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		                                    Your Home for Jewish Life on the North Shore		                                </span>

Reopening Plan

Har El Reopening plan

As the vaccine campaign here in BC has ramped up, we have seen new cases plummet. So far, the evidence shows that through widespread vaccination, we will be able to increase our social contacts and feel the warmth and support of participating in community physically together once more. Using the BC restart plan as our guide, we wanted to share with you how our plans at Har El will fit into the provincial road map.

Over the summer, we will emphasize outdoor programming, both because of the way that the lower risk will ease the anxiety many of you may have, and we live in an area with glorious weather in the summer, so we might as well enjoy it. For this plan, we have divided it into sections, the first will cover prayer services and food. The second will describe our social and cultural programming. The third section will outline what we believe the High Holidays will look like.

Shabbat Morning Prayer Services and Kiddush

We have returned to holding Shabbat Morning services in our sanctuary. As case counts continue to drop and the rate of vaccination increases, we will increase capacity and bring back our community kiddush in a gradual way.

Currently, we require everyone to wear a mask during indoor services. This will continue until Phase 4. According to the provincial plan, the limits on attendance at indoor events lift with Phase 3 which will likely begin in July. As we are a small congregation, we are not expecting to have more than 50 people in attendance, but it would be possible.

Beginning in July, we will serve small snacks and coffee after services either served outside under the awning or in the lounge with the doors open. We will set up some tables and chairs outside. Beginning in August, we will bring back a light lunch with sponsorships from community members. As one of our other main concerns is our environmental impact, we will not use disposable plates and cups, and will have the food plated beforehand. It is our understanding that almost every restriction will lift in September, so we will return to having meals in the social hall after the High Holidays with updated advise around buffets and organized potlucks.

Friday Nights in the Park

For Friday night, we will begin holding Kabbalat Shabbat on the beach in John Lawson Park every other Friday at 6 pm beginning on June 25th. As we did last year, we will stream these services. On the alternative weeks, Rabbi Philip will do the live stream from his apartment as he has been doing. On June 25th, July 23rd, and August 20th, we will hold children’s activities before services and invite everyone to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy after the service. For the other weeks, you are also free to bring a picnic dinner, but it will not be a formal program.

Social and Cultural Programming

Zoom is not ideal for many things, but we have had a great response to many of the classes and movie discussions held online. Because of this, many of our classes and activities and classes will continue online through the summer. For the individual classes, we will ask if the regular participants would prefer to meet in person. If so, we can hold classes in the building, but participants will need to wear a mask until Phase 4 in September. Similarly, we welcome the mahjong and bridge games back into the building, but participants will need to wear a mask until September at the earliest. Our initial conversations have led us to believe that the regular participants would prefer to wait.

We plan on holding a few public lectures over the summer with the plan that we will hold them in the sanctuary so that we can accommodate streaming. These events, however, will depend on interest as summer events garner less interest.

Over the summer, we will hold community walks and hikes on Saturday afternoons and Sunday, so please watch your calendar for those events.

We also look forward to bringing back our weekday Yoga class with Pam Shapiro. For the classes, we will follow the same policies in Yoga studios. Once you are at your mat, you can remove your mask. Mats will be spaced 2 meters apart, and the classes will happen in the social hall where there is more space to spread out.

We will also restart Israeli dancing once we can establish proper protocols.

High Holidays

Following the BC restart plan, we do not anticipate needing to limit capacity for our High Holiday services. As Rosh Hashanah happens so closely to the earliest possible start of Phase 4, we will announce a change in the mask requirement closer to the date dependent on provincial guidance.

It is our intention that we will hold a community break fast after Yom Kippur, and just as this meal marks the transition to earthly concerns after the transcendent experience of Yom Kippur, we hope that this meal can mark a symbolic transition back to a focus on our in-person connections.

Moving Forward

This pandemic has been a learning experience for everyone. Even as we miss seeing you in person, there have been many benefits of using technology to connect. We will continue to stream our services and hold many meetings and classes over zoom, as well as develop a way to hold hybrid meetings and classes. Many of these choices will be an experiment going forward, but we will want to hear your feedback on a few decisions for things like Friday night services. Please keep an eye out for those forums in August.

Sun, June 20 2021 10 Tammuz 5781