Update - July 1, 2020
SCHAFER FAMILY CAMPUS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
In December 2017 we began a major renovation and expansion of the Schaefer Family Campus. Less than two weeks after we received our certificate of completion from the City of Boca Raton on March 5, 2020, we closed our doors due to the Coronavirus. We are using this time while the staff is at home to move furniture and equipment into the new building so that when our staff can return to work in-person, they can go right into the new office area.
?We would like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of our Facilities Planning Task Force who worked on this very complicated project for over five years, as well as recognize the hundreds of donors whose generosity made our dreams become a reality. We cannot wait to welcome everyone back into our magnificent facilities.
BECK FAMILY CAMPUS, EARLY LEARNING CENTER AND RELIGIOUS SCHOOL
We recently made the very difficult decision to cancel the Beth El Early Learning Center (“ELC”) Summer Adventure Camp and Summer Child Care, in the best health and safety interests of our children, staff and teachers. However, we are hard at work creating reopening plans for both the ELC and religious school. The creativity our education teams display in curriculum development, teacher training, and safety protocol continue to surpass all expectations. Their ongoing engagement with our students and parents through Zoom, social media, YouTube and other forms of online learning and parent support demonstrate their devotion to Jewish education of our next generation.
OPENING TEMPLE BETH EL UPDATE
Temple Beth El instituted a Reopening Plan which consists of four phases. On June 1st we moved from Phase 0 to Phase 1 and that is where we remain today. Each week, in consultation with the Temple’s Covid-19 Task Force, we reevaluate whether the statistical criteria has been met to move from one phase to the next. Given the recent rise in positive cases in our area, it is unlikely we will move to Phase 2 in the next several weeks.
What does this mean ?
· The Early Learning Center (“ELC”) and Religious School remain closed for in-person learning.
· The Beth El Mausoleum is open for visitation but special sanitization protocols and social distancing are required. Also, visitors to the Mausoleum must wear a face covering.
· During Phase 1 there are no in-person services or programs at the Temple. The only exceptions are very limited life-cycle events such as funerals or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs conducted for the immediate family only.
· Telework will continue for those staff members able to work productively from home.
· There are no facility rentals for birthday parties, lifecycle parties, bar/bat mitzvah parties or support groups during this phase, and no catering is allowed during this phase.
CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION AND NEXT YEAR’S BUDGET
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a detrimental impact on the Temple’s finances, but not on the spirit of our staff or membership. As we enter into the 2020-2021 fiscal year which begins July 1, we recognize the need to maintain our significant cost-cutting measures. This includes a 10% pay cut to all staff and clergy.
It is difficult to forecast what our revenues and expenses will look like in the coming months. The general consensus is that the economic forecast is gloomy and so we are expecting a significant decrease in revenues. The 2020-2021 operating budget approved at the Annual Congregational Meeting on June 4th included a budget deficit of roughly $600,000. We have not seen a budget like this in recent history.
We know times are tough, and that everyone is dealing with struggles right now – financial, emotional and physical.
It is more important than ever that we maintain the valuable services the Temple provides, especially to our members with the greatest needs. We are committed to continuing our longstanding policy of not turning away any individual or family who want to be part of a Jewish community, regardless of their ability to pay.
If you need financial assistance for school tuition or Congregational Commitment, please let us know. Now is the not the time to take a break from Beth El, it is the time when you need a caring community to support you. If you have questions about our scholarship process, please contact Elinor Josephson, Director of Engagement and Programming, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are able to do so, please consider giving a little bit more than your congregational commitment by becoming a Sustaining Member. Contact Derek Hurwitch, Development Director, at email@example.com to discuss how you can help Temple Beth El continue to welcome all those who wish to enter.
We thank you for continuing to be a part of our very special Temple Beth El family. We will continue to provide updates periodically. Please visit tbeboca.org/virtual for many opportunites to learn, sing, schmooze, study Torah and celebrate Shabbat! Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy and relaxing summer.
