COVID is still a reality, but there is reason to be optimistic. Even with the delta variant spike, the CDC and local health organizations advise that there are still ways to meet in-person and still do it safely. That will be our goal.
Instead of Social Distancing we will be socially smart and safe. Those who are vaccinated will be allowed to take off their masks. We will continue to meet outside. Will continue to limit the size of gatherings, provide sanitizers, etc., but we will acknowledge the mental health necessities of being socially close, even if we need to be physically distant. This is a time of need. People are at risk physically, emotionally and intellectually. Students are feeling depressed and disconnected. Chabad is here to care, to connect, and to encourage responsibility. We are committed to giving our students the warm and loving embrace they so desperately need.
We’re here and we care.
- Chabad House will follow all safety recommendations and protocols offered by New York State, SUNY, SUNY New Paltz, and the CDC. The staff at Chabad will monitor these recommendations daily and adjust accordingly.
- We will continue to hold outdoor events whenever possible.
- All of Chabad’s in-person events and activities will be by reservation only. This will allow us to limit the number of attendees, and to know who was at which event, in case we need to contact them later.
- Everyone who isn’t vaccinated will be required to wear a face mask at all events, except for while eating. Extra face masks and hand sanitizers will be available at every event.
- A thorough cleaning will be done by trained workers before and after each event, using disinfectant on restrooms, tables, chairs, sinks and faucets, handrails, doorknobs/handles, light switches, and any other hi-touch surfaces.
- Use of Restrooms will be limited to one person at a time, disinfecting wipes will be provided.
- Disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers and masks will be available at all events.
All classes and Torah Study Session (ie. Sinai Scholars, Women’s Lunch n’ Learn, etc.) will be outdoors until further notice..
Shabbat is an experience that you must have in person if at all possible. It’s a time to reconnect and to draw comfort and inspiration from each other.
Dinner is by reservation only and limited to 30 student max.
Shabbat 2 Go
We will be offering Shabbat 2 Go kits for students who would feel more comfortable doing shabbat in their own space, either alone or with their roommates or college pod. These kits will include Shabbat candles (electric for dorms, real for off campus), grape juice, challah, and a prepackaged Shabbat dinner. There will also be a guide included of how to run a Shabbat dinner and inspirational thoughts to make it a meaningful experience.
All food will be prepared with CDC guidelines. Packages will be available for pickup in a socially distanced manner and masks will be required.
ROSH HASHANAH EVE: A Dinner on the first night following all the same setup as Shabbat: On campus in one of the big rooms in the SUB | RSVP required | Limited to the university’s temporary occupancy limit for the particular room | Second Shift if needed.
ROSH HASHANAH DAY SERVICES: Complete service on campus in one of the big rooms in the SUB | RSVP required | Limited to the university’s temporary occupancy limit for the particular room | Seats will be setup 6 feet apart. | Participants must wear masks whenever they are not seated in their place.
ROSH HASHANAH AFTERNOON: We will host a large Tashlich service outdoors at the gunk in front of the Student Union, including Shofar blowing and pre-packaged honey cake and honey sticks.
ROSH HASHANAH DAY #2: Complete service with a limited number of people by reservation only, in the tent at Chabad.
YOM KIPPUR: Complete service with a limited number of people by reservation only, in the tent, with masks and social distancing. If needed, we will do a second shift for Kol Nidrei and Neilah.
Counseling / Student Support
The Chabad House is still open for any student to drop in at any time. This is your home. You are always welcome here. If possible, Rabbi, Rebbetzin, and any students stopping in will wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. When virtual hugs will suffice, we’ll stick with that.
Our go-to informal way to check in with students and get to know them better was “going to coffee”. While that may work and be safe under certain circumstances, a better option during covid may be “Take a walk with Rabbi or Rebbetzin”. A 15-minute walk with 6 feet between you can be a great opportunity to “Catch Up” and reconnect win a personal but safe and healthy way.
We will G-D willing be having a table on campus once a week in the campus designated area. We will be following the university’s guidelines as to safe practices. This will be a great time for us to meet new students and reconnect with students we already know. It will also be an opportunity for students to let us know what they need and how we can help them have a successful semester both spiritually and physically.
We recognize the need and hunger to get back to a sense of actual community, as wonderful as the digital connection is. But of course, it needs to be done responsibly.
Other In-Person Social Events:
Every event hosted will keep these core rules of only up to 35 students, masks, social distancing when possible.
Online Social Events
Additionally, there will be new and innovative online social events on a regular basis.
A Mitzvah a week with crafts, lessons, and chances to accomplish the Mitzvah on their own.
Overall, good to keep in mind: THIS TOO SHALL PASS! But in the meantime, let’s get through this together in the best way possible. The ability of Chabad House to provide programming in a time like this is dependent on everyone’s cooperation and a need to be adaptive and flexible (and creative!) as needed during this uncertain and unusual period.