First Phase of Chabad Center's Reopening

Last updated May 18, 4:59 PM 

Dear Friends and Members of the Chabad Center,

On April 30 we wrote to you, that notwithstanding the Governor's permission to open our facilities, in the interest of the public safety, we would remain closed until we could evaluate the impact of the first phase of the Governor's opening plan and determine the best way to open our Shul safely. 

To this end, we have convened a small panel of medical professionals from our community to discuss ways of safely allowing people to gather for daily and Shabbat Minyanim. The members of this panel include Dr. Larry Cohen, Dr. Steve Cohen, Dr. Eric Schaffer, Joseph Endzweig, Rabbi Yossi Marrus. Rabbi Levi Teldon and myself. In addition, we have consulted with city officials and synagogues across Texas and around the country, to put together a set of best practices that are appropriate and that will work for our community.

We met on Zoom this past Thursday and the following is what emerged from our meeting. 

The Chabad Center will open in phases. The first phase will begin on Thursday May 21, for morning Minyan and continue to operate from hereon according to our regular weekday and Shabbat service schedule. Torah classes will continue on Zoom. 

The conditions of our reopening are as follows:

1) The Sanctuary seating will be reconfigured to facilitate social distance seating.  

2) Everyone in attendance will be required to wear a facial mask from the time you enter the building.   

3) Everyone is asked to sanitize their hands by using the hand sanitizer that will be provided by the Chabad Center as you enter. 

4) Everyone must bring their own Siddur/prayer book for the weekday service and Tallitot for both weekday and Shabbat services.

5) On Shabbat, prayer books will only be used once over the weekend. The Shul will provide a fresh Siddur for every person in attendance for the three Shabbat services.

6) There will be no kissing of Torah and the Mezuzot. We will express our love and respect for the Torah by adhering to these precautions.

7) Unfortunately we cannot yet accommodate children at any of these services. We understand how important it is for children to be able to come to Shul. Please understand that this is a temporary measure and we are hoping to be able to welcome children back to Shul at the earliest possible time. 

8) There will be no Shabbat Kiddushim or Seudah Shlishit at this time.

9) Please touch as few surfaces as possible with your bare hands, including the outside gate keypad. Surfaces will be disinfected daily and as many doors as possible will remain open, thus minimizing the need for direct contact with door handles.

The above conditions are mandatory and will be enforced respectfully and firmly.

We are actively working on a plan that would allow families to attend Shul for Shavuot. We will be in touch regarding this, in the near future.

If you experiencing any flu symptoms or are not feeling well, please stay home. We encourage all those who are elderly or have underlying medical conditions to please consider the risks very carefully before you come to Shul or any public space, even with the above precautions.

All of the above conditions will be subject to frequent review and modifications as the COVID-19 situation hopefully improves.

We are grateful that we are able to reopen and look forward to the time when we can resume all programs and activities without the above precautions. Until then, we ask you for your understanding and cooperation in ensuring that our families and community remain safe and healthy. 

With our blessings for a Shavua Tov and our heartfelt wishes for a time when all sickness will be removed from our world with the coming of our complete redemption speedily in our time.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Chaim Block
Rabbi Yossi Marrus
Rabbi Levi Teldon