Dear Congregants and Friends,
Our parasha for this week contains the wonderful words from the Torah “Mah Tovu ohalecha Ya’akov, Mishk’notecha, Yisrael” – How good are your tents, O Jacob, your dwellings, Israel. Every time we enter a synagogue, so our tradition teaches, we should recite this blessing, reminding us of how fortunate we are to have a spiritual home. Covid-19 has no power to change this and when I enter our wonderful shul to set up for the services we broadcast from the sanctuary to your homes, before Shabbat, I can feel the warmth of this place and know that it will bring you as much joy as it does me.
Nevertheless, at Bet David we are fully aware of the reality of this pandemic and how dangerous it can be, if not for ourselves, then perhaps for someone we love. With new statistics available and in the light of the recent developments in our province, we have reassessed the way we will have services in the upcoming weeks to ensure, to the best of our abilities, that all members of Bet David, its staff members and the broader community remain protected and safe. Therefore, we will continue to conduct all life cycle events exclusively via Zoom. The only exception to this is funerals, which take place under a strict protocol at WPC, monitored by the Chevra Kadisha.
Starting this week, we will take a step back in the way we are holding services at Bet David, only allowing Chayim and I to be inside the Shul on a Saturday morning. Doron and Glynnis will for the time being not sing live during our services, but we will hear their wonderful voices and the voices of the whole choir via video and audio recordings.
We understand that this feels like going backwards, but protecting lives is the highest Mitzvah we have in our tradition and we are therefore confident that we are doing the right thing going forward. I am deeply sorry that we had to postpone Ross Raven’s Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat, but he and his family understand that we are keeping them and their loved ones safe.
We will all come back to the sanctuary in the future, and when we do so, we will repeat the words of old, expressing our gratitude for the gift of this very special spiritual home.
Rabbi Adrian M Schell