Update - May 31, 2020
Dear Temple Beth El Family:
Last week we shared with you the 4-phase plan to reopen Temple Beth El. Each week, members of the senior staff, clergy and lay leaders consult with the Temple’s Covid-19 Task Force to reevaluate whether the statistical criteria have been met to move from one phase to the next. First and foremost in our minds as we make these difficult decisions is the health and well-being of our clergy, staff, students, congregants and community. Based on the most recent data, we have determined that we will move from Phase 0 to Phase 1 of the Reopening Plan beginning on June 1, 2020.
So what does this mean for you – our staff, members, students, teachers and guests?
As much as I would love to share with you a detailed timeline for moving through the phases of the reopening plan, unfortunately at this time that is still not possible. We look forward to the day when we can safely come together in person to worship, learn and enjoy each other’s company. Until then, we will see you at Virtual Beth El! We will continue to provide updates periodically and encourage you to visit this page for the latest information.
Update - May 20, 2020
To our Temple Beth El Family and Community,
We used to use that phrase almost casually. “Don’t worry: I’ll be there!” “See you there.” “I’ll be there for you.”
For more than fifty years, Temple Beth El’s mission is to be there.
We want to be there to celebrate the most important moments in life – a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a wedding. We want to be there to offer comfort through life’s greatest challenges – an illness, a divorce, a personal crisis, a loss. We want to be there to celebrate Shabbat, the holidays, and festivals. We want to be there to share in the discovery of Torah and Jewish learning. To make a difference in the lives of those who are needy, to join the fight for justice, to be a beacon of moral clarity, to support our people here, in Israel, and throughout the world.
As the COVID pandemic swept across the world – Temple Beth El had a fundamental question to answer: How can we be there for our congregation when our community can’t … be there? How can we ensure that Temple Beth El will be there now – especially in this extraordinary moment in history when so many people are so vulnerable? As families cope with unemployment, with illness and loss, with loneliness and fear?
Although the pandemic necessitated that we close our physical buildings, we knew that we could still be there for our Temple Beth El family. We could be fully available and operational ~ “virtually.” We quickly acted to implement measures to protect the health and safety of our clergy, staff, students and congregants, and to create a virtual connection.
Who would’ve thought that almost two months later, we would be there for each other, but still only virtually?
If the city and state are beginning to open up, will the Temple open up again soon?
How has the economic shutdown affected the Temple and our members? Will we be ok?
REOPENING BETH EL AGAIN PLAN
The roadmap for how we intend to reopen the Temple is separated into four phases, and takes into account the health and safety of our congregants, students staff and clergy, the guidance of the CDC and the recommendations of the Temple’s Covid-19 Task Force. Specific quantitative data on the progression and mitigation of the virus are taken into account.
We are currently in Phase 0. Each week, we will evaluate the timing of going from Phase 0 to Phase 1, Phase 1 to Phase 2, from Phase 2 to Phase 3 and so on until we reach full opening. We have determined that if a decision must be made where there is no clear “right” or “wrong” answer, we will make the best decision we can, but will generally lean towards being more conservative in terms of the health risks we are willing to take. As such, while many parks and restaurants in Boca Raton are starting to open, we will remain closed for now.
Determining how to safely reopen two campuses with vastly different populations without undue delay is extraordinarily complicated. The risks, challenges and opportunities related to the Early Learning Center are vastly different from those we encounter when planning Shabbat Services at the Schaefer Family Campus. Our highly dedicated staff and lay leaders are doing the best job we can to adapt to this evolving landscape and make the best decisions possible for our staff, members, guests and students.
What we can promise, is that we will keep you informed of our progress as we move to safely reopen our buildings. Click here for an Executive Summary of the reopening plan.
HOW IS TEMPLE BETH EL DOING FINANCIALLY?
