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B'nai Torah Congregation considers return to virtual events ahead of high holidays

COVID-19 cases causes congregation to reconsider in person events
B’nai Torah Congregation
Posted at 10:14 AM, Jul 29, 2021

BOCA RATON, Fla. — For Rose Anne Sopher, B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton is like a second home.

"Besides coming to services, there are lectures, concerts and speakers," she said. "I got involved in Women's League right away."

The COVID-19 pandemic changed her routine.

"It was lonely being stuck at home," Sopher said.

B'nai Torah began offering virtual services and, for the 60-something, it made the difference.

"You miss that in person connection and interaction, but actually we got to know people on Zoom," she said. "We met often through Women's League. We continued book club."

Then the COVID-19 vaccination made it possible for in person services.

"And then we were like, 'Oh, I think I know you from Zoom,'" Sopher recalled.

She said just as she started to feel like the Zoom days were behind her, she's met with more discouraging news.

"The numbers are scary," Sopher said.

It leaves Rabbi David Steinhardt with a difficult decision ahead of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

"We are going back to that place where people have to be masked," he said. "We are going to ask people to respect social distancing again in ways that they weren't doing before."

Steinhardt said they have about 1,400 multi-generational families at the synagogue. He said going back to a virtual model could impact them financially, but he's optimistic congregants will continue to show support.

"At this point, we are hoping we will be open," Steinhardt said. "What the protocols are have yet to be determined. We will see, depending on the virus."

B'nai Torah Congregation is currently running a membership drive, inviting new and existing members to join and renew.

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