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We, like you, are closely following the developments and evolving guidance around COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus. Most recently, both Governor Baker and Mayor Tyer declared a State of Emergency for Massachusetts and Pittsfield, respectively.

With heavy hearts, we share with you that at our Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday night, we voted unanimously to cancel all upcoming events scheduled at Temple Anshe Amunim, effective immediately. This closure is in effect until March 31, at which time Temple leadership will reassess the current local, state, and national situation. This includes our Purim events and Shabbat services scheduled for this Friday; all upcoming Shabbat services; Torah study; education and classes; religious school; committee meetings; and regular office hours.

The Mass Department of Public Health and local health officials are recommending all non-essential public gatherings be postponed or canceled. In reflecting both our Jewish values and civic responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us, we have chosen to follow that recommendation, to do our part to curb the spread of this virus through our community. 

Please review the following details for ways to remain connected and receive support from TAA at this challenging time. We will continue to be in regular communication with you by email and phone, and we will be able to make many of our worship and educational experiences accessible through an online platform. If you would like to join us for Shabbat services or Torah study and you did not receive an email with a link to join, please contact the temple office at 

Friday Night Shabbat Worship
Join us for a virtual Shabbat tonight at 5:30 PM. We will be using Zoom, an online virtual meeting space, which allows all of us to connect by video chat or by phone. We will have the chance to say hello to each other, to share blessings, and to welcome Shabbat as a community, as we do each and every week at this time. 

If you have not used Zoom before, you can download the app onto any of your devices (phone, iPad, laptop) by visiting  

If you do not have a siddur (prayerbook) at home one can be found at this link;

We’ll have an opportunity to teach and train you on using the Zoom software in the coming weeks for those who are less familiar with this kind of technology.

Saturday Morning Virtual Torah Study
Rabbi Liz will be leading us in Torah study online on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM. While we won’t be able to gather for bagels in the library, we’ll continue our study of the book of Joshua - all are welcome. A PDF scan of the materials you will need for this discussion can be downloaded by clicking here. 
March 14 Torah materials.

Office Hours
The TAA staff will be working from home for at least the next two weeks. During that time, we are available by phone or by email. We will be checking our voicemail messages regularly, and you can also reach Rabbi Liz directly by calling the synagogue and following the prompts on her voicemail message. Please do not hesitate to reach out. 

While the building is closed, we will have it deep cleaned and disinfected. 

All in-person meetings, classes, and other activities are cancelled for the next two weeks. We encourage all meetings that can move online to do so. Please reach out to our staff to help set up those virtual meetings. 

Caring Committee
We know that there may be members of our community who are impacted by coronavirus, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

If you are in need of support, please reach out to your Temple family, and our Rabbi and caring committee will support you and connect you with resources as best we can. Out of an abundance of caution for your health and safety, Rabbi Liz will not be making in-person pastoral visits to your home, the hospital, or nursing/assisted living facilities. However, she will most certainly be available by email and phone.

Additionally, if you are able and willing to help others during this time, please join our caring committee listserv by contacting Diane at

Finally, we are so grateful to the healthcare professionals, local and state officials, and all those who are working diligently to safeguard our public health.

What’s Next?
Our Management Team will meet on a regular basis to continue to assess the situation and determine when we can return to normal activities, following the best guidance of our national, state, and city leaders as well as public health officials.

In the Talmud, a source of Jewish wisdom and tradition, we learn: “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba’zeh” — We are all responsible for each other. While many of us may never experience the direct impacts of this virus, it is our responsibility to care for all members of our Temple family and our community at large.

We can live our Jewish values by taking care of ourselves and one another. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, and do not suffer alone, either from anxiety or in physical illness. We are here for you.


Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch
Joshua M. Cutler, President

Wed, May 27 2020 4 Sivan 5780