The Corona virus pandemic has had a severe detrimental impact on the Temple’s finances. Our operating revenues come from diverse sources, and all of them are down materially since mid-March.
We are projecting a 4th quarter (April/May/June) revenue drop of over $1 million compared to our budget plan. This revenue reduction is due to a number of factors including the closure of the Early Learning Center, lower donations and uncollectible receivables due to new financial hardships felt by many in our congregation, lost catering and facility rental revenue and the cancellation of the Beth El Bash - our only annual fundraising gala.
Our clergy, staff and teachers have taken material pay reductions in order to help get Temple Beth El through this financial crisis. Although pay cuts were initially more severe, we were able return everyone back to 90% of their normal salary through June 30, 2020 since we secured a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan from the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). Because of the precarious financial conditions, we have not made any final decisions about compensation and staffing levels beyond this fiscal year (June 30th). If economic conditions do not improve, additional cuts to salaries, benefits and/or staffing levels may be necessary.
We have implemented all possible cost-saving measures as we navigate these uncharted waters. Despite the substantial cost cuts proposed in next year’s budget, the most recent version of the 2020-2021 operating budget is showing a deficit of approximately $600,000. We have instituted a hiring freeze and have stopped paying all non-essential expenses. We are renegotiating our construction loan with Wells Fargo to take advantage of the lower interest rate environment and to modify loan terms to reduce our monthly payments. We are renegotiating all material monthly contracts for everything from copy machine leases to landscaping to trash collection. We are also postponing any contractual commitments in order to conserve cash and give us as much flexibility as possible to cancel programs without penalty next fiscal year.
We are taking all of these measures to ensure that Temple Beth El stays financially strong, and is here for our members today, tomorrow and beyond. Notwithstanding these serious challenges, we want you to know that Temple Beth El will absolutely make it through this storm. While times are very tough right now, we are here for our members, and will still be here when things improve.
We hope this answers some of your questions and concerns. We miss you all very much, and will keep you informed as we get new information. Please continue to stay safe and connected with us on Virtual Beth El, or by emailing anyone of our staff.
Update - May 1, 2020
Mini-Camp and Session One (May 26 – June 19) of the Beth El Early Learning Center Summer Adventure Camp has been cancelled. It has been determined that the risks posed by COVID-19 compromise our ability to provide an excellent camping experience, and putting the health and safety of our campers, families, and staff is our highest priority . The continued closure will also apply to our Childcare program.
Decisions regarding Sessions Two and Three and the remainder of the year for Childcare will be made at a later date.
Update - March 25, 2020
Click here for some community resources if you are in need of assistance during this time.
Religious School and Early Learning Center will operate virtually until further notice.
Update - March 19, 2020
Join us Friday, March 20, 2020 on Facebook Live
We understand that this situation may bring a lot of fear and anxiety to our community and all across the world. We are here to provide support.
If a member has a need that you don’t know how you are going to meet, contact Elinor Josephson, Director of Engagement and Programming, by calling or texting 561-320-2060.
If a member has an emergency that requires rabbinic intervention, please call 561-961-8702.
Our JFS Community Outreach Coordinator Jaclyn Tureff is available by email, phone and zoom to connect with anybody in need. Jewish Family Service (JFS) will continue to provide regular services for food pantry, financial assistance and counseling. Contact Jaclyn at 561-852-3151 or jaclynT@ralesjfs.org
Update - March 13, 2020
We will not be holding any in-person events through May 16, 2020. This means that all events, except those specifically listed under Postponements or Livestreams, are cancelled. For specific event information, please check our website calendar.
Even as we are being asked to separate physically, we want to make sure that we are connecting spiritually and communally. We will continue to update you as the situation progresses.
Our clergy are here for you as they always are, and are available to "meet" with you by phone or email. Please feel free to reach out to them: Rabbi Dan Levin, Rabbi Greg Weisman, Rabbi Jessica Mates, Cantor Lori Shapiro, and Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen.