Convention Health Policy
As we prepare to gather for B’Yachad: Reconstructing Judaism Together in March 2022, we recognize that in these uncertain times, our shared values guide us and provide a framework for our planning. To promote inclusiveness and enable the greatest number of community members to participate, we are planning a multi-access Convention. For those of us who will come together in person in Tysons Corner, we are doing all we can to insure everyone’s health and safety.
As Reconstructionists, we stand up for ourselves and our friends, colleagues and fellow community members. We take responsibility for our actions and understand the part each of us plays in creating a joyful and welcoming community. Before the Convention, we’ll ask everyone participating in the Convention in-person to sign a pledge that binds us together for this shared purpose, and a commitment to keep one another healthy and safe.
We have convened an incredibly talented, experienced, and insightful group of experts to help guide us. The Task Force includes an epidemiologist, a family practice physician with a strong interest in public health, an infectious disease physician who now serves as a healthcare consultant, a synagogue Executive Director, and our meeting planning consultant, along with staff and lay leaders. This COVID-19 Task Force is bringing the best science, medicine, and community practice to bear as we plan for the Convention.
In all our planning, we’re keeping two things in mind: the need to keep our Convention attendees healthy and safe… and the need to connect them with each other. We’re working hard to make sure all Convention activities, including services and plenaries, still have the energy, ruakh (spirit), and sense of community that are central to the Reconstructing Judaism Convention experience.
In order to promote onsite health and safety, our Task Force is currently recommending the following steps as of September 26, 2021:
• All community members planning to attend the Convention in person, including children, must submit proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. (We recognize that not all children may be eligible to receive this vaccination before Convention; unfortunately, with an eye towards the physical health of our Convention community, those children will be unable to attend the program in person.) You will be able to upload a copy of your vaccination record when you register.
• Attendees may be required to wear masks at certain indoor events.
The science and community health recommendations around COVID continue to evolve quickly. Even as we’re putting plans in place for how things will run during our four days together, we recognize that the trajectory of the pandemic is ever-changing and, as such, we know things will continue to shift and change. We will be monitoring the situation and updating our plans accordingly. We know that communication is key, and we promise to keep community members posted as things progress.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions you have along the way; we can’t wait to hear from you and to have your participation in the Convention. Please reach out to Jacob Weinberg at JWeinberg@ReconstructingJudaism.org with any questions.
For those attending the Reconstructing Judaism Convention during Shabbat, please review the following information:
Shabbat is that day of the week when we are invited to look up from the day-to-day world and connect to the world around us and be in sacred community. Shabbat at Convention is a wonderful time to appreciate the beauty and spirituality of being part of a large Reconstructionist community. Our Shabbat celebration will be filled with prayer, study, singing, dancing and many other shared experiences. Because we're Reconstructionists, we don't "mandate" how each person celebrates Shabbat. However, this Shabbat, we invite you to disconnect from the day-to-day world-- especially from email and social media-- and fully experience Shabbat with your extended Reconstructionist community.
We invite you to turn off your phones for all of Shabbat. If that is not possible, please make sure that your phones are turned off at services, meals and programs during Shabbat. We will begin and end Shabbat together as a kehillah (group) and celebrate with large and small group programming during all 25 hours of Shabbat.
While you are, of course, free to make your own decisions about using money on Shabbat, we have made sure that all Shabbat meals are provided for you as part of registration. Our vendor area will be closed on Shabbat.
Formal Shabbat programs will be professionally recorded and/or livestreamed. There will also be unobtrusive, respectful professional photography to preserve some Convention Shabbat moments. If you would prefer not to be in public photographs, you will have the opportunity to decline being a part of the published photographs. Given that we have professional videographers and photographers preserving the memories of this event for us, we ask that you not use your own cell phone cameras, particularly in our larger gatherings, over Shabbat. As always, we remind you to ask permission before photographing any individual.