January 3, 2022

Dear NVHC Family,

We are writing to update you on our COVID-19 mitigation protocols given latest conditions. We are strengthening our mitigation requirements while maintaining our in-person status as much as possible.

As always, our thinking is guided by our values. Primary is our obligation to protect health and safety. Omicron certainly represents a greater risk of infection, especially for vulnerable populations; however, data indicates that up-to-date vaccination with booster provides protection against the most dangerous symptoms of COVID-19. We feel it is time to begin requiring proof of vaccination for all in-person programming. 

We have developed a vaccine registry for all adult members. You will need to upload an image of your vaccination card. Please ensure that your latest dose is within the past 6 months, and seek a booster if eligible. Volunteers will be checking vaccination cards and identification (yes, everyone must show identification—we cannot assume everyone will be recognized) at the door for in-person programming. Please see your NVHC email for the link to upload your card.

Our second obligation is to extend compassion to those suffering from the less obvious symptoms of this pandemic: loneliness, confusion, isolation, depression, and anxiety. We know this pandemic has been brutal for mental health, which is most true for our children and adolescents. Therefore we are doing everything in our power to keep our youth programming in person. 

To that end, we have created a vaccination requirement and registry for all future Kehillat Limmud and Tamid programming. Student vaccination cards need to be uploaded before they can attend. Please be aware if we do not get the vast majority of student cards uploaded, we will not be able to open the program. Please see your NVHC email for the link to upload your card.

In addition, we are very sad to say that we are temporarily suspending Tamid dinners and outdoor onegs because those events require unmasking.

Lastly, our third obligation is to find sustenance in Torah, Shabbat, and Jewish tradition. To that end, we will continue to offer in-person Shabbat worship on Friday nights and on Saturday mornings when we call B’nai Mitzvah to the Torah. All worship leaders, including B’nai Mitzvah, will take a rapid test prior to service leadership, and the congregational seating will be moved back an additional 6 feet from the bima. We will continue to offer ways to connect digitally to worship and study, and all our teams and committees will continue to meet online.

Please watch your email and snail mail for notice of upcoming programming. We have exciting adult classes, including with our rescheduled scholar-in-residence, Fred Lazin, and an artist-in-residence weekend with Rabbi Noam Katz (February 4-6). This will provide rich and fulfilling ways to connect online and in person with congregational life. Please take advantage.

We know that through this pandemic, when time has seemed to blur, boundaries disappeared, and social solidarity has degraded, Judaism and Jewish community have been a source of honor, order, respect, comfort, strength, and hope. These are our Jewish values. They will continue to guide us.

Rabbi Michael G. Holzman, Cantor Susan Caro