Tree of Life Congregation
Tree of Life

Shabbat in-person

ToL’s Board of Trustees, on May 3, 2021, voted unanimously to accept the Reopening Task Force’s plan of action. (Please see the Board’s report below.)

We shut down all in-person gatherings after our March 13, 2020, Shabbat services. With continuing green or yellow codes for Monongalia County (click on WV DHHR & select “County Alert System”) we plan to reopen ToL in-person Shabbat services on May 21, 2021.

Thank you: Lee Petsonk, Chair Reopening Task Force, and members Al Berrebi, Scott Daffner, David Rosen, Linda Herbst, and Marty Sippin. Your many hours researching, discussing, and crafting our board’s new leadership strategy are very much appreciated.

Board of Trustees Report:

Tree of Life Congregation is moving towards reopening. The Board of Trustees and the Rabbi have recently approved measures that will allow TOL to reopen for in-person programming in a limited fashion. Religious school and Hebrew school will remain remote for the remainder of the academic year. Please note that even when open for in-person programming, we will continue to broadcast/live-stream programming to accommodate congregants who do not attend.

The decision to open for in-person programming will be made each week based on pre-established criteria relating to current public health data for Monongalia County and will be broadcast to the congregation via eNews, updated on the website, and available for confirmation via a telephone call.

Congregants should self-screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to attending, and if they have any such symptoms, should not attend. Those who choose to attend will notice some necessary changes; many of these are practices to which we have all become accustomed over the course of the pandemic. Unfortunately, due to social distancing guidelines, capacity will be limited. In addition, to limit exposure, attendees will only be allowed into the building 15 minutes prior to the start of programming and should leave within 15 minutes of the conclusion. Following are attendance policies:

  Attendees will be asked to follow all posted guidelines.

  Masks and social distancing are required.

  Appropriately spaced seating will be marked (members of the same household are allowed to sit together).

  Please note that the water fountain will be turned off – you may bring your own if you wish.

  Those who wish to wear a kippah or tallis should bring their own, as shared items will not be available.

Understandably, some may find these policies to be too stringent, and others too lax. Please rest assured that TOL’s COVID-19 policies and procedures were developed based on the best available resources. They have been thoroughly vetted and are consistent with recommendations of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Moreover, our guidelines and policies will continue to change as necessary as the pandemic evolves. We remind our congregants that they need to take personal responsibility for their own health as well as their actions and practices that can impact the health of those around them. The Board strongly encourages all eligible congregants to complete a full COVID-19 vaccine protocol before considering attending programming. The decision on whether or not to attend in-person programming must be made on an individual basis and should rely on one’s own comfort, health status, risk factors for exposure or transmission, and the current public health conditions of their own county or municipality.

ToL Board of Trustees, May 3, 2021