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Phase 1 Reopening

Phase 1: Beginning June 10, 2020

Last minute attendance will not be allowed.
No Exceptions.

Dear Friends,


We hope you are well and safe during this tumultuous time. 


We write to provide the community with an update of when and how the shul plans to reopen.  It is important to note that the information in this email is subject to change.  As local and state guidelines are updated, we will work to modify accordingly and will inform the community.  All information, guidelines, and procedures shall apply to all shul activities that take place on our campus, and are equally applicable to both the Ashkenaz and Sephardi minyanim.


On May 8, 2020, the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America, in conjunction with leading poskim and medical professionals, issued guidance for how Orthodox shuls and communities should reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  As stated in those guidelines, “[t]he resumption of communal prayer and other communal activities should not be considered until—at the very least—the successful and verified safe completion of the local government’s first stages of communal reopening, i.e. at least two weeks after the local governments have allowed public gatherings of more than ten persons, and have not seen upticks in disease.”  On May 25th, the State of California issued guidelines for places of worship to reopen.  On May 26th, Orange County adopted a resolution to allow houses of worship to reopen according to applicable state and local guidelines.  Thus, we are currently in the two-week waiting period starting May 26. 


We are monitoring the spread of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County (as reported by the OC Health Agency), which continue to rise, unfortunately.  As a result, we are not yet ready to fully reopen the shul but we believe that we can safely open for limited weekday minyanim, with modifications described below.  Shabbat services will resume at a later date.  We continue to monitor the situation and hope to reopen the shul as soon as practicable. 


In anticipation of our reopening, we are implementing several changes to the policies and procedures of how we will operate all minyanim that will take place on campus.  These procedures apply to ashkenaz and sephard minyanim alike.  Please review these changes carefully.  Your assistance and cooperation is necessary to ensure a safe and successful reopening. 


Phased Reopening


We are happy to announce Phase 1 which will begin with weekday outdoor minyanim in the shul parking lot for evening mincha/maariv minyanim this Wednesday (6/10) and Thursday (6/11) at 6:15pm. Mincha will be before plag and maariv will be after. One Ashkenaz and Sephard service will take place in the shul parking lot. Further details below. 


Phase 2 will move weekday services indoors with modifications and limitations.


Phase 3 will resume services on Shabbat and holidays with modifications and limitations.  We will keep the community informed about the status of the phases and when each will begin. 


Phase 4 will resume services as normal (or as close to normal as can be).

As we prepare to reopen Beth Jacob, we understand that not everyone will be able to attend and others may feel that they may not yet be ready to attend services.  We plan to continue to offer a virtual platform for our programming, including minyanim to the extent possible, so that those individuals may still participate nonetheless. 


The Board continues to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and applicable guidance from Orange County, the State of California, the Centers for Disease Control, and the OU/RCA.  If health orders or guidance change and become more restrictive, or if the resumption of services prove to pose a health and safety hazard, Beth Jacob’s phased reopening may be modified accordingly.


Procedures for Shul Attendance – Phase 1

The following precautions and procedures will be implemented starting with Phase 1.  Please note that there will be NO EXCEPTIONS to these procedures.  Anyone who fails to comply with these procedures will be asked to leave. 

  • Masks will be required and must be worn while on campus

  • RSVP for each attendee will be required.  RSVP will be required by 8:00 pm the day before. RSVP can be made by clicking HERE, through the Beth Jacob website or by calling the shul office during morning hours. Last minute attendance will not be allowed. 

  • In Phase 1, minyan will take place outside in the parking lot.  Each attendee will park in a designated spot with at least one empty parking space between each car.  Attendees will stand or sit outside of his or her car.  

  • If you wish to sit during minyan, please bring your own folding chair.  

  • Each person must bring his or her own siddur, tallis, tefillin, or any other required item.  

  • Shul facilities (bathroom, kitchen, etc.) will remain closed.  Please plan accordingly. 

  • Wash your hands before attending services.  

  • Bring your own hand sanitizer.

  • No children under the age of bar/bat mitzvah will be allowed at this time, unfortunately. 

  • If you are 65 or older or have a chronic medical condition (including lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, severe kidney or liver disease, neurological disorders, and the immunocompromised), please consult with your physician before attending minyan.  

  • There will be no physical contact between people or touching of ritual objects. 

  • Anyone who attends minyan and subsequently tests positive for COVID-19 must promptly inform Rabbi Ciner so that we may conduct necessary contact tracing to prevent further spread. 

  • By attending minyan, you agree to participate in contact tracing should it become necessary.  

Requirements To Attend Services

In order to attend minyan, you must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Advance RSVP will be required.  Last minute attendance will not be allowed. 

  • You must be free of any COVID-19 symptoms as detailed by the CDC, including: 

    • Cough 

    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

    • Fever 

    • Chills

    • Muscle pain

    • Sore throat

    • New loss of taste or smell

  • Anyone without these specific symptoms but otherwise does not feel well may not attend.  

  • If you were infected with COVID-19 or recently were exposed to COVID-19 or have reason to suspect you were exposed to COVID-19, you must be symptom-free for at least two weeks.  

  • Attendees must not have traveled internationally within the past 14 days. 

  • If you are in a high-risk group (65+ or chronic medical condition), please consider not attending minyan at this time.  If you wish to attend nonetheless, please consult with your physician beforehand. 

  • Attendees must be over bar or bat mitzvah age. 

Procedures – Phase 2

When Phase 2 begins and we move minyan indoors, we will maintain the same protocols listed above (masks, RSVP, etc.) with the following modifications: 

  • Each person’s temperature will be taken with a touchless thermometer prior to entry to the shul campus.  Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F or higher will not be allowed to enter the campus.  

  • We have organized the shul seating to maintain appropriate physical distancing of 6+ feet distance between chairs. 

  • Per current California guidelines, attendance will be limited to 25% of capacity, or 100 persons, whichever is fewer.  With the revised seating arrangement in the shul, we will be able to accommodate approximately 50 attendees. 

  • We may hold additional minyanim in the tent, shul parking lot, etc. to accommodate spillover crowds, if needed.  Any additional minyanim must abide by the same protocols.  

  • Shul restrooms will be open but will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.  

Please note that we discourage in the strongest possible terms the conducting of personal minyanim of any size and in any individual location other than officially sanctioned minyanim at Beth Jacob.  Such minyanim endanger lives and must not take place.

Our priority, as always, remains to protect the safety and maintain the well-being of our membership and our community.  If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact Rabbi Ciner or anyone on the Board. 

Thank you for your patience, continued understanding, and future cooperation. 


Yisroel Ciner

Board of Directors: Warren Morten, Adam Teitcher, Saphira Greenberg, Matthias Lehmann, Ashley Nahum, Ray Paster, Michael Varon, Ilan Wolf

Thu, January 20 2022 18 Shevat 5782