Resources and Guidelines for the Consideration of Re-Opening

As national, state, and local health authorities begin to allow additional activities in certain communities, congregational leaders will begin to consider the process of re-opening. We understand that economic and communal pressure, the loneliness and isolation of congregations, and the desire to “get back to normal” bias leaders in favor of re-opening. As articulated in the rabbinic statements shared below, Jewish values obligate us to consider broader implications of our actions, including the risk to the lives of our clergy, seminary students, employees, volunteers, our congregants, and those who would come in contact with them.

These re-opening tools are not meant to create the basis for re-opening but rather give you some guidelines to help consider whether you should. At every step of the way, you must consider the risks of something going wrong and the implication that your decisions might be responsible for that.

1. Make values-based decisions.

During this time, continue to root decisions in your congregation’s mission and core values, as you would any other time. Especially in challenging times, your foundational statements can help you focus and remind you of the ideas that guide you as a community. 

The CCAR and URJ issued this joint statement on Jewish values that should be considered when creating guidelines for your congregation’s re-opening timeline.

2. Evaluate considerations specific to re-opening.

3. Get essential supplies.

The newly launched Reform Movement Marketplace connects URJ-affiliated congregations with products and services that will reduce costs of running a congregation and simplify day-to-day operations. Among other things, congregations can get items they need to reopen, including discounted masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, sanitizer machines, plexiglass desk dividers, and more.

4. Discuss re-opening with other leaders and experts across the Reform Movement.

Join the discussion and access resources shared with and by congregational leaders in The Tent. We recommend the Safety and Security group; search for #Coronavirus ,  #Covid19, or #Reopening to find resources from across all groups in The Tent. If you’re not yet in The Tent, we encourage you, and other leaders in your congregation, to set up your account now.   

At this moment, please remember the URJ is here to help and support you. We hope these resources help you make it through these difficult times with strength and hope. 

Looking for something more specific or want to review everything we have to offer? Check out the URJ’s COVID-19 Resources for Congregations landing page.