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Coronavirus Update 3.11.20

Dear Friends,
As an organization founded upon Jewish values, one of our highest priorities is the safety, health, and well-being of each member of our community.  Our tradition emphasizes the importance of Pikuach Nefesh:  preserving, protecting, and saving life. As we shared in our email last week, our leadership has been diligently monitoring the spread of COVID-19, and we are continually assessing the implications of cancelling, postponing or altering our various AJC programs and activities.  These decisions are difficult and complicated.  We pride ourselves on being a safe and supportive community for people of all ages to engage meaningfully in Jewish life.
In the recent declaration by Gov. Jared Polis regarding the state of emergency in Colorado, he stated, “Our most vulnerable population, including those over 60 and those with chronic health issues, are urged to avoid public gatherings.”  We recognize our role in helping lead the effort to help limit the potential spread of the virus locally.  Additional learnings from other communities have shown success in decreasing the potential spread of the virus by swiftly limiting large gatherings.  We are committed to learning from other communities and doing our part locally. 
Based both on these facts and on Pitkin County Public Health’s recommendation for organizations to postpone or cancel nonessential gatherings, the leadership of the congregation has decided the following:
  • Until further notice we will be moving forward with a solely live-streamed approach for Shabbat services. This includes this Friday’s congregational Shabbat & Purim service.  While we will miss celebrating with everyone in person, we hope you are able to tune in and enjoy the live-streamed Schpiel and service with your family from home.  All other elements of our Purim celebration have been canceled.
  • At this time we are also postponing our Women’s Seder.
  • For our Hebrew School programs, we will follow the lead of the Aspen and Roaring Fork School Districts. Should either district cancel in person classes we will do the same. This approach will also apply for all of our Young Family programs (ie. Shabbat Box/Holiday programs).
  • As this is an evolving situation, decisions regarding additional future programming will be forthcoming.
It is a difficult and unprecedented decision for our congregation to suspend in-person services. We know how meaningful these opportunities are for the our community, especially for those who are going through a difficult time and are in need of spiritual solace. In order to allow those who wish to say Mi Shebeirach and the Mourner Kaddish for loved ones, we encourage you to share the names of loved ones either prior to services by email to Rabbi Segal or through the comment section on our live stream during the service itself. We will share these names aloud during services just as we would if you were physically present.
We know that this is a time filled with uncertainly and worry for many. As always Rabbi Segal is fully available for you; please feel free to reach out to Rabbi Segal for support or conversation.
With prayers for health and comfort for our entire community,
Jason Schnissel & Rabbi Segal
Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780