Updated Congregation Neveh Shalom Covid-19 Policy
Continuing Progress Toward CNS Reopening, Effective March 23, 2022
Dear CNS Kehillah,
From the very beginning of the pandemic, CNS leadership decisions have been based on the balancing of 3 principles:
- Medical expertise and science – listen and learn from the CDC, OHA, ELD, County Health, and CNS’ Medical Advisory team of physicians.
- Jewish Values – understanding our responsibility to “Pikuach Nefesh” – to preserving the health and safety of all in our kehillah.
- Commitment to Community – belief in the importance and value of continuing to provide opportunities – ritual & spiritual, educational, cultural, and social – through all platforms and modalities possible to help our congregational community to feel connected and supported.
Constant and consistent evaluation and decision-making have been ever-present since Purim 2020. As we approach another step in this journey, Rabbi Posen reminds us that guidance from Hillel’s teaching in Pirke Avot, Ethics of our Ancestors can help:
- If I am not for myself, who will be for me? As reopening continues and programming returns to our building, not all will be comfortable. We encourage you to make decisions that feel appropriate for you and your family. Your choices will be respected.
- If I am only for myself, what am I? The policies, protocols and decisions made by CNS leaders must necessarily prioritize the needs of the many. Each of us will be challenged to be sensitive to acknowledging our own sensitivities and limitations while appreciating the expanding opportunities for others in our broader community.
- And if not now, when? There will never be the perfect time for each change and decision. The criteria we have looked to point to opportunity today.
At its meeting on March 17, 2022, the CNS Board of Directors agreed on the following Covid related policies and protocols, effective immediately:
You should only come to the CNS building if you are feeling healthy.
- Do not come to CNS if you’re feeling ill.
- Do not come to CNS if you have COVID – including being asymptomatic.
Masking While at CNS
Masking in the building and on our campus will be optional for most people in most situations, including Shabbat and holiday services.
- We know that some, if not many, will continue to wear masks. That choice is welcomed and respected.
- CNS Foundation School and ALIYAH programs will continue to require mask-wearing.
- There may be other programs and activities (i.e. focused on a “vaccine ineligible” or health compromised audience) where a mask requirement decision will be made and communicated.
- All congregants, guests, and visitors who are eligible to be vaccinated and will be in the building for more than 15 minutes are expected to be vaccinated (2 doses + booster) – this expectation will be the “honor system” – proof of vaccination will not be required.
- Children under the age of 5 and those not eligible for vaccination are welcome to attend services/programs in the building.
Physical (Social) Distancing
CNS will continue to be sensitive to physical distancing in seating/room set-ups for services, education, and programming.
We are happy to be reintroducing and including food service at Neveh Shalom.
Of course, the CNS leadership continuously monitors the latest COVID-19 developments and recommendations and reserves the right to make changes to these updated protocols at any time. CNS has strived to meet or exceed the public health recommendations during the pandemic and will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months.
Introducing Congregation Neveh Shalom COVID-19 Outreach and Services (CNSCOS)
CNSCOS is a team appointed by Congregation Neveh Shalom, with funding from the Oregon Health Authority, tasked with helping limit the spread of COVID-19 by providing services and timely information to the communities of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties.
Our social services and wraparound services team will work with those affected by COVID-19 to provide services and connections with existing benefit programs. For those with a positive COVID-19 test or confirmed exposure, we can directly provide resources and support for isolation/quarantine. Support may include partial financial assistance, information on resources, and advocacy. Please do not hesitate to call if you have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our outreach and support services aim to connect individuals and families to the information and resources they need to stay safe, healthy, and well-informed. Our priority is to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Toward this goal, we are collaborating with Jewish and other organizations and volunteers in the region to support public health efforts to curb the pandemic.
