BE Open- COVID Update

Beth Emet has held strong throughout the pandemic as we continued to worship, learn, and come together as a community. We look forward to times when the community spread of the COVID virus is limited, and we can return to full in-person participation of our customary synagogue life.

We are now back in the building for worship services. We will continue to offer fusion services to ensure that those who choose to worship from home are still able to participate.  For those who come for in-person worship, Beit Sefer (religious school), and youth programs, our goal is to promote the safety and well-being of everyone in our community. Our COVID task force, which has met weekly since March 2020, works closely with the staff and continues to evaluate guidance from the CDC and the Illinois and Evanston Departments of Public Health, and we closely follow local conditions.

As conditions change in our community, we will continue to adjust the following guidelines, balancing the health risks with the desire to worship and learn in person.

Guided by the core Jewish value of Pikuach Nefesh, the preservation of life, below we have outlined the following policies to promote the community’s health.

All Those Who Come To The Building Must Be Fully Vaccinated

As of January 1, 2022, the definition of being “fully vaccinated” or “up-to-date” will include a booster shot for those who are eligible:

  • For Moderna and Pfizer: 2 doses plus a booster
  • For Johnson & Johnson: 1 dose plus a booster
  • For those who are 5-11 years of age, who are not yet eligible for a booster, 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are required as of February 1, 2022.

While we do not require a vaccination card to be shown, we ask that you upload the information either through our member portal, MyBethEmet, or via our online form. Please make sure your vaccine information is up-to-date.

Masks Must Be Worn At All Times

Please wear close-fitting, high-quality masks. N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are strongly encouraged, but close-fitting surgical masks with a nose wire are permitted. Masks may not have vents or valves and must always cover the nose and mouth. Surgical masks are available upon request.

Agreement Of The Brit, Or Covenant

We ask that prior to coming to the building you must agree to the brit, or covenant of mutual responsibility, which describes expectations of everyone regarding adherence to safety protocols. See below for the latest version.

Update as of February 1, 2022:

Shabbat Services:

Both Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday night) services and Kahal Shabbat (Saturday morning) services will continue to be in-person as well as livestreamed. You can find the links on our calendar. If you have not yet attended Shabbat services or submitted your vaccination information, please complete the registration form in advance or submit the information on MyBethEmet. At this time, we will not be having an Oneg prior to services or providing challah or grape juice/wine after services.

Kabbalat Mitzvah (formerly called B’nai Mitzvah]:

The number of guests that member families may have is likely to vary with the condition of the virus. All guests must be “fully vaccinated” (as defined above) and have completed the Shabbat Service Registration form. At present, no food will be served. Please contact Geoff Prass, Director of Operations for further information.

Funerals and other lifecycle events:

Member families may have up to 125 guests for services in the Sanctuary, and the building registration form must be completed in advance. For those who do not complete the form in advance, guests must show proof of being up-to-date with their vaccination for entrance.

Beit Sefer (Religious School):

Beit Sefer classes have returned to the building. Masks are required at all times, and proof of up-to-date vaccination must be submitted prior to coming to school. Please contact Danny at the office for more information and/or to complete the form. You may also supply vaccination information on MyBethEmet

Adult Programming:

All Adult programs and classes will take place virtually until further notice.

Youth Programs:

Youth programs for grades 4-12 are in person where possible, and protocols must be adhered at all times, including submitting vaccination information and wearing of masks. No food will be served. For more information, contact Sam.

Young Family Programs:

We know it’s hard for young children to participate virtually, and we strive to provide some opportunities to come together, depending on current conditions with the virus and the nature of the program. Children five and older must be fully vaccinated, and for children who are not yet eligible must remain in their family “pod” throughout the program and be socially distanced. Masks are required for children 2 and older and vaccination information must be submitted in advance via MyBethEmet or our online form.

For more information or questions, please contact Geoff Prass.


Beth Emet COVID Task Force

Karen Isaacson, President
Bekki Harris Kaplan, Director of Congregational Engagement
Dr. Ed Linn
Barry Miller, Chair Safety and Security Task Force
Geoff Prass, Director of Operations
Lee Weintraub, Vice President and President-Elect
Brad White

Brit/Covenant of Responsibility (Updated as of 1/2022)

Our tradition teaches us that we are all responsible for each other and that protecting life is a value of paramount importance. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have upheld these values by maintaining distance, when appropriate, wearing masks at all times when in the building (other than for a brief period while eating or drinking, when permitted) and following other protocols to keep ourselves and others safe from the COVID-19 virus.

While COVID continues to be prevalent in our greater community, we required that all who are eligible be fully vaccinated. Check out the recent Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)  resolution in support of COVID vaccine mandates. In order to come together safely, and to protect those who are not yet vaccinated, those who are vaccinated by the efficacy is waning and/or those who may not be able to get vaccinated, we all need to take responsibility for adhering to the following protocols: Before coming to Beth Emet for any event, we ask that you acknowledge the following Covenant of Mutual Responsibility. By Submitting this form, I agree to follow the prevailing safety protocols when I am at Beth Emet. As of today, these include:

  • Wearing a close-fitting, high quality mask (covering mouth and nose) in the building as communicated by staff. (N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are strongly encouraged, but close-fitting surgical masks with a nose wire are permitted.  
  • Keeping appropriate distance between myself and others, as communicated by staff.
  • Staying home if I am sick or have symptoms that might mean I am sick.
  • Complying in a responsible and respectful manner with instructions from staff and volunteers who have been designated to implement the health, safety, and security practices.
  • While Beth Emet strives to maintain a clean and healthy environment, Beth Emet is not responsible for injuries or sickness that may result from the pandemic, and by entering Beth Emet property, I am voluntarily assuming this risk.