June 5, 2020 – 13 Sivan, 5780

We are pleased to announce that Shabbat worship at Congregation Beth Israel (“CBI”) will recommence with the following safeguards and protocols on Friday evenings beginning this Friday, June 5, 2020 with our 6:15 PM Kabbalat Shabbat Service and on Saturday mornings beginning on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 10 AM.  All Services will continue to be available via our Livestream via YouTube and Facebook to support the needs of those who are unable to attend in person.

To ensure our members, clergy and staff may worship in a safe and healthy environment, we are taking an “above and beyond” approach to comply with local and state guidance. If we are unable to achieve compliance and/or if community spread of Covid-19 increases, the synagogue will close again until it is deemed safer.

This plan for Reopening for Worship was created in consultation with medical professionals, including those who specialize in epidemiology and have been providing medical treatment to patients with COVID-19. We have included (and exceeded) detailed guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Arizona Department of Health Services following Governor Doug Ducey’s Executive Order of May 12, 2020.


Guidelines for Reopening


  1. Services will be limited to the first 50 attendees who preregister no later than the Thursday before Shabbat begins each week. An email will be sent to the Congregation weekly once we have reached our maximum occupancy and other congregants are encouraged to join Services via our Livestream. All Services will be held in the Goldsmith Sanctuary. The synagogue will open 15 minutes before services.
  2. Upon arrival, congregants will first visit a screening station for a temperature and general welfare check. Staff will use touchless/infrared forehead thermometers to check temperatures. Congregants with a temperature of over 100 degrees and/or who are experiencing coronavirus-related symptoms will be asked to return home.
  3. Those who are considered “high risk” should not attend Services during Phase 1. We strongly recommend that for congregants who have any of the following high-risk conditions to continue participating on live stream until our state and local guidelines change. We know how important celebrating Shabbat in the synagogue, amongst friends, is for many of our members even if they are considered “high risk” (i.e. are over 65 years of age and/or have additional chronic medical conditions as defined by the CDC and AZDHS). However, we ask you to please wait until the guidance changes. While we know everyone is ready to come back right now, waiting just a bit longer will only enhance our future Shabbat celebrations! At this time, waiting will make the “reward” far exceed the current “risk.” These risk factors include: moderate or severe asthma (regular use of inhalers and/or steroidal treatment); chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis; chronic lung disease (i.e., COPD, emphysema or chronic bronchitis); diabetes (including Type 1, Type 2 and gestational); hemoglobin disorders; if you are receiving treatments which make you Immunocompromised (i.e., cancer treatment, bone marrow and/or organ transplantation, HIV with low CD4 cell count, on steroids and/or immunosuppressant medications); liver disease; if you are currently living in a nursing home or long term care facility; have a serious heart condition (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies and pulmonary hypertension); and severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher) and if you are 65 years of age or older. For more information, please click here before you attend Services to be in compliance with this requirement.
  4. Congregants are requested to maintain at least 8 feet from those who do not live in their household at all times while at Services.
  5. Congregants must bring a mask from home and wear it inside the synagogue at all times.
  6. Food or drink (other than a personal water bottle) are not permitted in the building; there will be no “nosh” before Services and no “oneg” following Services. We also request that you do not use our drinking fountains.
  7. Siddurim (Prayer books) and Tallitot (Prayer Shawls) will not be made available for use. Instead, we ask you to either:
    • Use the Mishkan Tefillah “Flip Book” on your personal tablet or cell phone or use the Prayer Sheets which will be made available for one-time use.
    • You are welcome to bring your own Tallit for Shabbat morning Services.
  8. All chairs, exposed surfaces and worship areas will be cleaned between all Services.
  9. The Goldsmith Sanctuary will be “designed” with limited and appropriately spaced seating. Some rows will be designated for members of the same household while other rows will be limited to 2-3 participants. Rows at the front of the Sanctuary near the Bima will be closed to keep extra physical distance from the clergy.
  10. It is preferred that you refrain from using the restroom. However, the bathroom off the hallway of the Diamond Rotunda will be open. Only one person will be permitted to use each bathroom at a time. Bathrooms will be cleaned by a member of our staff between uses.