Congregation Ohav Shalom

Building Community Celebrating Tradition

113 New Krumkill Road, Albany, NY 12208 / (518) 489-4706 / Email Us /

Update from the Return to Shul for Worship Work Group

Dear Ohav Family:

The Congregation Ohav Shalom Return to Shul for Worship Work Group met this week to consider the newest guidance from the CDC and NYS Department of Health and discuss revising our protocols and plans for moving forward towards returning to our more familiar worship. Beginning June 19, we will begin welcoming more congregants to our in-person services and programs in the sanctuary and in the building.

This is a transition period. Over the next few months, we will continue to modify these policies as we see how things go. We also understand that it may be necessary to pivot if circumstances change. We will continue to monitor the health and safety guidelines from the CDC and the NYSDOH as well as how our programs are working.

Shabbat and Yom Tov services will continue to be available through livestream.

Masks: Individuals who are fully vaccinated  (2 weeks after their last dosage of a vaccine) will NOT be required to wear masks, but will be encouraged to do so. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks. Individuals who come unmasked will be asked if they are fully vaccinated. If they say they are not, the individual will be told that they must wear a mask and will be offered one. A sign posted before entry to the building will state this policy.

Children: All children are welcome. Children over the age of 5 who are NOT vaccinated are required to wear a mask. Children between 2-5 are encouraged but NOT required to wear a mask. There will be children’s services in the shul on Shabbat, schedule to be determined. Parents are asked to please keep their family members together. The children’s area adjacent to the bimah will be available.

Services: For this transition period, the Shabbat services will be shortened, as determined by the rabbis. They will be held from 9:30-11:30 am. The Rabbi will determine the content of the service, and it will be shared with the congregation prior to Shabbat.

Registration: Formal registration will no longer be required, but, for contact tracing and planning purposes, congregants will be asked to RSVP by 2pm on the Friday before the Shabbat service they are attending.

Temperature: Temperatures will no longer be taken. However, people will be reminded not to come if they are sick or have been exposed to a person with COVID.

Seating: There will be general seating in the sanctuary. Attendees will be encouraged to spread out leaving some space between groups. For increased comfort, the small social hall will be available for those who wish more space around them.

Kiddush: We will begin offering a modest Kiddush outside during the summer months. If the weather is inclement, we will have the Kiddush offerings available inside the shul.

Socializing: Socializing after services on Shabbat is an important part of our Shabbat community. Attendees are free to socialize outside or in the social halls after services. We request that people not congregate in the lobby or other small spaces, and that folks be mindful of maintaining some distance.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Families: In consultation with Rabbi Rena, these families will have the opportunity for special arrangements.

Kabbalat Shabbat: Services will remain on zoom.

Daily Minyan: For the initial transition, in-person services will be on Torah reading days, Monday and Thursday. The remaining days will continue on zoom. This will begin on June 21 at 7am.

More details will be shared as arrangements are put in place. Please watch your shul emails for updates.

We look forward to seeing you back in the sanctuary.

Shabbat Shalom.