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 and to inclusivity – providing opportunity for as many as possible to participate and engage.
- Commitment to Community – belief in the importance and value of providing opportunities – ritual & spiritual, educational, cultural, and social – through all platforms and modalities possible to help our congregational community to feel connected, supported, and engaged.
Constant and consistent evaluation and decision-making have been ever-present since Purim 2020.
Since they were available, CNS has required Covid vaccines for all who are in our building. For much of that time, Multnomah County was at “High” risk level, hospitals were near or at capacity, there were lower levels of vaccination in the community and the Covid variant was more virulent than is the norm today.
Currently, the county is at “Low” risk level, with over 80% of the community having received at least 2 Covid vaccines (our Kehilla / Congregation is over 90% fully vaccinated). Additionally, it is likely that up to 80% of the county has already been infected with Covid, providing additional immunity. Covid vaccines are very effective at preventing serious disease (hospitalizations are way down) but have not been shown to prevent infection or transmission of the highly contagious Omicron variant. At this time, it appears that the risk of not getting vaccinated is to that individual and not to others.
Based on the current situation with Covid in our community, the CNS Medical Taskforce has recommended, and the Neveh Shalom Board of Directors has approved, a change in our policy from one of “vaccination required” to “vaccination strongly recommended” for congregants and guests in our synagogue building and facilities. We continue to encourage all who are eligible to remain up-to-date on Covid vaccines and boosters.
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 is optional though encouraged, including Shabbat and holiday services.
- We know that some, if not many, will continue to wear masks. That choice is welcomed and respected.
- 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.
- Vaccination is strongly recommended for all who will be in the CNS building for more than 15 minutes.
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.