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Update from Friday, March 27

Web address: https://lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs

Information about COVID-19 Testing
At this time, testing is limited in Los Angeles. We are working to expand testing as quickly as possible to provide this service to all Angelenos who need it.

For the moment, these tests are strictly limited to residents of Los Angeles who are in the most high-risk categories and most vulnerable.

Individuals eligible for testing at this time include:
  • Those with symptoms who are 65 and older
  • Those with symptoms who have underlying chronic health conditions
  • Those who are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period due to a confirmed COVID-19 exposure (with more than 7 days of quarantine remaining)
For more questions about testing, please visit our FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions.
 
Find out if you're eligible for a test
https://lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
What should I do if I'm experiencing severe symptoms?
If you or a family member are experiencing severe symptoms, please call your doctor. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.

At this time, testing in L.A. is limited to the most vulnerable Angelenos. Am I eligible for testing?
Residents of Los Angeles in the highest-risk categories are eligible for testing now. This includes: Angelenos with COVID-19 symptoms who are:
  • 65 and older; or
  • Have underlying health conditions including:
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Moderate to severe asthma; and,
  • People who are immunocompromised, including as a result of cancer treatment
Angelenos are also eligible for testing if they are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period because they have been exposed to an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have more than 7 days of the 2-week quarantine period remaining.

Can I schedule an appointment if I am not a resident of the City of Los Angeles?
No. Testing is available only for residents of the City of L.A. who meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I check availability to sign up for a test?
To confirm eligibility and search testing appointment availability, go to coronavirus.LACity.org and click on the "Information on Testing" link in the yellow box at the top of the page.

If I make an appointment, when and where is testing being done?
There are currently four drive-through testing sites operating in the City of Los Angeles. When you book your appointment, you will receive a confirmation with the date, time, and location of your appointment, as well as other details.

What do I do if all of the appointments are full?
We are working to continue to add more testing capacity. Please check back to see when additional testing appointments have become available.

How far in advance can I schedule a test appointment?
Test appointments are available for the following day only.

What if there are no appointments available?
Please check back, as appointments will be made available each day for the following day.

How do I cancel my appointment?
You do not need to do anything to cancel your testing appointment. If you do not show up, the test will be reallocated to another Angeleno.

When do I need to arrive for my appointment?
Please arrive at the scheduled time listed on your confirmation email.

How long will the test take?
The test will take about five minutes, though you may have to wait until a medical professional is available.

Do I have to get out of my car?
No. The tests are drive-thru and can be done while you remain in the vehicle.

How much does the test cost?
The test is free of charge.

How quickly will I get my results?
Results are available between 24 to 36 hours after the test.

Can I have other people in my car when I arrive for testing?
Yes, but please do not expose others if you suspect you are ill. Only those with confirmed appointments will be tested.

What should I do if I do not have access to a vehicle?
At this time, testing is available via drive up only for appointments only. No walk-ups will be accepted, even those with confirmed appointments. 
 

Update from Friday, March 20

Dear Kol Ami Community,

As you have likely already heard or seen on the news, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order yesterday directing all individuals and non-essential businesses to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19.) Accordingly, we have temporarily closed our building. We want to remind you, however, that Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken, along with our staff, remain here for you. We will be continuing to work, respond to phone calls and emails, and take meetings over the phone, or using Zoom or FaceTime to chat by video. Even in this time of physical distancing, we remain committed to staying #KolAmiStrong, and maintaining our community of caring and support for one another.

Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken will still be streaming Shabbat services tonight, March 20 at 6:30 PM PDT. You can join us on FB Live by visiting our page here. For those who do not use Facebook, you should still be able to view the livestream by visiting the homepage of our website, Kol-Ami.org - we have embedded the Facebook feed there for ease of access. Thanks to our leadership at the CCAR, you can find a copy of our prayerbook, Mishkan Tefillah here as a Free online flipbookor you can purchase a discounted Kindle ebook. We will still be recalling the names of those in our community who are in need of healing, as well as reciting Kaddish for those who are in a period of mourning or commemorating a yahrzeit.

Our monthly Torah Stories class will still take place tomorrow, Saturday March 21 starting at 10:00 AM using Zoom click here to join at that time!  For any who have never used Zoom, you can download the video client for free by clicking here

Our monthly HIV+ support group will also still take place tomorrow, Saturday March 21 starting at 12:15 PM using Zoom. As usual, you can RSVP confidentially to Rabbi Eger by email to rabbi@kol-ami.org, and she will send you the link to log in.

Also on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 PM pacific, you can also join Rabbi Eger and the Human Rights Campaign, along with other interfaith LGBTQ leaders for a Virtual Interfaith Service. You can click here to join by Zoom. The “Coming Home to Faith” national faith tour explores and strengthens the relationship between LGBTQ and faith communities across the United States. Engaging in this conversation and looking for ways to come together is especially important during this election year, and doing so remotely is key in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Speakers will include HRC President Alphonso David, Senior Minister Carmarion Anderson, HRC; The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Ret. Bishop, Gene Robinson, Episcopal Church, DC; Rabbi Denise Eger, Reform Judaism, LA; Rev. Michelle Higgins, Movement for Black Lives, MO; Pastor Josh Scott, GracePointe Church, Nashville, TN; Imam Abdullah Antepli, Duke University, NC; and J.J. Warren, Candidate for Ordination. You can click here to join by Zoom on Saturday at 3:30 PM Pacific.

