Community Update on COVID-19 - Thursday, March 12, 2020
Mar 12th 2020

Beth Tzedec is an important centre for sustaining social and community well-being. During trying times, we look to experts in our community to provide guidance and direction to protect each other while continuing to offer spiritual support and growth opportunities for every member of our community.

With recent news about the spread of COVID-19, we know that you may have questions about how we can all do our part to keep the community healthy.

What You Can Do

  • If you feel unwell, are self-monitoring or are at a higher risk of infection, stay home. For the health and safety of every member of our community, including health workers and our most vulnerable populations, self-isolate if you feel at all unwell. If you have any questions, consult your medical doctor. The same direction has been issued to staff, volunteers and lay leaders.
  • You will be asked to provide your name and contact information every time you visit Beth Tzedec. Providing your name and contact information will allow Toronto Public Health to contact you in the event of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Avoid physical contact with others. Refrain from shaking hands, hugging or kissing other members of our community. Feel free to greet people using friendly waves or smiles, ideally from a distance of at least two metres.
  • Refrain from kissing or touching ritual objects, such as the Torah cover and mezuzot. This includes touching the Torah cover with your tallit or siddur. Prevent the spread of germs by limiting contact with items that may have been touched directly by other people.
  • Remain vigilant about washing and disinfecting your hands and avoid touching your face. Public Health Ontario has a handy video if you would like to ensure that you're washing your hands effectively.

What Beth Tzedec is Doing

  • Closely monitoring the situation. We're following updates on COVID-19 from federal, provincial and local health officials, taking guidance from Toronto Public Health and taking action as recommended. 
  • Suspending Shabbat kiddushim, buffet breakfasts and seudah shlisheet. There will be pre-poured cups of grape juice available after services so that you may still participate in the Kiddush blessing. We are currently evaluating other food service options at Beth Tzedec.
  • Offering new ways to daven as a community. Beginning next week, we will be live streaming daily minyan (morning and evening services) on the Beth Tzedec Facebook Page.
  • Restructuring our programs and event schedule. We're exploring ways to livestream more of our programs and events so that they can be enjoyed by members of our community who many be self-isolating or at risk.
  • Moving Shabbat morning services to maintain social distancing. Our weekly Shabbat services will be moved to the Sanctuary to allow congregants to spread out and maintain their personal space while participating fully.
  • Taking extra measures to clean and disinfect our space. This includes disinfecting all door knobs, light switches, hand railings and office spaces. 
  • Increasing the availability of hand sanitizer. There are stations available throughout the synagogue, including at the parking lot entrance and outside the Hendeles Chapel.
  • Keeping you informed. We will continue to provide up-to-date information regarding how COVID-19 affects the Beth Tzedec community.

Reach Out for Support

In Proverbs 12:25, we read, "If there is anxiety in a person’s mind let him quash it, and turn it into joy with a good word." While news of COVID-19 can make us anxious, it is important to recognize that by facing the risks head on and doing what we can to protect each other, we are making room for joy and good health in our community. Beth Tzedec is a vital source of social and spiritual well-being—we are here for you.

  • If you are feel overwhelmed or anxious about this situation, please contact our Spiritual Leadership Team for guidance.
  • If you have questions or concerns about Beth Tzedec's efforts during this time, please contact Randy E. Spiegel at 416-781-3511, ext. 211.

Additional Resources

  • Telehealth Ontario: For medical advice, contact Telehealth Ontario, a free, confidential service at 1-866-797-0000
  • Toronto Public Health: For information or resources about COVID-19, consult Public Health Toronto here>>
  • Public Health Ontario: Find provincial resources about COVID-19 here>>
  • Public Health Agency of Canada: Learn more about federal guidance and responses to COVID-19 here>>