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CTI B'nai Abraham Attendance Practice Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

To minimize the risk of spreading the virus CTI is instituting the following practice in B’nai Abraham during services.  Initially, we will be holding services only on Shabbat morning for Shacharit, Torah reading, and Musaf.  These procedures are meant to safeguard the health and minimize the risk of contracting Covid-19 of those attending services.

Attendance:

First and foremost, anyone who is ill, running a fever, or is exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend services.  CTI will designate Ushers who are authorized to permit and to refuse entry to the shul. To be admitted to the building an attendee:

  • Must not have been diagnosed as currently having Covid-19, quarantined due to exposure, or otherwise under suspicion for developing an infection;
  • Currently not exhibiting any symptoms of illness; and
  • Must be wearing a face mask. Bandanas are nott considered to be an acceptable mask.

Those over 65 years of age, or those with chronic medical conditions – including the severely obese, those with lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, severe kidney or liver disease, neurological disorders, and the immunocompromised – who are at high risk of severe Covid-19, are strongly discouraged from attendance.

Our Poskim have stated that even a young and healthy individual who is personally concerned about shul attendance due to Covid-19 is exempt from attending Minyan and is free from the obligation of reciting Kaddish.

Attendance will be strictly limited to ensure social distancing is preserved.  Seats have been removed from the building and we ask all to not move them.  Children who are too young to properly practice social distancing should not attend services. 

As space is limited in B’nai Abraham, attendance requires a reservation in advance for all who want to attend services.  Reservations must be made on our website by completing a form.  Full, Associate and Honorary CTI Members will be able to reserve a seat up to two weeks in advance.  Non-members will be able to reserve a place for the coming Shabbat.  Separate reservations for each Shabbat morning service are required.  Reservations are on a first-come basis. 

We can accommodate 39 people in B’nai Abraham.  Please indicate on the reservation form if anyone in your reservation will need special assistance to enter or exit B’nai Abraham.  If this is the case, we recommend you arrive at least ten minutes before the start of services so that they can be seated as quickly and conveniently as possible.  

We will try to accommodate family members living in the same household by adding adjacent seats, as long as overall social distancing can be maintained.

All entry and exit from the sanctuary will be via the main doors only.  The side door will remain locked for entry but available for emergency exit.  Attendees will be met at the door by an Usher who will confirm they have reserved a seat on that week’s reservation list, be screened for Covid-19 symptoms, and directed to a specific seat in the area they reserved.  Seats will be filled first downstairs from front to back and if required, when the downstairs is fully occupied, the upstairs.  Therefore, once cleared to enter, individuals should take the front-most row that is available in their section, and the unfilled seat closest to the window in a given row, whether that seat is the “usual” one or not.  Specific seats cannot be reserved except for two seats designated for the exclusive use of the Gabbaim immediately in front of the Bimah.

Those who made reservations and cannot attend for whatever reason are asked to email  Reservations@TiferetAustin.org to cancel their reservation.  Reservations must be made no later than Midnight on Thursday evening for attendance the coming Shabbat.  Services will begin at the normal 9:00 AM time.  Walk-ins will be permitted to attend services if space is available.  Towards this end, seats will be reserved only until 9:15 AM.  After this time, those with a valid reservation will be permitted to enter only if space is available.

All in attendance at B’nai Abraham during services need to wear face masks for the entire time they are in B’nai Abraham.

Congregants are urged to bring their own Talit to Shul.  Each seat designated for an attendee to be seated at will have a Siddur and a Chumash on it.  After services, please leave the Siddur and Chumash on the seat.  In no case should any Siddur or Chumash be shared outside of an immediate family.

After services, people will exit starting from the back of the sanctuary, being careful to maintain social distance as they exit, leaving the building immediately so that there is no gathering in the foyer.  Ushers will assist in making sure there is an orderly exit.

Services:  

As the risk of spreading the virus increases with longer exposure time, we will shorten the time of services.  On Shabbat, we will start the communal service at נשמת (Nishmat).  We ask all to pray the earlier part of Shacharit, the פסוקי דזמרה (Pesukai Dezimrah), on their own before arriving at B’nai Abraham.  Additionally, the duration of the service will be shorter than a typical Shabbat morning service has been.

Though it has been our custom to have more than one person read the Torah, during this time we will not do this.  One person will read the entire Parsha.  He will also remove the Torah from the Ark, receive all seven Aliyot, tie the Torah up after completing the Torah, and return it to the Ark.  Though the בעל קורא  (Person reading the Torah) will be reciting the blessings for each Aliyah, the Ritual Committee will identify an individual or individuals in advance for each Aliyah that will be designated as being honored for that Aliyah.  The honoree(s) will be informed before Shabbat.  The individual reciting the Haftorah will recite it from his seat.

If on a given Shabbat there is a need to open the Ark other than for removing or returning the Torah, only one person will do this, the man sitting closest to the Ark.  This individual will wear disposable gloves as an added precaution.  As with Aliyot, for each such ark opening an attendee or attendees in attendance will be noted as being honored with the פתיחה (Petichah).

Kiddush and Shalosh Seudot:

While we continue to practice social distancing, we will not have a Kiddush following Musaf on Shabbat.  When we finally schedule Shabbat Mincha in B’nai Abraham, the same will be true for Shalosh Seudot.

Agreement:

In order to attend services, each attendee needs to agree to abide by this practice.

Last updated: June 8, 2020

To reserve a seat for an upcoming Shabbat morning service, please click here.

Fri, October 23 2020 5 Cheshvan 5781