As we announced in Wednesday's eKoleinu, we are also participating with synagogues throughout LA to build a consortium of online resources called Jew It At Home. This diverse collection of resources and experiences includes support, learning, yoga, music, and so much more for our community members of all ages. You can read more on our website here.  

Additionally, we are working with our board and the members of our community who are at lower risk to help create a corps of volunteers to support those at higher risk in the coming days with technology, groceries, and moral support. You can let us know by email to staff@kol-ami.org or by calling the office at (323) 606-0996. If you would like to offer your help, you can sign up to do so here.  

We know that many of you may be worried or anxious at this time, and so most importantly, we want you to know that we are here to offer our support and our prayers, even while we may not be able to offer our physical presence.
May we move into this Shabbat with resilience and with hope. We pray for a complete healing for all who are ill, and we pray that all of our medical professionals and our leaders remain strong as they care for the people of our nation and our world.

May the angels of Shabbat bring you blessings, love, and peace. 

Shabbat Shalom!

eKoleinu Letter From March 18, 2020

Dear Kol Ami Community,

We want to share some exciting news and update you on all the ways we can stay connected during this time of social distancing.
 
You will find lots of upcoming opportunities to connect with your fellow temple members and friends, including new online offerings like JEWITATHOME and our online Book Club and Havdalah.
 
Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken have been reaching out systematically to our temple members, including our most vulnerable congregants, to assess needs. We are gathering volunteers who will be able to shop and/or help with technology for those who are unable to do so, or may need technological support to stay connected with others. Do you need help getting on Zoom, our online platform? Can you volunteer to pick up prescriptions or groceries for someone who must self-quarantine? Do you have a skill to teach or class to share that you would be willing to offer to fellow congregants? Please let Rabbi Eger know so we can help those who need it most.
  
We have transitioned to all meetings, services, programs and classes online for the time being. This means that our Second Night Passover Seder will not take place in person. Anyone who had already paid for a ticket already will be refunded, but Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken will still conduct an ONLINE Seder on the second night of Passover, Thursday April 9 at 6:00 PM with Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken. Please register here today!
 
Both Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Chaiken are available by phone, or online, for one-to-one appointments, but will not be setting appointments in person at this time. 
We hope you'll join us for our Shabbat services this Friday, March 20 at 6:30 PM online, either by visiting our Facebook page or the Livestream feed on our website. Saturday morning you can join Rabbi Eger for our monthly Torah Stories class on Zoom (Meeting ID 258 227 901). More information follows below about other activities, and about our newest way to connect - JEWITATHOME - a project by a consortium of Reform congregations across Los Angeles, making online programming available to all of us!
 
Please remember you can reach out to us just as we will continue to reach out to you!  We hope you will send an extra gift of gratitude to our temple at this time, to support us as we retool our program, and continue to be present in these difficult hours.

Covid-19 Update

We sent this message to the congregation this afternoon, Friday, March 13, 2020:
Dear Kol Ami Community,

We are living in unprecedented times with the rapid spread of the Coronavirus in our country and our city. I know many of you are scared and feel particularly vulnerable. We are here for you. Our building is still open at this time. 

We will gather for Shabbat worship tonight, March 13 at 8:00 PM and tomorrow morning, March 14 at 10:00 AM.  You can join us in person at the temple or through the live stream at either service by clicking here or on FB Live by clicking here .

You can find a copy of our prayerbook here as a Free online flipbook or  you can purchase a discounted Kindle ebook

We have postponed this Saturday’s Open Yad Bowling night until a later date, however, they will do Havdalah by Zoom, a digital video conferencing platform. Religious school at Temple Emanuel is on hiatus until March 22. Next week’s Torah stories and HIV+ group will also not meet in person, but virtually, online.

We are canceling next Friday night’s (March 20) Shabbat dinner and postponing our speaker, Rabbi Laura Geller. 

Beginning with next Friday night’s Shabbat service, Friday March 20, we will not meet for worship in person until further notice. Rabbi Chaiken and I will be leading virtual tefilah on line at 6:30 PM as scheduled. Here are the links again: Live Stream or FB Live.

Where possible, Rabbi Chaiken and I will be utilizing technology, phone, Zoom, and FaceTime for appointments.  

Our primary goal in our decision-making has been to fulfill our mission as a sacred community. We want to protect our physical health as much as possible, but not at the expense of our spiritual health. Our hope is to balance the need to protect ourselves from COVID-19—with special attention to the most vulnerable among us—and not to increase the stress everyone feels right now. As a synagogue community, we are here to provide comfort, support and inspiration to one another, whether we are in each other’s physical presence, or not. 

