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ASKT Minyan Reopening Guidelines June2020

1. When and Where will the Minyanim be? 
A:  Outdoor minyanim, are located on our shul patio, outside the social hall.  Sunday morning minyan will be at 8:00 am. Monday through Friday morning minyanim will be at 7:15 am.  Sunday through Thursday evenings minyan will be about 10-15 minutes before sunset.  For Shabbat schedule see #12 below.   It is crucial for this to work that you come on time! If you sign up for a minyan, please come on time so that the proper safety procedures and minyan protocols can be followed.
 
2. How will social distancing work?
A: There will be chairs placed at 8 foot intervals. (I know, I know, 6 feet – but the OU and others say 8 feet – because we all love each other so much – we just can’t help ourselves! 6 feet becomes 4!)

3. What about Masks? 
A: Masks must be worn at all times (after all – they are so much fun!  Different colors and materials and so, so comfortable!).  There are different opinions among experts about the need to wear a mask outside, however the general approach of doctors and rabbis is that it is necessary right now.  If you are not willing to wear a mask for the minyan we ask you not to come.  Please bring your own mask.  If you forget to bring yours we will have extras.  Antibacterial hand sanitizer or soap will be available at the minyan.
 
4. How do I know where to sit at the minyan?
 A:  You should be able to find your own spot.  If you have a problem, feel free to ask someone for help with directions, questions, instructions, (and existential religious issues).    
5. Who is invited to attend?
A: Men and Women aged 12 and older. We will have a mechitzah available when needed.
 
6.  Who Can Not Come?  
A:   
a.Children under age 12.  Children above 12 may sit with someone from their household if they can stay in their seat/place for all of davening.  If you have a child under 12 who wants to come and can stay in their spot, please contact Rabbi Kalmar to discuss.  Babies in strollers or in their parents arms may attend as well.
 
b.  Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19: Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19, God forbid, or who has had such symptoms in the past 72 hours, cannot attend a minyan, and should consult with his/her personal physician prior to returning to minyan. This is true even if one is observing a yahrzeit or aveilus or is needed to make a minyan. [Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches or loss of taste or smell.] The same is also true if one has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 11 days.   If you are a minyan goer and you have these symptoms and certainly if you test positive for COVID-19, please let Rabbi Kalmar know so that he can inform those who were at a minyan with you.
 
7. Who is recommended to check with an authority before coming to minyan? 
A:  Anyone who is immunocompromised, or has an underlying medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, is 65 or older (or suffering from general misanthropy) should contact their health provider (and (if a man) their wife) before attending any minyan. 
 
8. Who should refrain from coming?
A: Anyone who feels uncomfortable coming (for health reason, not because you are feeling lazy!) should not come.  In fact, Halachic decisors have ruled that it is forbidden to come if you feel unsafe.  There are some great and renowned Torah scholars who advocate being at home at this time.
 
9. What if it rains? 
A:  We are set up for an inside minyan in the social hall with 8 ft distant chairs. If you don’t feel safe going inside you should feel comfortable leaving and going home - even if you are the tenth man for the minyan.  I confirmed with the infectious disease doctor that an indoor minyan with social distancing and masks is safe to do.  However, if we do have to go indoors, no singing will be a part of the davening.
 
10.  What if I have to go to the bathroom?
A: (Ideally one should try to use the restroom before coming to shul to avoid this from occurring) But if you must go - please use one of the restrooms inside. There will be disinfectant wipes available to clean off surfaces after you use the restroom. Please wait a few minutes wait time between restroom uses. 
 
11. Where do I put on tallis and tefillin?
A: At home or at your car in the parking lot.  On Shabbat – you can bring your tallis bag with you and put it on your chair or underneath it.  Kissing of tzitzit should be done without removing the mask.  (This does not mean plunging the tzitzit under the mask, just kissing the tzitzit with the mask on.  If you can’t figure it out – we will make an instructional YouTube video.)
 
12.  What is happening for Shabbat morning davening? 
A: Shabbat: we will be having regular minyanim for Shabbat except that Shabbat will morning will be at 8:30 instead of 9 - this will be a full Davening – soup to nuts - from Brachot to Adon Olam.
 
 To sign up for a Shabbat minyan please click here. If you are signing up for a minyan it is crucial that you arrive at the minyan on time if you are a man to help the minyan start on time.  Women are given leeway to show up when they choose.
 
At neither minyan will I be giving a Sermon.  I know that this will be a hardship for all of you.  We all have to make sacrifices.  I will give a few short divrei torah.
 
13. What about a siddur?
 A: Please bring a siddur from home.  If you don’t have one at home you can arrange to pick one up from the shul some time long before the minyan.
 
14. What about a Chumash on Shabbat? 
A: Please bring one from home.  Bring a bag with your siddur/chumash/tallis/tissues/back up mask replacements/fidget spinners in it and you can keep everything in your bag underneath your seat.
 
15. How will laining work and what are we doing for Aliyot to the Torah?
A: Those getting aliyot will be able to make the brachot on the Torah from their seat if they wish.  One can also come within 6 feet of the Torah so that they can see the letters, before making the blessings.  On Shabbat when we have multiple lainers – one can hold the eitzei chaim (handles) of the Torah with a Tallis.  In between lainers we will have hand sanitizer available to clean off the hands of the lainers. 
 
No kissing of the Torah will be allowed.  Hagbah and Gelilah can be done by one person or by a team from a single household. 
           
16. What if I want to bring a l’chaim to share?
A: You need to wait for a vaccine or Moshiach - whichever comes first.  There will be no kiddush or any food at all at shul for a while. 
 
17. Am I allowed to stay and talk after the minyan?
A: Socializing after the minyan (and certainly during the minyan!) is strictly prohibited. (Worse than mixed dancing!)
Please keep your socializing to other days/times.  Even socially distant socializing should not be done at shul – it causes too many complications to the proper functioning of the minyan.
 
Bottom Line- We’ve taken all the fun parts out of Davening - no talking, no Kiddush, no socializing - all that’s left to do is daven.  So pray to God – that things can go back to normal soon!  So that we can have our kiddush, our socializing and our talking during davening.
 
18. How do I sign up to come for minyan??
A: Minyan Sign Up: Please sign up for weekday minyanim here.  Please sign up for Shabbat minyanim here.    In order to make this work - we need everyone to sign up ahead of time. Please sign up for Shabbat minyanim by 10 pm on Thursday night. Also – each member from a household needs to be signed up separately.  If you are signing up – it is a given that you have read the FAQ and agree to follow all the policies.  If you have issues, questions, comments or anything like that, feel free to write them in your private diary.   Ok, after you’ve done that, if you still feel the need you can email me.

We can do this! 

With much love and wishing blessings to you all,
Rabbi Wes Kalmar

Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781