More Information About Becoming a “Virtual” Congregation

To our IHC Family,
The past few weeks have been challenging for our country and our world. Fears of the coronavirus have spread as quickly as the disease itself, and this moment requires the best in each of us to rise to the challenge. Our Jewish tradition provides many insights and examples for how we might respond in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
First and foremost, as Jews we cherish life. “Save a single life, and it is as if you have saved an entire world,” say the sages. We recognize that limiting our communal gatherings ultimately will save lives. So as of today, we are becoming a “virtual” congregation. Although we will not physically be together, our community must find ways to spiritually support one another, to provide sanctuary in every way we can.
Here is what it will mean to be a “virtual” community:
  • Shabbat services, beginning next week, March 20th, will be live-streamed only. If you search for Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation on Facebook, you will be able to see services live.
  • Our Early Childhood Center, religious schools, youth groups, task forces, committees, and adult education classes will not meet in the building, and will move online when possible. Follow up emails are being sent to address specific programs and events.
  • The Temple building will be closed to all congregants and visitors, with the exception of temple staff, who will be encouraged to work from home when possible. IHC staff will be available to you through email and phone.
Additionally, while we practice “social distancing,” it will be more important than ever that we seek new and creative ways to stay connected, learn together, and keep our community strong. Technology offers us many ways to learn and pray together.  For some this will be a lonely or scary time. We have the ability to comfort one another, to check on one another, and to uplift one another. Please keep an eye on your inboxes for virtual opportunities in the coming days and ideas for helping one another through this time.
This is our plan as we move through the uncertainty of the coming weeks. By the end of spring break, which is April 12th, we hope to know more about how to plan further ahead. Please know we continue to listen closely to recommendations from the CDC, as well as congregations around the city, and throughout the Reform movement.
The Jewish value of Pikuach Nefesh, saving a life, was considered so important to the ancient rabbis, that they allowed the breaking of most other laws, including Shabbat, to ensure the health and well-being of individuals. Let us gather strength from one another, even across the distance. And let us support those who are most vulnerable with a blessing for peace and health in our community, our city, and our world.
Brett Krichiver                   Daniel Silien                                    Marc P. Katz
Senior Rabbi                     Executive Director                          Board President