9 August 2020 19 Av 5780
Dear Sandton Shul Members
Return to Shul
Following on from the Chief Rabbi’s announcement regarding return to shul and its timelines, we would like to set out Sandton Shul’s high level approach and thoughts on the matter.
As we are all aware, this is an ever evolving situation, and the below thoughts are subject to change. We plan to provide more detail over the coming weeks:
1. Sandton Shul will strictly apply the Chief Rabbi’s protocols for re-opening of our shul and we will ensure compliance with all South African government rules. We have already undergone two Covid compliance audits by an independent health & safety company and have already achieved 97% compliance.
2. We will over the next few weeks decide on the exact re-opening timeline, but at a minimum we will endeavour to operate services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
3. All services will have a maximum time limit of 2 hours and only accommodate a maximum of 50 people per service. In this regard, we intend to run multiple services in multiple locations on the campus at multiple time slots, to ensure that as many congregants have the opportunity to attend as many services as possible.
4. All services will require pre-booking and we will endeavour to fairly allocate your preferential time and service. The exact booking mechanism will be shared in due course. 5. Sandton Shul respects that each member has a varied personal circumstance and risk appetite. No member must feel any pressure (neither social nor halachic) to attend any service. Everyone must take personal responsibility and anyone who feels unsafe returning to shul should certainly not do so.
6. The Chief Rabbi’s medical advisors recommend that those members of 60 years old and above, or with comorbidities, not return to shul because of their high-risk profile. Members in this category must make their own personal decision in this regard and take full personal responsibility for their own health and safety. Ultimately no member will be denied access to Sandton Shul based on their age or comorbidity.
7. All Sandton Shul services will be open to both male and female members, with the only proviso being that each service has a minimum of 10 males over Barmitzva.
8. All members that elect to attend services will be required to sign an indemnity form & affirm that:
a. They fully understand the risks associated with attending any service at Sandton Shul and that they do so at their personal election.
b. They understand that Sandton Shul advise that members in higher risk categories (over 60 years old or those with comorbidities) do not attend services but that Sandton Shul will respect the personal decision of all members.
c. They will abide by all health & safety protocols whilst on the campus (these will be issued in detail), including the wearing of a compliant face mask at all times, strict social distancing & strict hand hygiene. Members understand that failure to meet any of these rules may result in a member being denied access onto the campus or even result in a member being asked to leave the campus. We will have zero tolerance for noncompliance.
d. They will not attend any service if they have any underlying symptoms of Covid-19 or feel otherwise unwell. Members understand that failure to meet this rule will result in the member being denied access or being requested to leave the campus. We will have zero tolerance for non-compliance.
As mentioned by the Chief Rabbi in his email to shul Presidents:
“……….throughout the country, thank G-d, the infection rate is starting to decline. This means that, under the guidance of our medical experts, Professor Barry Schoub and Dr Richard Friedland, we are able to begin a phased reopening of our shuls. This does not mean the risks and dangers of doing so have abated, but rather they have decreased to the extent that, with the implementation and maintenance of strict health and safety protocols, it would be responsible to return to our shuls.”
We appreciate you support and partnership throughout these challenging times.