Reopening Task Force Update: April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

Dear WHC Community,

We have looked forward to sending this message for a very long time! After more than a year of seeing you through computer screens, we are excited to share that starting on July 1, we will begin to welcome you back in person to Kaufmann Sanctuary at Washington Hebrew Congregation for Shabbat services and life cycle events.

Protecting the health and safety of the community is not just required of us, it is woven into our Jewish values, and we made this decision carefully and with guidance from the medical experts on our Reopening Task Force. Holding indoor Shabbat services and life cycle events is just the first of many steps, both large and small, that we will take on our journey to reopening our facilities. At every step, we will continue to prioritize community health and safety. Our decisions reflect lessons we have learned from a year of robust virtual activity, the feedback we have received from so many of you, and our commitment to ensuring that all of you will have access to the comfort, inspiration, and community of your Temple.

What to expect when you come to Temple

The pandemic has affected all of our lives, and it will change how we will welcome you to Temple for services and life cycle events. For example, to ensure attendance is within limits permitted by the DC government and to assist with contact tracing, advance registration will be required. In addition, you will be asked to complete an online Wellness Screening prior to entering the building. Both of these processes can be completed quickly and easily. We also will continue our COVID-safe measures, including temperature checks, requiring masks for everyone over the age of two, social distancing, enhanced air filtration, cleaning, and sanitizing.

We will share more information, details, and complete instructions in the coming weeks to help everyone navigate this transition.

If you are not ready to join us in person

We know that not everyone is able – or ready – to join us in person, and we will continue to live stream services, making it possible for you to join us spiritually from wherever you may be, just as you have for the past 13 months.

Thinking about the High Holy Days

You may be curious about the High Holy Days – a significant step on this journey for all of us! We are already hard at work on our plans and expect this year’s experience will include a blend of in-person and online options. We look forward to sharing information with you this summer about the different ways in which we will come together for the High Holy Days.

We continue to monitor trends and community spread, and although we are optimistic that we will be able to move forward with our plans, we will adjust as required for public health and safety. As always, we will keep you informed about developments or changes.

Our shared efforts – getting vaccinated, wearing masks, social distancing, and maintaining enhanced cleaning protocols – have helped us reach this shehecheyanu moment. Thank you for your support and for doing your part. Washington Hebrew remains committed to keeping you and our entire community safe and engaged, both physically and spiritually.


Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig
Senior Rabbi

Mark D. Director
WHC President