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BE SAFE

Safety and Security are on everyone’s minds as we navigate the “new reality” of mass casualty incidents and the rise of anti-Semitism and extremist violence. At Gates, we strive to balance the safety and security of our visitors, with the hospitality and warm welcome for which we are known.

One of the ways to keep safe is to use a code to get into the building when doors are locked. (Codes will not work during days/times when the building is closed & alarms set). The code process is easy and you can obtain a code by calling and requesting one from the temple office - if you are recognized by phone. We may have you enter the building at the office before giving a code. Here is a video with clear instructions on how to gain access to the building. 

We have added some features you should know about. Our computer systems have enhanced features that will help keep our data and records secure.  We have installed security cameras throughout the building. We have panic buttons to call for help from the police, if needed. And we’ve offered trainings on building safety basics as well as Stop the Bleed where we learned to control bleeding until first responders can take over. We will continue to add trainings and features as needed.

Our Safety and Security Committee & Office Staff regularly review and update our security protocols. We work with law enforcement and organizations like the Jewish Community Federation of Northeastern New York to evaluate and respond to threats as they arise. If you have suggestions or questions for the Safety and Security Committee, you are invited to attend a meeting or email us at safety@cgoh.org. You may also contact our Director of Administration and Operations, Josh Cooper-Ginsburg, josh@cgoh.org or 518-374-8173.

Stay tuned for information in our weekly emails and our quarterly Bulletin and consider attending available training seminars! As always, when you are here at the temple, if you see something wrong, say something to one of our staff, clergy, or ushers. We are here to help.

Health Safety is also on our minds. We are opening our Gates and offering more options for in-person events. We have maintained a high standard of cleaning and continue to keep the health and welfare of our congregation and visitors of utmost priority. We ask you to do the same.

The reopening committee wrote this in early February, 2022:

Our reopening committee together with the professional staff has made decisions regarding the return to in-person gatherings guided by Jewish values. We will continue to heed the advice and wisdom of experts, without unacceptable risk to human life, including the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

Saving Human Life—Click Here for Traditional Sources

Pikuach Nefesh (Saving a Life)—overrides every other obligation. These past 2 years we have enacted this value by closing the synagogue, connecting virtually for prayer and learning, comforting mourners, and celebrating weddings—all with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

As we carefully return to community activities, we can continue to express this value of safeguarding life in our individual and communal decisions. We can

  • Ask ourselves how we are feeling and staying home when we feel sick?
  • Ask ourselves how my attendance is going to impact another?

Human Dignity—Click Here for Traditional Sources

Kol Yisrael Averim Zeh El Zeh (All of Israel is responsible for each other)—Jewish tradition assigns ultimate value to each human life. Across the diversity of circumstances and traits that differentiate one human being from another, we are equal regarding our dignity whatever our age, background, wealth, gender, physical appearance, or ability. Each person is also responsible for the other. We show respect and care for another by:

  • Staying home when we are sick.
  • Wearing a mask while inside the synagogue, except when eating.
  • Honoring another’s personal space through social distancing.

Medical Science—Click Here for Traditional Sources

Aseih l’cha Rav— (Find Yourself a Rabbi)—This is found in Pirkei Avot 1:6 and is usually translated as “teacher.” The term “rabbi” in this phrase suggests expertise. In our Jewish lives, we rely upon the knowledge and guidance of our rabbis, cantors, and educators. As we confront a public health crisis, though, it is the expertise of public health authorities, physicians in our community and specialists in infectious disease, and epidemiologists to which we must look for guidance concerning the best decisions for our communities. The high esteem for medical science that one finds in Jewish sources contradicts the notion that there is an inherent conflict between religion and science.

  • Any decision that does not take the considered opinions of scientific experts into account cannot be considered ethical. 

Respecting Elders—Click Here for Traditional Sources

Mipnei seivah takum— “You shall rise before the aged” (Leviticus 19:32). We celebrate the multi-generational character of our community. We must not take actions that would either stigmatize or compromise the health and well-being of the elderly and individuals with preexisting conditions who are considered most vulnerable to Covid-19.

  • We encourage those who come into our building to be vaccinated to protect yourself as well as others around you.
  • We will continue to require mask wearing while inside the building. (This has since been updated and masks are encouraged, but not required in the majority of the building. In the office, masks are required. Please respect others.) 

We welcome your comments and questions.

L'Shalom

Rabbi Matt Cutler

Josh Cooper-Ginsburg, Director of Administration & Operations

Arnie Rotenberg, Director of Congregational Jewish Living

Peter Kopcha, President

Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyyar 5782