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.

CONGREGATIONAL COMMITMENT

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 ejosephson@tbeboca.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 dhurwitch@tbeboca.org 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.

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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?

  • The Beth El Mausoleum will reopen for visitation beginning on June 1, 2020.  Special sanitization protocols and social distancing will be observed.  Visitors to the Mausoleum must wear a face covering. If you are not feeling well or have flu-like symptoms, please postpone your visit until you have been cleared by a medical professional. If you would like more specific guidelines, please contact our Mausoleum Director, Mike Sirowitz at msirowitz@tbeboca.org.
  • The Early Learning Center (ELC) and Religious School remain closed for in-person learning.  
  • ELC Summer Camp Session #2 (June 22 to July 10) is cancelled. No decisions have been made yet regarding Session #3 (July 13 to July 31).
  • There will be no in-person services or programs at the Temple during Phase 1. The only exceptions are very limited life-cycle events such as funerals or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs conducted for the immediate family only. Please contact the Clergy office if you have questions about life-cycle events during this phase of operations. All programs and worship services will continue in Virtual Beth El.
  • Most of our staff will continue to work from home. They may return to work on a limited basis with specific safety protocols as directed by their supervisor, and as more fully described in the Temple’s Reopening Plan.
  • There will be 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.

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.

Click here for an Executive Summary of the reopening plan.

 


Update - May 20, 2020

To our Temple Beth El Family and Community,

Being there.

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.

  • We began procuring masks and sanitizer stations, and created enhanced disinfecting protocols.
  • We established a Covid-19 Task Force, drawing on the wisdom of select senior staff, lay leaders and congregants who have expertise in medicine, epidemiology and school administration to guide our decisions.
  • We set to work creating “Virtual Beth El” – an abundance of online programming, preschool and religious school, Shabbat services, clergy chats and even lifecycle events – we have done everything from brises to funerals via Zoom.
  • We began ongoing phone calls to every member of our congregation, reaching out to those in need of a friendly chat, those who needed help learning technology so they could be with us virtually, and to those with more serious needs of food insecurity, financial instability or mental health concerns.

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. 

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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

  • For the health and safety of our staff and clergy we have adopted a “work from home” platform until further notice. We may not be in the buildings, but we are still 100% accessible to you via phone and email! Our main phone line 561-391-8900 is still operational and will direct you to the department you need to reach. We are  picking up phone messages and returning calls several times a day. Here is our complete email list: tbeboca.org/staff

 

  • Following the Palm Beach County School District, the Beth El Early Learning Center and Temple Beth El Religious School classes will be closed in our buildings through April 15. There will be many opportunities for our children to continue learning and our families to stay connected in the coming weeks, including Zoom classes and virtual meet-ups, Facebook Live storytelling and sing-alongs.

 

  • To ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community, the Beth El Mausoleum is closed for visitation until further notice. Of course, funerals and entombments will proceed as necessary. If you have an end of life emergency, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will always be available to help you in your time of need. Please contact Mike Sirowitz, Mausoleum Director at msirowitz@tbeboca.org or 561-391-8901.

 

  • Temple Beth El members, please check your email this Sunday when you will receive account set-up and login information for ShulCloud, our new membership account management system. This is important, since beginning April 1, you can review your account information online and ALL monthly billing will be sent by email.

 

  • Check your email this Monday as we launch “Virtual Beth El”, a variety of spiritual, educational, and community-building opportunities to keep our congregation connected even though we must stay physically separated.

 

We Are Here to Help
 
  • If a member has a need that you don’t know how you are going to meet, email Elinor Josephson, Director of Engagement and Programming, or call or text 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
  

As this is a changing situation, we will continue to evaluate and keep you informed of any updates on this page as well as on our social media, through phone calls and text messages.

 

 

Update - March 16, 2020

Following the CDC guidelines that all gatherings of at least 50 people should be cancelled for the next 8 weeks, we will not be holding any in-person events through at least May 16, 2020.
 
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  Brock, and Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen.
 
The following events will be livestreamed on our website:
  • Shabbat Evening Services - Friday evenings at 7:30 pm
  • Shabbat Morning Torah Study - Saturday mornings at 9:30 am
  • Lunch and Learn - Tuesdays at 12:00 pm
  • Pathways Through the Prayerbook with Rabbi Dan Levin - Thursday, March 19 at 10:00 am

 

 

Early Learning Center

Join us Friday, March 20, 2020  on Facebook Live

  • 11:15 am - Early Learning Center Song Session with Cantorial Soloist Michelle Auslander Cohen
  • 11:30 am - Tot Shabbat with Rabbi Greg Weisman and Cantor Lori Brock
  • 6:00 pm - Shabbat Blessings with Rabbi Greg Weisman

We Are Here to Help

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

As a valued member of our community, your welfare and safety are our top priority. Temple Beth El is following CDC recommendations regarding large gatherings and social distancing and the input of our Temple’s Covid-19 Task Force and Board of Trustees. We will be cancelling, postponing or livestreaming all of our temple programs and events through May 16,  2020.
 
As this is a changing situation, we will continue to evaluate and keep you informed of any updates. Please check this page and social media, as well as your phone and text message for important information.
 
Note: This list will be updated periodically and is subject to change.
 
 

EARLY LEARNING CENTER

Following Palm Beach County School District the Early Learning Center will be closed from March 16 to April 15, 2020.  
 
 

RELIGIOUS SCHOOL

Religious School is following Palm Beach County School District regarding cancellations. The following events and classes are cancelled:
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – Religious School at the Beck Family Campus
  • Weekend of March 26, 2020 – 8th Grade Retreat to Give Kids the World in Orlando
We will update you with any further cancellations.
 

LIVESTREAMS

The following events will be livestreamed:
  • Shabbat Evening Services - Friday evenings at 7:30 pm
  • Shabbat Morning Torah Study - Saturday mornings at 9:30 am
  • Lunch and Learn - Tuesdays at 12:00 pm

 

POSTPONEMENTS

The following events are postponed until Fall 2020:
  • Beth El Bash - April 4, 2020
  • An Evening with Bari Weiss - May 7, 2020
  • 11th Annual Project Nuremberg Lawyer's Luncheon - May 8, 2020

 

CANCELLATIONS

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.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

  • All committee meetings through at least May 16, 2020 will be held via conference call or Zoom, or cancelled at the discretion of the committee chairperson. 
  • Both campus's administrative offices will remain open until further notice.
  • Beth El Mausoleum will remain open for visitation.

 

 

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.