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CST Community Response to Coronavirus: All Activities Suspended through April 19

March 12, 2020
16 Adar 5780

Dear Shir Tikvah Community,
At Shir Tikvah, nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our community.  As the situation with the coronavirus (COVID 19) continues to rapidly evolve, we are monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  Therefore, in the continued spirit of pikuach nefesh, the mitzvah of “saving a life,” it is the responsibility of each of us, collectively and individually, to take the necessary precautions not to spread any virus.  
Following the announcement of a state of emergency by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in keeping with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services community mitigation strategies to slow the transmission of the disease, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Michigan Board of Rabbis, we are putting the following measures in place at Congregation Shir Tikvah, effective immediately, through April 19, 2020:

  • All services will be conducted remotely via a platform called Zoom. There will NOT be open Shabbat services at shul. You may join services in real time from your computer (or for those without computer or internet access, a telephone call-in line is provided).  Zoom is free, easy to download, and easy to use.
  • This week’s Friday night Sisterhood Shabbat Service at 7:15 p.m. will be our first virtual Zoom service. For this service, we will have the primary service leaders only at shul and encourage you to virtually attend, participate, and read your part (for those who are involved) via Zoom by calling in by telephone or participating virtually via your computer. If you have not used Zoom before, you will be prompted to download their software upon opening your first session.  Therefore, we recommend you attempt to join the service 5-10 minutes early to provide ample time for the download to complete and connect. Please use the following link or phone number to connect to the Sisterhood Shabbat Service:

          Meeting ID: 457 516 243          Password: 098404
          Dial in by calling:  (929) 205-6099

  • Rabbi Aura, who has lots of experience using Zoom, will be available to those of you who need help. We are also working to schedule a couple of virtual orientation sessions next week (stay tuned for more information).  Additionally, will be updated with a "Click here to join services" button to make it easy to join.
  • All Family Education programs for grades preK-12th grade are cancelled until April 19th.  This includes Tuesday and Sunday school programs, the teen bus tour of Detroit, special programming during school, and adult ed classes offered on Sunday morning. Adult Beginning Hebrew will be offered virtually. 
  • Tot Shabbats scheduled for March 21st and April 18th are cancelled.
  • Individual committee meetings and small group gatherings are encouraged to use Zoom or Skype instead of face-to-face sessions, where possible.
  • B’nai mitzvah tutoring will continue via Skype or FaceTime
  • Rabbi Aura, Sarah and Lorelei will still be available and working both in the building and remotely to keep our congregation connected through this time we must be apart.  Please reach out to us via email or phone should you have any questions or needs.  If you must visit the shul for any reason during office hours, please call ahead to schedule an appointment.

Many of you have children and grandchildren.  Disruptions in routine such as this add to already high levels of anxiety.  The following resources are available:

Shir Tikvah is a safe and sacred community to us all, one that provides comfort and peace through all of our life experiences.  While we are deeply saddened to have to limit access to our shul, we are thankful that virtual communication is available so that we may seek ways to remain connected during such an unprecedented time. 
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we, as a community, navigate this road together.
Rich Spitzer, President
Aura Ahuvia, Rabbi
Lorelei Berg, Executive Director
Sarah Chisholm, Director of Lifelong Learning


March 11, 2020
15 Adar 5780

Shir Tikvah Community,
With the news of the continuing spread of COVID-19, including two reported cases now in Oakland and Wayne counties, we want to assure you that we are being proactive at Shir Tikvah to protect our community from the spread of illness. We are calling on you to support our collective efforts, and we need your help to follow the measures we are putting in place. 
The health of our members and our community is paramount.  Therefore, for the sake of pikuach nefesh, the mitzvah of “saving a life,” it is the responsibility of each of us, collectively and individually, to take the necessary precautions not to spread any virus.  
We assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, the CDC, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS), the Oakland County Health Division, the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit. Should we need to suspend any activities (be it events, religious school, or even services) we will notify the congregation immediately and post updates on our website at

That being said, out of an abundance of caution, Sisterhood has decided to cancel the “In the Spirit of Empty Bowls” potluck dinner that was to precede the Sisterhood Shabbat service this Friday evening.  The Sisterhood Shabbat service is still on, and we encourage you to keep reading for more information on how we can all do our best to make our communal spaces as safe as possible for everyone around us.

We have also made the difficult decision to cancel the congregational trip to Israel this spring, due to concerns over non-essential international travel.  More information about a reschedule date will be available in the coming weeks to those who were signed up for the trip.
While at shul, we are temporarily putting several changes in place to help mitigate the spread of viruses.  We ask that everyone do their best to greet each other without touching, a hand placed over the heart is a lovely, warm and welcoming alternative.  We are suspending touching the challah during hamotzi and “hand-washing reminder signs” have been placed in the bathrooms and kitchen.  Other parts of services which require touching, such as the occasional end-of-service practice of holding hands while chanting “Kol HaNeshema,” are also suspended. We are cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces more frequently.
At this time, we are not canceling Family Ed classes.  As we continue to monitor the situation, we will let you know immediately if this changes.  Any cancellations will be posted on the CST website and on Facebook, and sent via robocall and eblast.  Looking ahead, the March 22nd teen bus tour to Detroit will be postponed with a new date announced in the future.
We need your help too! We ask that you please monitor your own symptoms and those of your children. If you have signs of illness, regardless of whether you have a fever, please stay home and play it safe rather than take the risk of inadvertently sharing an illness at a shul gathering.  Please also remember to practice frequent handwashing, and, if you are coughing, please cough into a tissue and throw it away or, if not possible, into your elbow.
Please let us know of any support that you need! We, the clergy, staff, Board of Trustees, and our Caring Community, are here for you.  In the spirit of community, we ask that you offer support to anyone you know who is homebound or in need and let us know if we are unaware of another member in need.

While we each respond in different ways, let us also remember to turn to our tradition, prayers and relationships to ease our anxieties and determine rational ways to stay healthy and connected during a time in which we may need each other, and our spiritual community, the most.

For more information about COVID-19 and helpful resources, we recommend reviewing the toolkit provided by the Oakland Country Health Division.
Rich Spitzer, President
Aura Ahuvia, Rabbi
Lorelei Berg, Executive Director
Sarah Chisholm, Director of Lifelong Learning

Tue, August 11 2020 21 Av 5780