Message from President Louis Schmier May 13, 2020
I hope all of you are being extremely cautious and staying safe during these trying times. Susie and I have been totally hunkered down since the governor’s mandate of sheltering-in-place. And, though Georgia is slowly opening up and the sheltering-in-place mandate has been lifted, the cases of Covid19 and unfortunately the death rates are still rising n Georgia, and are predicted to skyrocket in the coming weeks. Moreover, the sheltering-in-place mandate is still in place until at least June 15th for those over 65 “elderly,” the category in which the Rabbi falls and those especially vulnerable because of health issues. Since Susie and I are counted among “the elderly” and Susie has several health issue, we’ll be sheltering-in-place as we hope any of you who fall into one or both of these categories will do likewise. This bring me to several points:
- While the congregation has not had the annual congregational meeting, under these circumstances, we can do nothing other than delay the meeting. That will mean that the present Board members and Officers will continue in their present positions, reports on various aspects of the congregational operations will be delay, and several seats on the Board will temporarily go unfilled.
- The Temple will remained closed for several reasons. First, while Georgia is opening up, there is no widespread, reliable testing to see who has the virus but is asymptomatic and contagious, who has been exposed to the virus and is contagious, etc. Those who would attend services would not want to inadvertently go among their friends and family and be infected by them or infect them as has been the occurrence in several Georgia churches. Second, given the age of most of our congregants, as well as the conditions of their health, it would be prudent to see what happens in the coming weeks or longer. Third, given the layout of the Temple, while social distancing would be possible during worship in the sanctuary, it would be near impossible to maintain social distancing before or after services as people enter and leave the sanctuary and Temple itself. And, of course, the Onegs would be out of the question. Fourth, if we were to take the chance to open the Temple, we’d have to disinfect it by doing a deep cleaning after each use. Fifth, we are approaching the summer months when we normally wind down anyway and the rabbi and Penny take their month-long vacation.
- This does not mean the Temple is not functioning. To the contrary. The Rabbi has entered the technological world. And, as many of you know from your own experience, during the past few weeks, we have had virtual worship. The Rabbi is zooming live Friday night services, Tuesday Torah study, conversion classes, and has started a Saturday morning class. This process has been wildly successful. Penny has been sending out invitation for joining her and the Rabbi and other congregants on Zoom in these activities. If you’re using a computer, you only have to click on the invitation URL Penny sends out. If you’re using an Iphone, you first have to get the Zoom app. If you’re having trouble, it may be for a number of reasons. Contact your local internet provider to see if the problem can be solved.
- Obviously, we don’t know when we can hold the corned beef sale. I don’t see any possibility until after the High Holidays, if even then. And if the meat is available with all the meat plants closing due to the virus–and all that depends whether or not the predicted second wave of the virus hits. We may have to be prepared to wait to have sale next March.
- That bring me to the final topic: the High Holidays. The Holidays come in mid to late September. Hopefully, we’ll be able to have services. However, because of the uncertainty, the Rabbi, at my request, is drawing up “just in case” contingency plans, again using the internet. I truly hope this scourge does not prevent us from having live services, but we do need to be prepared.
That’s all for now. Please stay safe.
The Isaiah Fund
The Isaiah Fund is formally under the auspices of the Temple Board. The purpose of the Fund is to provide temporary financial support for congregants who find themselves in need of assistance due to special circumstances beyond their control. Such requests and dispensing of monies from the Isaiah Fund will be in accordance with the following regulations:
- The Fund’s resources are available only to members of the congregation.
- The committee responsible for the dispensing of Fund monies shall consist of the Rabbi and President of the congregation.
- The fund can be used to help pay for such items as rent, medical bills, medications, therapy, food, utility bills, or any other assistance subject to the approval of the Fund’s committee.
- To secure assistance, a member must contact the Rabbi requesting such assistance.
- The request must be accompanied by (a) a statement of how much money is needed, (b) a statement of exactly what the money is for, and (c) both the name and address to whom the money is to go (d) a form of documentation (e.g. bill, notice, prescription ) indicating the specific need. If additional information is needed, the rabbi will follow up the request before any decision is made.
- The rabbi will then consult with the President of the congregation regarding approval of the request.
- A request does not guarantee approval.
- All actions shall be confidential.
- Upon approval of a request, the committee shall decide whether the monies shall go directly to the person making the request or arrangements shall be made to monies to be paid directly to the provider of a particular service.
- The request for funds is ordinarily a one-time request only, exceptions, however, can apply.
- Because the Fund’s resources are limited, there shall be a designated cap of $1,000 on such requests.
- For tax purposes, the recipient of the monies must submit, in addition to initial documentation, subsequent receipts to the Rabbi.