Dear Friends,

As the COVID-19 infection rates in CT continue to decline, we have made the decision to adjust our FVJC-Emek Shalom COVID-19 policies accordingly. This announcement comes directly from our Covid Task Force, community members and medical professionals, who have reviewed current CDC and Connecticut Department of Public Health recommendations, and have advised us accordingly.

Effective March 25, masks will be optional in our building. Any individual who wishes to wear a mask is welcome to do so, and we strongly encourage anyone who is unvaccinated or immunocompromised to wear a mask for their own protection. Whatever choice you make regarding masks, we ask that you respect the choices that others make.

With COVID-19 infection rates continuing to change, our Task Force will monitor and evaluate the data, as well as reassess every 2 weeks so that we can continue to update our policies accordingly. Should conditions change (e.g. with the new emerging BA2 variant), we are fully prepared to pivot and adapt our Covid-19 policies to ensure we continue to provide a safe environment for all our members.

Loel Goldblatt, President

William B. White, MD, Covid Task Force Lead

Rabbi Rebekah Goldman

September 2021

Dear Friends,

As previously communicated, we are delighted to say that FVJC-Emek Shalom has reopened with protocols in place in order to provide a safe environment for all our members. These protocols will be in place until further notice and are in compliance with the Town of Simsbury’s Mask Mandate requiring that face coverings be worn by all individuals over the age of two, in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Therefore, we are continuing to require anyone entering our building to wear a face mask. If you are feeling unwell please attend virtually rather than in-person.

As a reminder, the following protocols are in place:


Indoor Shabbat services have a capacity of 75 congregants in the expanded Sanctuary/Social Hall area. Masks are required and we have repositioned our chairs so that families can sit together without concern about being too close to others outside their own cohort. Oneg Shabbats will not take place indoors at this time.

Virtual Shabbat Services will continue for those who prefer to worship from home and for our virtual and long distance members.

B’NAI MITZVAH: B’nai Mitzvah Services also have a capacity of 75 guests.  Masks are required and we have repositioned our chairs so that families can sit together without concern of being too close to others outside their own cohort.

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL: Religious School: All the policies and procedures in place during the past school year will continue including wearing face masks, social distancing, and good hand hygiene.

 COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND EVENTS:  All Meetings and Events will have a capacity of 75 people. Meetings and events can take place in the building as long as everyone wears face masks and social distances appropriately.

5782 HIGH HOLIDAYS: For High Holidays our more highly attended High Holiday services will be held in an outdoor covered venue. Due to the structure of this building, everyone over the age of 2 must be masked at all services. Social distancing guidelines should be maintained at all times; only close family members should be included in your pod.

We will also be offering live streaming to our long distance/virtual members and to those who feel more comfortable worshipping from home.  Please see our schedule of services for locations and times.

Thank you for your patience during this very difficult time, and for your continued commitment to the health and safety of our FVJC-Emek Shalom community.

May you have a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Rabbi Rebekah Goldman

Loel Goldblatt, President

William B. White, MD, Covid Task Force Lead


June 2, 2021
As promised, we are announcing updated protocols for June through August. We are delighted to say that we are reopening and getting ever closer to “normal.” Please note that we will conduct a survey shortly to assess the rate of vaccination in our FVJC community. The following protocols may be amended somewhat based on the survey findings. The FVJC community has been enormously patient during this very difficult year and we thank you all for your commitment to FVJC and to the health and safety of the community.
Effective immediately, the following protocols will be in place:
Indoor Shabbat services: will have a capacity of 75 congregants in the expanded Sanctuary/Social Hall area. We will ask congregants to remain masked while indoors at FVJC at this time. Oneg Shabbats will not take place indoors at this time.
Outdoor Shabbat services: will have an unlimited capacity and congregants who have been vaccinated are welcome to be unmasked at outdoor services. Unvaccinated congregants should take care to maintain social distance. We will be resuming Oneg Shabbats for our outdoor services.  Virtual Shabbat services: will continue for those who prefer to remain at home.
B’nai Mitzvah will also have a capacity of 75 guests. We ask that everyone remain masked for these events. In cases where only the immediate family will be in the sanctuary and vaccination status can be assured families can be unmasked.
Our beloved Mah Jongg Mondays will resume in the Social Hall. A survey is currently being conducted to determine the extent to which this group is vaccinated. Masking protocols will follow pending the results of that survey. We encourage any immunocompromised players to continue to mask. Snacks and lunch will not be permitted inside during Mah Jongg at this time.  Please reach out to our activity coordinator, member, Nan Shafer, for more information.
An early note on 5782 HIGH HOLIDAYS:
We are eager to return to the sanctuary for High Holidays, but only if we can do so safely. We will be sending a survey to you all shortly to begin to assess our community “herd immunity” and our congregation’s comfort level with returning to larger events and will make the best possible decisions pending those results. At present, we can announce that many of our High Holiday services will take place at FVJC. We are working through options for our largest services in order to ensure safety for all.
We look forward to seeing you all at home, in our sanctuary, over the next several weeks.
With tremendous hope and gratitude,
Rabbi Rebekah Goldman, President Tracy Smith and William White, MD

Update, March 30th

Dear FVJC Religious School Families,
Welcome to Virtual Religious School! I hope all of you are safe and weathering these uncertain times as well as can be expected. On behalf of our wonderful Education Team, I want to let you know that we are here for you and we will be working diligently to engage everyone, in a way that is both developmentally and academically appropriate. As you probably all know, learning is paramount in Judaism, and connects all of us, even virtually! Our hope is that these educational offerings, developed with love by our education and clergy teams, help your family adjust and find comfort amidst this chaos.

