President’s Message

Message from President Louis Schmier          September 3, 2020

This is a reminder that the deadline for making reservations to attend the High Holidays face-to-face services in the Temple is Sept. 8.  Only 50 reserved places will be available.   No one can attend services in the Temple without a reservation and assigned seat.  Seats will be assigned after the Sept. 8 deadline.  Attending members can only sit in their assigned, numbered seats.  The Board also wants to remind attendees that they must strictly observe the rules for attending as laid out in its August 19th message.  This is especially critical in the light of the Governors extension of his covid19 emergency declaration to October 10th:

  1. The maximum number of persons attending services in the Temple will be no more than 50, including children.
  2. Everyone sitting in the sanctuary will be socially distant.  Otherwise, only three persons will be seated in every other pew.  Numbered places for sitting will be marked in the pews.
  3. Anyone in a wheel chair, will sit in his/her wheel chair in a place in the social hall.
  4. Reservations will be made on a first-come-first served basis by calling the Rabbi at 229-244-1814 (the 229 area code must be used for the new telephone system) NO LATER THAN TEN DAYS BEFORE ROSH HASHONAH SERVICES.  Reservations can be made for both holidays.  If family members wish to sit together, an attempt will be made to accommodate such requests.  Only families will be allowed to sit together.
  5. Those who reserve seats will be assigned a number and MUST sit ONLY in the pew at that corresponding number for both Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur services.
  6. Should the maximum number of allowed people be reached, a waiting list will be created.  Therefore, it is important that if anyone cannot use their reservation, they should immediately call the Rabbi so he call a person on the waiting list.
  7. No one can enter the Temple for services without a prior reservation.
  8. Social distancing will be maintained entering and within the Temple.
  9. People entering the Temple will: (A) wear masks; (B) socially distance from each other, (C) use the available hand sanitizer, and (D) immediately go directly to their assigned seats.
  10. Any “schmoozing” will be done outside the Temple in the parking lot prior to entering the Temple building
  11. Masks covering both the nose and mouth will be worn immediately upon entering the Temple and throughout services in the sanctuary, and in the bathrooms.  If a person does not have a mask, one will be available in the glass enclosed entrance area.  Masks WILL NOT be taken off at any time for any reason during the services and throughout the Temple.  Should anyone take off his/her mask, he/she will be gently reminded to put the mask back on.  Services will not continue should anyone take off his/her mask.
  12. If children accompany adults, those children will be required to wear children masks and will not be allowed to roam the pews, aisles, or social hall.  Children masks will be available in the glass enclosed entrance of the Temple.  If a child cannot be held in check, that child must be taken from the Temple building.
  13. Except for the Rabbi and Penny, no one will be allowed on the bema for any reason.  All aliyahs  given to those present in the sanctuary will be done from the pews.
  14. Upon the conclusion of services, people will immediately leave the Temple maintaining social distancing without any physical contact with others.  Again, all schmoozing will be done only outside the Temple.

Please understand the members of the Board and your Rabbi did not makes these rules lightly, but struggled to arrive at arrangements, imperfect as they may be, in order to accommodate the various wishes of all members of the congregation.

For those who cannot attend, a quick tutorial will be sent to all on how to place the ZOOM app on their iphones, ipads, and/or computers for use during ZOOM services.  Moreover,  about 25 to 30 prayer books will be made available for sign out.

We, the members of the Board and your Rabbi, want to take this opportunity during these abnormal and trying times, to thank each of you for your support and participation during the last several months, and wish each and every one of you a L’ Shanah Tovah.  May your coming year be filled with sweetness, joy, and good health.

Your Members of the Board.

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:

  1. 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.
  2.   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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. The Fund’s resources are available only to members of the congregation.
  2. The committee responsible for the dispensing of Fund monies shall consist of the Rabbi and President of the congregation.
  3. 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.
  4. To secure assistance, a member must contact the Rabbi requesting such assistance.
  5. 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.
  6. The rabbi will then consult with the President of the congregation regarding approval of the request.
  7. A request does not guarantee approval.
  8. All actions shall be confidential.
  9. 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.
  10. The request for funds is ordinarily a one-time request only, exceptions, however, can apply.
  11. Because the Fund’s resources are limited, there shall be a designated cap of $1,000 on such requests.
  12. For tax purposes, the recipient of the monies must submit, in addition to initial documentation, subsequent receipts to the Rabbi.