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CBI Outdoor Services during COVID-19

From Rabbi Justin David:

At the beginning of this pandemic, I asserted that our primary responsibility is to preserve life, and so shutting down was the surest way we could prevent risk to those who frequent our synagogue, and by extension our entire community.  Over these months, I think we have all developed a new appreciation for the interdependence and the sense of an intra-communal obligation that we take upon ourselves at this time and all times.  

All along, we have consulted with our Covid-19 task force regarding a wide range of scenarios.  Some of these conversations have arisen out of necessity and others have been more hypothetical as we wonder whether and how we may begin to hold small gatherings in person.  Taking the most careful of steps in response to local and global data, we have developed these protocols for small gatherings which we hope to hold on the CBI grounds.  While we are still developing our systems, we hope that these gatherings would include small minyanim, family education experiences, parent meet-ups, and small simchas, to name just some of the requests we have received.  Over time, and as these gatherings prove achievable, successful and safe, we are certainly open to expanding our offerings of in-person gatherings.

What to Expect

 Prior to the service

  • Volunteers will set up a cart at entrance to service area with hand sanitizer and extra masks.

  • Volunteers will post signs indicating path to service area.

  • Volunteers will set up chairs with names of participants/groups, spaced 15 feet apart from each other groups. 

  • Participants may bring their own prayer books if they prefer. We will not provide tallit. 

Instructions for Participants

  • Please arrive in a timely manner (preferably one individual or group at a time) for the sole purpose of davening; avoid conversing/socializing with others or congregating during services or outside on the street afterwards.

  •  Wash your hands before coming to services. Use hand sanitizer upon entry and leaving. High touch areas will be regularly sanitized.

  • You will be asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions upon arrival.

  • Chairs for you or your group will be labeled for you.

  • Please stay in your designated location from arrival until leaving.

  • Please do not go inside unless necessary. Participants may go into the building one/one group at a time with masks on, to use the bathroom if needed.  There will be signs with guidance about how to wipe down the surfaces in the bathrooms.

During the Service

  • Wear a cloth or surgical-type mask covering the nose and mouth the entire time you are present at the service. Please bring your own mask. No masks with vents or neck gators please

  • Participants will be encouraged to hum or sing softly. Please refrain from loud singing.

  • The service leader will face the same direction as the congregants (east) and will be at least 15 feet from the closest participant. The leader may also use a microphone and amplifier to ensure that everyone can hear. The microphone will be sanitized after each use.

  • For the time being, we will not read from the Torah (including during fast days).

  • There will be no food served. Please do not bring any food or snacks. One may bring a small bottle of water for themselves

  • If it rains, the service will be canceled unless a large enough tent is available. The service will not be moved inside.

After the Service

  • Please refrain from socializing after services. Please leave the service quickly and quietly after tefillah (praying) has finished.
  • Immediately notify the Executive Director if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms/concerns. Do not wait for more formal medical consultation and/or testing for confirmation. Do not attend services again until the symptoms and concerns are resolved, as determined by a medical professional.
  • Please remember that we are still in a pandemic – for everyone’ s safety, anyone who cannot follow the above protocol will not be permitted to attend. 
  • Used prayer books will be quarantined for several days in a designated area of the CBI Social Hall.

Read about how to register to participate and/or volunteer

How do I join a service?

1.  According to State guidelines, we are permitted to have up to 50 people for our services. At first we will limit attendees to 10 individuals or family units, allowing up to 25 people total. As we become more comfortable with the process, we may consider increasing the number of attendees. Volunteers will not count towards the total number of attendees.

2.  We will be giving priority to:

  • Those in the week of shiva or shloshim.

  • Those who are saying kaddish during the year of mourning or on a Yahrzeit.

  • All exceptions are at the discretion of the CBI Executive Director.

3.  You must fill out the online registration form to attend.  When you sign up, please be sure that you indicate the exact number of people who will be attending with you. We want to  honor our capacity limit.

4.  Confirmation will be sent to you after signup.

5. You may not attend a service unless you have signed up online beforehand. We want to be able to track everyone who attends each and every service.

6.  If you need to cancel, please do so at least 6 hours before the start time. 



Volunteer Commitment

  • Each service will require at least 3 volunteer ushers. Without enough volunteers, we may need to cancel scheduled services. Contact the Executive Director to volunteer at one of our upcoming services.

  • Volunteer Duties include:

    • Setting up cart with hand sanitizer and extra masks near the entrance

    • Setting up chairs and siddurim--volunteers who do this should wear gloves and discard them cautiously following set-up. We will not provide tallit.

    • Welcoming participants as they arrive using social distancing

    • Asking COVID-19 screening questions as participants arrive

    • Marking participants on attendance sheet as they arrive.

    • Directing participants to their seats as they arrive. Educate re protocol.

    • Educate/ remind participants who don’t comply.  If repeated infringement, may need to ask someone to leave.

    • Using new gloves, put chairs and siddurim away (into quarantine area) after service.

    • Cleaning up the service area

Fri, March 5 2021 21 Adar 5781