Message from the Rabbi Regarding Events in March 2020

Dear Kol Ami Family,

I know you all share my concern regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 health crisis facing our country and our world.  My primary consideration is the Jewish value of Pikuach Nefesh – the sanctity of human life.

I have been in discussion with our wonderful and tirelessly devoted lay leadership.  Our president, Ellen Karp, and our Worship Committee Chair, Ray Berger, along with our entire Board and Worship Committee deserve our gratitude for their on-going work to keep our community connected during this very difficult time.

I have also participated in a conference call with all of the congregation rabbis in greater Kansas City (and Topeka), and Dr. Helene Lotman, the executive director of Jewish Federation.  On that call we reached a consensus regarding worship and other synagogue activities.

With all that in mind I am announcing the following:

  1. From Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31 (and possibly beyond) there will be no events held face-to-face.  For Kol Ami this would mean we would not hold study and worship in person on Saturday, March 21.  Jewish meditation and our book club for this month will not be meeting in person. We would also not hold our congregational meeting in person on Sunday, March 29.
  2. With regret we are cancelling our Kol Ami Passover Seder that was scheduled for Thursday evening, April 9.  We thank Lara, Seder Committee Chair, along with Edie and Ari as committee members for all that work they have put in to plan this wonderful event; an annual highlight on our Kol Ami calendar. Although the date falls beyond the present cancellation range, the event requires too much planning in advance for something that may yet be cancelled or to scramble on short notice.
  3. We will be exploring the possibility of using technology for live video broadcasts (Zoom or similar technology) for events that cannot be held in person.  We will have more information on that (particularly in regard to Shabbat study and worship on Saturday, March 21, worship on Friday, April 3 and the congregational meeting on Sunday, March 29) as it becomes available.  Likewise for a second night Passover Seder on Thursday evening, April 9.

If you are within a vulnerable population (elderly, other health issues, showing symptoms such as fever/respiratory issues) please stay home.

I am aware and concerned that the steps taken to protect everyone’s health also have the impact of isolating us from each other.  Please do not hesitate to contact me to talk and connect.  I will also try and reach out to those who cannot get out.

I pray for the health of our synagogue community, our city and our world.  I particularly pray for those who due to poverty will have a particularly difficult time with the restrictions at hand.

Be safe and well, and please support each other.

Rabbi Doug

Rabbi Doug Alpert
Congregation Kol Ami-KC