To reach our Wraparound and Social Services Team for assistance, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccine scheduling help
All Oregonians age 5 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The process can be frustrating, and CNSCOS is here to help. See CNSCOS’s online guide for other important tips, phone numbers, and transportation resources. If you need help scheduling an appointment, email us at email@example.com. If someone doesn’t answer the phone right away, leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Here are some basic tips for signing up for a vaccine through OHA:
- Sign up for Get Vaccinated Oregon to be notified when a vaccine appointment becomes available for you
- For appointments at the Portland Airport and Hillsboro Stadium mass vaccination sites, check OHSU’s vaccine website.
MAKING AN APPOINTMENT THROUGH A PHARMACY:
Pharmacies across Oregon have a limited number of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Each website below offers tools to sign up for a vaccination appointment at each pharmacy. Use these links to check for available appointments.
You may have to call or visit each pharmacy’s website multiple times to find an appointment.
- Albertson’s: www.albertsons.com/COVID-19
- Safeway: www.safeway.com/COVID-19
- Walgreen’s: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19
- Costco appointments: https://www.costco.com/covid-vaccine.html
- CVS availability and appointments (not currently available in Oregon or Washington): https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine
- Healthmart: https://www.healthmart.com/
- Fred Meyer: https://www.fredmeyer.com/rx/covid-eligibility (once you fill out the eligibility questions, it will show appointments at your local Fred Meyer and QFC)
- Zoom+ Care: https://www.zoomcare.com/schedule
Sign up for the CNSCOS Newsletter
We want to bring relevant COVID-19 news and resources to you. This weekly newsletter will provide Oregon-specific updates, tips for navigating everyday life in a pandemic, and links to news stories across a diverse range of publications that we think are informative and helpful.
Oregon Health Authority
Oregon Health Authority provides daily updates on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as information on how to stay safe. Visit their COVID-19 website or sign up for their email updates.
Safe and Strong Oregon
Safe and Strong Oregon is a thorough resource guide for the COVID-19 pandemic, available in multiple languages. They share information on how to live and work safely, and how to access resources. Visit their website here.
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Resources for PDX (and beyond)
Congressman Earl Blumenauer and his team compiled a regularly updated resource guide. Some resources are specific to the Portland area but many offer Oregon-wide or nation-wide services. See the guide here.
Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, and some people may spread the virus without feeling symptoms at all.
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- or at least 2 of the following
- repeated shaking with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- loss of ability to smell
If you are interested in getting a COVID-19 test or feel ill, call your health care provider or 211 if you do not have one. If it is an emergency, call 911.
Oregon Health Authority has information on where you can get tested, what to do if you test positive for COVID-19, and how much testing can cost. Visit the OHA testing website to learn more. For further guidance on when to get tested and how to interpret test results, view OHA’s frequently asked COVID-19 questions and OHA’s testing guidance. To find a free testing location, call 211 or click here to register for an OHA testing event.
Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties have testing sites. Some sites are free for people with symptoms or close contacts, and for groups disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Oregon Health Authority has a webpage with updated information on the coronavirus vaccines and vaccine distribution across Oregon. You can check out this page to see how many people have been vaccinated so far.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you want to learn more about the vaccines for COVID-19 and the benefits of getting vaccinated, the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine website has plenty of helpful information.
As we spend more time at home, some people will face additional struggles with issues that might normally be under control or well-managed. Please know that your clergy team is available to speak with you. Simultaneously, our training in many areas of need only goes so far. We want to ensure that you have some resources to help you navigate this trying time.
Dialing 211 has been a good switchboard for a wide range of social services. At this time, they are experiencing heavy call volume, and it is more difficult to reach a live person. To streamline that, here is there website with their database of resources. The first link is their home page, the second lists areas of resources
Alcoholics Anonymous’s website is: https://www.aa.org
An online option for AA groups is: http://aa-intergroup.org
For early morning AA folks, you can find 6am virtual meetings at: portlandeyeopener.com
Oregon SUD Resources Collaborative: www.orsudresources.org
If you or someone you know needs help or just want to talk with someone, all of these sites below are available. Each offer chat and text options as well, which can be crucial if the abusive person is in the home and the survivor might be overheard, especially right now.