For our littles, PreK-3, we will have weekly LIVE Sunday morning T’fillah with Rabbi Bekah, Music with Lisa and additional sessions with Morah Ally on

Zoom at 10:00am. There will always be prayer practice, music, crafts and books. This week we will have Mini Minyan at 9:00am instead, so log in and join us! Also join Rabbi Bekah and Isabela for Sunset Storytime at 6:45pm every evening on Facebook Live.

We understand that everyone is in a different circumstance and that each of us have different comfort zones and differing abilities. To that end, there will be leveled assignments in Google classroom for our 4-7th graders. Upper school students are strongly encouraged to sign up for a weekly 15 minute prayer tutorial with Morah Za. This is a wonderful opportunity to focus on your student’s strengths and vigorously make headway on improving skills!

You can sign-up using the button link below or by clicking HERE. A Google Classroom for upper school students is up and running! Please use Google Classroom code: oiyxrde to join. Assignments and links will be posted by Tuesday of each week. Also look for a weekly “Challenge.” This will be a lighthearted activity which you can do with your child! Just to keep our daily habits the same, we will have weekly Wednesday T’fillah with Rabbi Bekah LIVE at 5:30 via Zoom.

And as always, Shabbat services will be streamed Live from Facebook at 7:00pm each Shabbat with a Havdalah ritual concluding Shabbat each Saturday night at 7:00pm. We encourage everyone to stream them live and boost those prayer practicing skills, not to mention, be present with our community.

Please reach out if there is anything we can do to help you be more connected. We miss being with you so much.

Be well,
Liddy Doyle,, Education Chair
Susan Johnson, Lead Teacher PreK-3
Za Flores,, Lead Teacher, 4-7

COVID Update, March 19th
Dear FVJC Family,

Last Shabbat, Rabbi Bekah broadcast Shabbat services on Facebook for the first time and over fifty of you joined in to sing and to pray along with those of us who were at the service. It was a joy to be together as a community in this new way.

At this time, in order to comply with CDC Guidelines as well as State and local requests, FVJC will be conducting virtually all of its operations online. This is a difficult moment in every way, and one in which we might ordinarily reach out to our synagogue community in person, but we must join the effort to “flatten the curve” and do our best to care for each other by protecting each other.

For the foreseeable future, and until the CDC and local officials advise otherwise, FVJC’s building will be closed to gatherings. All social events like our spring fundraiser and Sisterhood and Men’s Club plans are postponed

FVJC will, however, continue to be a vibrant community, but its “gatherings” will look different for now.

· Shabbat Services will now be held online only. We will send you information about how to access these services before Shabbat begins this week. Last week’s successful experiment allowed congregants to sing with Rabbi Bekah, share Shehechiyanu moments, and talk to each other online, in real time. Please join us!

· Religious School will also move to a virtual model and our Education Leadership team is working together to provide offerings that will keep students and families engaged in Jewish learning while they are unable to be together at FVJC.

· Pastoral care will also be lovingly offered by phone or online using videoconferencing. Rabbi Bekah is, and will continue to be, here for our community. Links for video conferencing will be sent soon.

FVJC is working on a menu of adult learning and other opportunities that we will roll out over the coming days. In the meantime, please know that the synagogue community that has always been your home is still here for you and is looking forward to sharing Shabbat online with you this week.

Sending wishes for health and good spirits.
With gratitude for our community,
Tracy Smith, President, on behalf of the Board of Directors

March 12, 2020
Dear FVJC Family-

We know that these are challenging times for our community and the world around us as we seek to respond to COVID19 in a quickly changing environment. FVJC’s Board discussed our response to the virus at its meeting this week this week and is convening an additional meeting with a broad spectrum of our leadership, including Ritual, Religious School, Sisterhood and Men’s Club, clergy and our Executive Board on Sunday evening to make decisions about our programming moving forward.

At this time we can announce that all social programming, including our beloved weekly Mah Jongg and Rabbi’s Hour will be canceled until further notice. In addition, while our Kabbalat Shabbat service will take place tomorrow night, we will not be holding our communal dinner or Oneg Shabbat afterward. Further, Rabbi Bekah’s Introduction to Judaism class will also be postponed until further notice. Our leadership team will be discussing how to proceed with Shabbat services, Religious School, and other upcoming events and will share those decisions with you on Monday.

We are working hard to ensure that many of FVJC’s offerings will be available in on-line formats for the time being and we will have more information about those options for you shortly.

Please know that all of these decisions are being made with heavy hearts as we both delight in time spent as part of our very special community. However, because we care deeply about you all, we place the value of pikuach nefesh “saving a life” above all else.

With wishes for health for all,
Rabbi Bekah and Tracy Smith


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