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COVID-19 Updates

Read our October 15, 2021 Reopening Update Here 

Judea Reform Congregation
Building Reopening Plan Executive Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the world, the United States, and North Carolina. Sadly, we now know that participating indoors in a religious service is one of the most dangerous activities in which people can engage. To maintain the safety of Judea Reform Congregation’s congregants, staff, visitors and vendors, synagogue leadership shut down our buildings in March, 2020 and moved services, education, and business operations on-line.

In November, 2020, the President of Judea Reform Congregation formed the Reopening Task Force to prepare a plan for reopening the synagogue safely. This plan is summarized below.

Reopening phases

Judea Reform Congregation will reopen in four phases:

Phase 1: Building Shutdown
At the time of writing, Judea Reform Congregation is in this phase. All services, educational activities, and business operations are on-line with few exceptions. There will be limited outdoor gatherings in Phase 1.
Phase 2: Initial Building Reopening
In this phase, we will resume some activities inside, with strict limits on the number of participants and strict requirements for behavior. Above all, everyone entering the building will be required to wear an adequate mask at all times and to fill out a health questionnaire. Congregants who wish to participate on-line will be able to do so. There will be an increase in limited outdoor gatherings in Phase 2.
Phase 3: Partial Building Reopening
In this phase, we will continue to relax limitations on activities inside, while continuing to control the number of participants and behavior. All people entering the building will continue to be required to wear an adequate mask at all times and to fill out a health questionnaire. Congregants who wish to participate on-line will be able to do so.
Phase 4: Full Building Reopening
In this phase, we will resume all activities in-doors with virtually no restrictions in place.


Synagogue leadership will decide when to move to a new reopening phase—or to return to an older one—based on science-based metrics summarized here. Those metrics include

● New cases/100,000 people/day. This measures community spread
● PCR test positivity ,which provides a backstop when an outbreak overwhelms testing capacity.

The counties that we measure are those in which the majority of our congregants live and work: Durham, Chapel Hill, Wake, Alamance and Chatham.

If the two indicators suggest that Judea Reform Congregation should be in two different phases, leadership should choose to remain (or return) to the more restrictive phase.

The table below summarizes the metrics:

Move to this phase when metrics are: New cases/100,000 people/day PCR test positivity
1. Shutdown 11 or more 7% or more
2. Initial reopening < 11 and ≥ 3 < 7% and ≥5%
3. Partial reopening < 3 and ≥ 1 < 5% and ≥ 3%
4. Full reopening < 1 < 3%


In addition to these two primary metrics, leadership will consider the preparedness of the synagogue's buildings for reopening.


Administering this plan will require additional work. In particular, each event at Judea Reform Congregation and Judea Reform Cemetery will require an Event Safety Officer. These ESOs will be trained volunteers.

In addition to the Event Safety Officers, the plan calls for the Building Manager to serve as the Principal COVID Safety Officer. The PCSO will have lead responsibility for implementing the plan and for notifying the Reopening Task Force of the need to update it.

The decision to move from one phase in the plan to another will be made by the President, Rabbi, and Executive Director. Prior to doing so, they will consult with the Health Advisory Task Force, which the President created at the start of the pandemic to advise on closing the synagogue.

Our reopening crystal ball is pointing to sometime in late spring/early summer when we can start to worship together indoors, in small numbers. We will continue to communicate as things evolve in real time, so much is changing quickly. We will let you know of small outdoor opportunities to gather as we create them.



More COVID-19 Information


Here is the information about vaccine eligibility from the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services:

NC COVID-19 Vaccine Information Center: 888-675-4567


During this pandemic, our virtual Beit K’nesset/Sanctuary “lives” interactively on Facebook Live and our website. Our worship takes place virtually (Fridays at 6pm) here on our website, through Zoom (link provided here when applicable), or you may also join us on Facebook.  By centralizing our Shabbat worship experience on Friday evenings our community has discovered and felt the power of being all together, as one praying community, countering the reality of physical distancing.


Torah Study is held online on Saturdays at 9:00am here on our website, through Zoom or you may also join us on Facebook. Our weekly enotices will provide details on who is leading Torah Study each week. Many thanks for the support of the Daniel Weiss Fund for making this live streaming possible. Questions about Torah Study? Please contact our Director of Congregational Learning, Rena Fraade.



Our Religious School is currently virtual, with exciting and intentional synchronous learning on Sunday mornings, tailored to each grade level. We will foster an enduring and impactful connection to Judaism and will enliven what it means to “live Judaism” with a transformative Racial Justice curriculum, relevant to our times and Jewish values. Questions about Religious School? Please email our Director of Congregational Learning, Rena Fraade. 


As a safety measure, yahrzeit observance letters will arrive in your email inbox and will no longer be sent by paper mail/USPS. In addition, we are listing the  coming week's yahrzeits in our eNotices (at the bottom). We will maintain our custom of saying the names of those whose yahrzeits we are honoring before Kaddish at our virtual Shabbat Services on Fridays at 6:00pm.  Questions about yahrzeit observance? Please email Julie Fishkin, Life Cycle & Pastoral Care Coordinator.


If you would like to add the name of a loved one (or remove a name) to the Judea Reform healing list, please email Julie Fishkin, Life Cycle & Pastoral Care Coordinator.


 At this time and for the near future, all worship and lifecycle events will be virtual. For more information about how we are handling b'nei mitzvah, weddings, baby namings, and  special blessings please contact Julie Fishkin. For information on funerals,  death processes, shivas, burials, during this time please visit our Life Cycle webpage or contact Julie Fishkin


We will make available teleconferencing technology (Zoom) to gather virtually for  Committee Meetings. Check our virtual calendar for scheduled meetings. To contact a Committee Chairs or for more information contact the Executive Director, Emily Young.


If you are planning to make a payment on your account, please consider doing so via online credit card payment. Doing so minimizes the need for our staff to be handling mail and making trips to the bank. If you need help accessing the online payment option in ShulCloud, please don't hesitate to contact Business Manager, Liz Gibbons by email or or 919-489-7062, ext 225.


Judea Reform’s building is closed to the public starting March 13, 2020. We do not expect to be back in our building before the end of DecemberOur staff are working remotely to run the functions of the synagogues in this new environment, implement remote communication technology, and determine further next steps for the safety and health of all within our community. Please demonstrate patience and appreciation for our professional team. All are available by email.


If you are feeling socially isolated because of the COVID-19 quarantine but are not yet familiar or comfortable using Judea’s virtual tools, we would like to help you.  Please send an email to and a human will get in touch with you.

We also have a list of resources available for you learn on your own:





On Three Things

Rabbi Soffer's message about Shabbat as worship services are canceled across the nation because of COVID-19,
broadcast on Channel 11 ABC, before Shabbat, March 20, 2020.

A Message to Health Care Workers during COVID-19 from Rabbi Soffer



Thu, October 28 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782