Call to Safety (formerly known as The Portland Woman’s Hotline)
calltosafety.org, Local: 503.235.5333, Everywhere else: 1.888.235.5333
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The Child Abuse Hotline
The Sexual Assault Hotline
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
SPRC has compiled a selection of web pages and information sheets on mental health and coping with the effects of COVID-19.
This link takes you there.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI created COVID-19 Resources and Information Guides. They provide insights on how to handle the emotional and mental tolls of living in a pandemic. You can view their guides by visiting NAMI’s website.
Jewish Federation – Wellness PDX
Wellness PDX, created by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland shares resources and virtual events connected to mental health and wellness.
You Are Not Alone
The Oregon Department of Human Services compiled links to helplines with translation services, along with other online resources, at their You Are Not Alone webpage.
If you are aware of online resources for substance abuse and feel comfortable, please forward those to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure those get posted. We want to provide a wide range of resources to help our congregational family be our best selves during this period.
Interest-Free Loans Available via Jewish Free Loan Program of the Jewish Federation
In recognition of the sudden change of circumstances faced by many individuals and families in our community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jewish Free Loan Program of the Jewish Federation has expanded its offerings. Individuals who have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus and require a loan, may be eligible for an up to $1,000 no interest loan with no additional co-signers. The number of these types of loans is limited. Loan repayments will begin after 120 days and will be divided into equal payments of $28/month for 36 months. For more information, call 503-892-7417 or click here.
Comcast to provide free internet
Xfinity wifi will be free for everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free, including non-Xfinity internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity wifi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
Youthline is a teen-to-teen crisis, support, and help line open daily from 4 to 10 p.m. PST via call, text, and chat. Adults answer phone calls at all other times, so teens have support 24/7. Call 877-968-8491. Text teen2teen to 839863. Chat at oregonyouthline.org.
Youth ERA offers several ways for youth and young adults to meet online, get support, and talk through life. Visit their website here.
CNSCOS Resource Guide
Our team created a resource guide specific to teens and youth groups. It includes resources for mental health, sleep, exercise, social connection, online learning, and more
Senior Loneliness Line
With senior living communities and the public trying to limit exposure to COVID-19, many seniors may be feeling more isolated than usual. Call the statewide line at 503-200-1633 or visit seniorlonelinessline.org.
Jewish Family and Child Services – Friendly Callers
Volunteers are available to connect with clients and community members to share a friendly voice in a time of social distancing and to provide support. If you are interesting in receiving calls from a JFCS Friendly Caller Volunteer, sign up through this link or call 971-716-9587 for more information
Staying active while maintaining safe physically distancing can be more difficult during the cooler weather months. These are resources and ideas to help make is easier to get through the pandemic in fall and winter.
Parks with Covered Picnic Areas
Here is a map with parks in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties that have covered picnic shelters. Gathering outdoors is lower risk for spreading Covid-19 than indoors.
CNSCOS Guide for Covid-19 Fall and Winter
This resource guide includes ideas for creating a cozy outdoor space at your home, hikes recommendations for autumn, virtual group activities, and cleaning indoor air.
December 12: Booster shots available at Portland Jewish Academy 9am-1pm. Pfizer only. Walk-ins welcome.
For more information
CNS Covid-19 Outreach and Services
Fred Rothstein, Executive Director
Glen Coblens, President
Rabbi David Kosak
Rabbi Eve Posen
Michelle Caplan, Director of Congregational Advancement
Check Out Our Past Newsletters
Friday evening and Shabbat morning services will be offered via live-stream. No congregants will be in our building. We have a dedicated web-page with all of the information need to join us for services from home. Click here for that page.
Will be a virtual / online experience. We are hearing reports that it is a deeply meaningful experience for many people. Click here to learn how to join.
Please call or email clergy or Fred Rothstein, Executive Director: email@example.com; 503.475.2934.
Regarding Funeral Attendance
We are seeing a rapid restriction on gatherings both on the state and federal level. While we can’t guarantee how those restrictions will evolve, it is safe to assume that all upcoming funerals will be limited to a 10 person maximum, including clergy participation. It is possible that at some point, even that size gathering may be deemed a public health risk.