In difficult times, our Jewish traditions and faith have nourished our spirits to endure the unknown.  We believe our Jewish values should guide us, among them:
  • Netilat Yadaim / Wash your hands and wash your hands some more.  For 20 secs with soap and water. Jewish tradition has lots to say about hand washing. The Shulchan Orech, the code of Jewish law reminds us that we are commanded to wash our hands upon awakening, when we come into the synagogue and before and after eating!
  • Pikuach Nefesh / Preserve Life: Jewish values demand that we preserve life and we do all not only to preserve our own lives but those of our family, friends and neighbors.  Social distancing matters.  You don’t know who has underlying conditions even if they look young and healthy.  
  • Al Tifrosh Min Ha Tzibbur / Do not separate oneself from the community.” We can practice “social distancing” without sacrificing sacred connection. Cancelling programs, services, educational and social events can easily have the effect of isolating many of us from one another, but there are actions we can take to minimize that impact. Call and check in on one another. Make a point to call a temple friend or two each day. Utilize the technology at our disposal, including streaming, video conference, Facebook and social media, to help us stay in touch with each other. Even though it won’t be perfect, let’s try to find ways to remain deeply spiritually connected.
Let us move forward together into this Shabbat with hope and prayer for a complete healing for all who are afflicted. We pray God to protect those caring for all who are ill and we pray for the fortitude to endure and emerge strengthened, renewed and whole. May the Holy One of Blessing surround you with love.
  

Covid-19 Health Precautions

The following message was sent to all those on our email lists on Saturday, March 7, addressing the precautions we are taking to ensure that our community remains as healthy and safe as possible:
 
To our Congregation Kol Ami Community:
 
These last weeks have been a time of uncertainty and anxiety with the news of the coronavirus spread, market volatility, and the elections both in Israel and primaries here in the U.S. We want to ensure our Congregational community continues to be safe and healthy.
 
Our primary goal in our decision-making has been to fulfill our mission as a sacred community. We want to protect our physical health as much as possible, but not at the expense of our spiritual health. Our hope is to balance the need to protect ourselves from COVID-19—with special attention to the most vulnerable among us—and not to increase the stress everyone feels right now. As a synagogue community, we are here to provide comfort, support and inspiration to one another, whether we are in each other’s physical presence, or not.
 
At this time, our temple will continue with its regular programming and worship. We remain in touch with health professionals and Los Angeles county government officials on a regular basis to monitor the situation.
 
In the meantime, we are making the following adjustments to our Kol Ami traditions:
  • We are asking all members and participants in our community to act with an abundance of caution. If you are experiencing any symptoms, even a runny nose, please take care of yourself, and stay home until you are at 100%. We stream our Shabbat services here on our website at https://www.kol-ami.org/livestream as well as on our Facebook page.  
  • Please gel in and out.  We have ample hand sanitizer. Please when you come into our temple, whether for a class, meeting, appointment or worship, please use the hand sanitizer each and every time.
  • Rabbi Chaiken and I will not be shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.  We want to greet you warmly, and we know we have a custom of being a kissing and hugging kind of community, and so we hope you will accept our bow or elbow bump as the warm greeting we intend it to be.  Just as Abraham bowed to his guests, as we read “and he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and he prostrated himself to the ground (Genesis 18:2), and Joseph’s brothers bowed to him: “Now Joseph was the ruler over the land and Joseph's brothers came and prostrated themselves to him, with their faces to the ground (Genesis 42:6), and as Moses bowed to his father-in-law: “So Moses went out toward Jethro, prostrated himself and kissed him” (Exodus 18:7), we know we can reclaim bowing and other ways to greet one another meaningfully without making physical contact.
  • As you know, we pause during Shabbat evening services to greet one another following the singing of Lecha Dodi. During the greeting of your neighbor at this time, let us bow to one another as a sign of respect, as we bow to the Sabbath bride in greeting. 
  • At the end of services, we will refrain from our customary swaying with linked arms, but of course we will still sing out with spirit!
  • If it is your custom to kiss mezzuzot, or reach out to touch and kiss the Torah, we are asking you to refrain from doing so.  The Sephardic custom is to bow to the Torah and/or point to the Torah with one’s tallit. Please try this instead!
  • You will notice at the oneg the challah is pre-cut. We will no longer touch shoulders and tear the challah from the loaf.  And when you pour coffee or hot water for yourself, take cookies, cake, or fruit, please don a clear food glove on the hand that you will use to touch the urn spout, tongs or spoons, or to take a piece of challah.
  • Avoid kissing and hugging when greeting friends, colleagues, and congregants, during onegs and other s’machot, and consider not shaking hands during meetings and introductions. Consider adopting alternative greetings like waving or placing one or both hands over your heart.  And as you all know as a Star Trek fan – perhaps we can do like Mr. Spock who greeted all with the Vulcan greeting based on the priestly benediction — Live Long and Prosper. 
We will be in ongoing communication with you as the course of the epidemic changes. 
 
As always, Rabbi Chaiken and I are here to support you spiritually and pastorally. Our concerns, along with those of our Board of Trustees, are to ensure the health and well-being of our members, employees, and supporters.

For more information on the Coronavirus, visit the LA County Department of Public Health website here.
 
        
Rabbi Denise L. Eger                           Rabbi Max Chaiken
 
Tue, April 7 2020 13 Nisan 5780