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Summer 2021 - Together Again at KI

Knesset Israel is offering a full range of programming this summer, indoors, outdoors and online. We look forward to welcoming old friends and new faces.

Highlights this summer include:

  • In-Person services every weekend - Friday night, Saturday morning, Sunday morning, plus Tisha B'av and Selihot. Some services will be outdoors and others indoors.
  • Three Communal Shabbat Dinners, followed by Kabbalat Shabbat services - June 18, July 16, August 20. Dinner requires advance registration, and attendance is limited.
  • Annual Wildman Scholar-in-Residence Weekend with Rabbi Richard Agler, July 16-18
  • The Berkshire Jewish Film Festival - fascinating films, all online
  • Zoom Davening - Tuesday and Thursday evenings (click on calendar for ID)
  • Prepare Your Soul for the High Holy Days - classes in August facilitated by Rabbi Weiner

Safety Policies (Updated late May, 2021)

Vaccination in our community is making life safer for everyone. Following evidence-based recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and public health authorities as well as the requirements of Jewish law, most Knesset Israel congregants have been vaccinated, and we encourage everyone to follow suit.

After the CDC dramatically changed its recommendations for vaccinated people, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts rescinded nearly all pandemic restrictions, effective this Saturday, May 29. The governor cited firm evidence that vaccination protects those who have received the shots against infection by COVID-19, serious complications from COVID-19, and transmission of COVID-19 to others. At the same time, after months of restrictions meant to keep us safe, many continue to struggle with anxiety about returning to typical routines. The new policies outlined below, developed in consultation with medical and public health experts, aim to rejuvenate congregational life and to set a tone of respect for each other and our journeys.


Knesset Israel resumed typical weekend services on Saturday, May 29. We removed the extra podium, resumed ark openings and aliyot with the usual choreography, returned to walking the Torah in procession around the congregation, etc... For a few weeks, those who are not yet comfortable taking an aliyah from the bima will be permitted to do so from their seats. All gabbaim, service leaders and Torah readers are already vaccinated.

Livestreaming takes place whenever services are held in the sanctuary, but some services that do not include Torah reading will be held outdoors during the summer. For now, Zoom weekday davening (Tues & Thurs evening) is continuing.

Health Precautions

Please only attend services if you are feeling well.

Masks and Social Distancing

People who are vaccinated need not wear masks at Knesset Israel, nor maintain social distance. They may do so, however, if they so choose. People who are not yet vaccinated have a responsibility to continue to wear masks and maintain social distance. Everyone should be respectful of everyone else’s personal space, seeking consent before engaging in close speaking or giving a hug, especially if the other person is wearing a mask. Please keep in mind that children under 12 are still unvaccinated.

Capacity Limits and Seating

In general, capacity limits are lifted. However, KI has set aside the south section of the sanctuary for socially distanced seating – every other row, two empty seats between households. Additionally, the sliding doors remain open to accommodate socially distanced seating in the front of the social hall.

Kiddush & Food Service

Based on changes to the laws of the commonwealth and the CDC recommendations, we are allowed to resume kiddush in the social hall and other communal meals. However, summer presents an opportunity for us to take things more gradually and, in so doing, be more welcoming to a wider range of potential participants.

In good weather, kiddush is taking place outside, “ba’ohel.” At first, all food and drinks will be served, rather than self-service, though we anticipate this practice will relax over the course of the summer. In poor weather, kiddush will take place indoors. We look forward to shabbat dinners ba’ohel on June 18, July 16 and August 20.

Classes, Board Meetings and Other Congregational Meetings

All classes and meetings may take place in person, ba’ohel or indoors. We imagine that there will be some meetings that take place on Zoom now and again.

Unvaccinated Children

According to the current guidelines, unvaccinated children do not pose a risk to vaccinated adults. Indoors all unvaccinated people will be required to wear a mask and observe social distancing. Outdoors they must maintain 3’ of social distance or wear a mask. Implications for family programs hosted on the KI grounds will be discussed with organizers and participants. Once the shots are available to children, KI will encourage vaccination.

Wed, August 4 2021 26 Av 5781