We understand the hardship and heartache this causes, and are distressed by the impact this may cause to mourners. To minimize this disruption and provide the greatest communal support possible, a family member with a smart phone or tablet is invited to stream the funeral service so others can participate remotely. If necessary, CNS can provide one of our Zoom accounts for families to use during the funeral service.
You have our deepest sympathies on your loss, and our appreciation for the challenge that social distancing adds to your mourning process.
Rabbi David Kosak
Rabbi Eve Posen
Cantor Eyal Bitton
Long time congregants may be able to recall a brit milah over which Rabbi Isaak presided during Yom Kippur! The Bible clearly mandates that every boy be circumcized on the 8th day, assuming no conditions, such as jaundice, pose a concern. Even Yom Kippur doesn’t take precedence. Given that, I have been in contact with the two active mohelim (ritual circumcizers) in town, Dr. Bruce Birke and Rabbi Tzvi Fischer. Each of them are stilll performing a bris, but in each case, Rabbis and non-family members are invited to participate by Zoom or other web-based platform. Please check our COVID-19 page for updates.
The naming of a Jewish baby girl historically happened during an aliyah to the Torah. It was a short and sweet moment. In recent decades, the Simchat Bat, or baby naming has increasingly captured the spiritual imagination of Jews as we have desired to enhance the welcome we give to all new babies, regardless of gender. While I consider this celebration as compelling as a bris, it is not Biblically mandated; as a result, no set time-frame has yet been established. What that means is that we can offer a web-based Simchat Bat close to birth. Alternatively, those families who would prefer an in-person celebration can choose to delay until the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Because of so many unknowns, we are not able to schedule out such a naming at this point.
Our history is well-acquainted with different times and places when people were married quickly and when delay was avoided. Sometimes that was because the non-Jewish authorities would sometimes forbid our weddings and families often wanted to get in under the wire. Regardless of the reason, there are few moments more joyous than a Jewish wedding.
Barring further changes in state or federal law, those with weddings can either reschedule them or choose to have a small group of ten people, including clergy, present at your currently slated time. While the weddings I know of are still scheduled some time out, we at least want to acknowledge that no one knows when our AC (after Coronavirus) life will resemble our BC (before Coronavirus) life, and it’s good to consider options.
We will be updating our calendar with virtual options and cancellations. Please be patient and forgiving if the information on our calendar isn’t 100% accurate. Things are moving quickly and we are doing our best to update information in all the various ways we communicate. Click here for the calendar.
Foundation school is following guidance from the Governor of Oregon, the ELD, the CDC, and is also receiving guidance from our reopening task force and medical experts. We are open for summer camp for four weeks (July 13- Aug 7) in a limited capacity in order to meet and/or exceed all health and safety guidelines. We plan on opening in the fall for reduced hours (8:30-4) daily with a smaller capacity and with all health and safety measures in place. Please contact Director Leah Conley with questions.
Come find out about the robust and creative programs that ALIYAH (K-6th Grades) and Tichon (7th-12th grades) are offering this year! Head over to the education pages of our website for more details, or contact Mel Berwin.
Most of our Adult Education programs, including Beginning Hebrew and Machon Ivrit Modern Hebrew classes are being held as virtual meetings. We will soon be updating our Lifelong Learning page with our offerings. You can also be in touch with Mel Berwin for more information.
Message from Rabbi Eve Posen:
I have an important reminder: I am here for you, the CNS community is here for you. I am always available to all of you and here ready to listen, lend support, and a virtual hug. Please be in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org is the fastest way for me to respond. Please include your phone number as I don’t have access to our database at home.
The thought of not being able to see all of you and your children throughout this makes me feel very sad. So, we’re going to see each other virtually. How are we going to do that? Through our Tot Shabbats, 4th Fridays, and Flashlight Havdallah. Learn more at our Virtual Services webpage, or contact me to be included on our email list: email@example.com.