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COVID Resources

Important information about Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah:
  • Please continue being extremely vigilant with all our anti-Covid protocols. Keeping our community open requires strictness with regards to masking and distancing in public places — even during this joyous holiday.
  • Our protocol for Simchat Torah this year will not involve the raucous circle dancing of other years, the public consumption of alcohol, or long, extended services. Please avoid such activities even if you are davening elsewhere over the holiday.
  • Please keep your young children home and please do not attend if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to Covid, or show symptoms of such.
  • Please continue to use the anonymous, shul based form to report any Covid symptoms or positive tests, both for you and for any guests who may be visiting. Click here to find the form.
COVID-19 Holiday Letter


Dear NTS Members and Friends,
 
We always thank the folks who make our chaggim seem to run so effortlessly, but trust us, it was anything but effortless this year. Special thanks to Scott and Yoni in particular for going “above and beyond,” and also to Seth Jutan, Harold Steifel, Rabbi Chaim Lindenblatt and Rabbi Shlomo Pill for stepping up in a big way as our chazzanim, Torah readers, and shofar blowers.
 
We think you will all agree that the protocols and vigilance we have had in place these past several months have, thank God, kept us safe and healthy. Nonetheless, it is still worth addressing a few points to keep in mind over the chaggim.
 
If you are feeling alone and isolated, please reach out to Rabbi Seeman. These are tough times, you don’t need to go it alone.
 
If you are not feeling well or are showing any symptoms DO NOT come to shul - even if you signed up! If you have any reason to suspect that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID or you were in a high risk environment, DO NOT come to shul - even if you signed up!
 
Masking (that covers both mouth AND nose) is required for everyone, everywhere.
 
We would be remiss if we do not also touch on the following:
 
If you are having guests for Shabbat and Yom Tov:
Meals that are shared indoors by multiple families on Shabbat and Yom Tov pose risks not only to the particular families, but to the entire infrastructure of the community. It is extremely difficult to maintain mask wearing and social distancing at a meal. It is critical therefore that if meals are shared that they should take place outside only and with as much distancing and mask wearing as possible. Please consider that the choices that you make have an impact on so many others.
 
If you have been traveling (Public Air/Train/Bus or Private Car):
Anyone traveling from out of town (whether a guest or a returning Atlanta) should inform the shul about attending minyan/services. We review each situation on a case-by-case basis and the shul might require either a negative COVID test and/or a 14-day quarantine depending on the location and nature of your visit. Please email: exec@newtocoshul.com.
 
Finally, it's extremely important that we are aware of any COVID spread within our community as this has major ramifications in decisions being made at our shuls and schools.
 
If you tested positive for COVID or have strong reasons to suspect that you have contracted it, it is your communal responsibility to your fellow NTS members to report it through the confidential shul-based system for tracking COVID that has been created for our community.
 
Members who believe that they have COVID are asked to report their condition through this confidential form. This initiative is being spearheaded by local health experts, and you can read more about it here: https://www.newtocoshul.com/covid.
 
Thank God, there are many ways to hear shofar this year at shul, outside shul and around the neighborhood. Just remember your health comes first.
 
On behalf of ourselves and the board, we wish everyone gmar chatimah tova.

Rabbi Don Seeman, Rabbi
Rabbi Reuven Travis, Chair, Executive Committee

Synagogue COVID-19 Tracking System


Synagogue COVID-19 Tracking Link

Dear Members -

Thanks to an initiative launched by Dr. Raphael Harpaz, we are able to take part in what we hope will become a community-wide system that will help us track COVID-19 rates in our shul and in the broader Orthodox community throughout Atlanta. 

While Rabbi Seeman is often one of the first to know if there is serious illness among congregants, that is not a robust or foolproof system, and you may not know if it is adequate to guide your decisions. To address this problem, we are initiating a shul-based COVID-19 tracking system. The system is confidential, and it works like this:

In brief, congregants who believe that they have COVID-19 are encouraged to report their condition and to respond to a few questions using this form. The information goes to a confidential mailbox that is managed by a trusted individual, and a weekly report is shared with participating rabbis. This part is thus quite effortless.

In addition, each rabbi at participating shuls (at this point, BJ, OHT, and NTS) can decide whether he wishes to be alerted in a more immediate manner should a congregant learn that he/she had been contagious when attending minyan, so that steps can immediately be taken, if necessary, to alert others participating in that minyan.

If there are any questions regarding the rationale or details of this project, please feel free to contact Reuven Travis at exec@newtocoshul.com. We thank Dr. Harpaz for taking the lead on this important initiative!

All the best.

Reuven Travis
Rebecca Schmerer
Yoni Graber
NTS Executive Board

COVID-19 Minyan Protocols
  • Minyan registration is currently NOT required for any minyan - whether Shabbat or weekday. (We are requiring registration for the upcoming Yomim Noraim holidays including Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur due to the larger volume. Please click here to register: Rosh HaShana Minyan Registration.)
  • To make everyone feel as comfortable as possible, we have THREE minyan "zones":
    (1) Inside the building (approximately 15 spaces).
    (2) The back porch (approximately 10 spaces).
    (3) Outside the physical building by the windows (approximately 6 spaces).

    Additional Notes:
    -- Both men and women are welcomed to attend minyan and we have women's sections available in all three minyan "zones."
    -- All building windows and doors will be propped open to maintain steady airflow which will maximize the safety of our congregants.
    -- Please note the use of the term "spaces" (not "seats," per se). There can be multiple seats in a "space." This will allow multiple members of the same household to occupy the same "space" and sit together.
  • DO NOT ATTEND SHUL IF:
    -- You have received a positive COVID test.
    -- You (or anyone living with you) is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms as defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).
    -- You have been exposed to someone who has either tested positive for COVID or who is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms (see link above). Exposure guidelines are defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html).
  • We evaluate other situations like air travel on a case-by-case basis. The shul's rabbinic and lay leadership reserve the right to recommend that someone not attend minyan for a certain amount of time. We thank you for your cooperation!
  • On shul property, everyone must:
    -- Wear a mask that covers BOTH the mouth and nose at all times.
    -- Maintain appropriate distance (6+ feet) from anyone else (unless there is a partition).
  • Our shul is a "no touch zone":
    -- Please bring your own siddur, chumash, and/or any other sefer.
    -- Please refrain from kissing the mezzuzah and/or Torah.
    -- All doors will be propped open.
  • We have one available bathroom (the hall bathroom) available to congregants. Please:
    -- Wipe down any surfaces as you leave (wipes provided by the shul).
    -- Please use hand sanitizer before returning to minyan (hand sanitizer provided by the shul).
  • At this time, no children under the age of 9. Any children 9 or above must sit with a parent and follow all other protocols.
  • We strongly encourage anyone who is considered "higher risk", as defined by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-increased-risk.html), to seek a medical professional's advice regarding attending shul.
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Tue, October 20 2020 2 Cheshvan 5781