Days 5782

Thank you for reading the entire email. If you have any questions, please call our front office or me. May 5782 be a year of hope, health, community, and peace for us all.

Rabbi Bruce Dollin, Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald, Associate Rabbi
Laura Intfen, CEO
Caron Blanke, Chair Person of the Board of Directors

 


Jewish Resources

Some traditional Jewish response in times of community need, and especially in the face of health challenges, are to recite psalms, to learn torah, (with others and on their behalf) and to increase prayer on behalf of others.

MiSheBerach, traditional prayer for healing (MyJewishLearning)

MiSheBerach text, transliteration, translation

Selected Psalms for healing

Thu, May 19 2022 18 Iyyar 5782