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Beth Israel, Edmonton's Family Shul, is a Modern Orthodox Synagogue. We are committed to Torah and mitzvot and are forward-thinking with our approach to programming. Our welcoming environment has Jews from all backgrounds choosing Beth Israel as their home away from home. Our ‘family’ is passionate about Judaism and we look forward to welcoming you!



Dear beloved members and friends of the Beth Israel family,

Given the significance and scale of the COVID-19 situation, Beth Israel has decided to accelerate our mitigation efforts.

We have deliberated, carefully measured pros vs cons and have arrived at the difficult reality that the right thing to do is to not hold our minyanim until further notice.

We pride ourselves in knowing that our religion puts human life as priority number one. When do we ever get to express that and live that tenet of Jewish belief? It is very painful for us to close the shul, but there is no choice when it comes to saving and protecting precious lives. With the rates in Alberta going up and up – this is the right thing to do.

This means that until further notice, we are suspending the daily minyanim.

Obviously, if we were to close our beloved Shul and congregate privately and make minyanim – this effort would all be for naught. Obviously, if we were to not come together to pray and invite guests to our Shabbat tables or other religious engagements – this effort would be one of futility. We can make the future a healthier place, but we need to go into this together.

I will be davening by myself and I will be proud of it. I will know that I am doing the right thing. We respect, love and are excited over public prayer so much and we yearn for the day that we will have it back.

Those that know me well, know that I don’t make big decisions without speaking it over with my mentors. This was no exception and the perspective was unanimous and clear: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This painful decision was made under the guidance of medical professionals and the greatest Rabbinic leadership of this generation.

Even someone who is in their year of mourning or observing Yartzeit should not be going to a minyan to say Kaddish. Find someone who is in a safe community which is still running a minyan. As of now, congregation Beth Josef in Greater Phoenix is offering a Kaddish service HERE. In observance of the yarhrzeit, light a candle, recite a Kel Maleh Rachamim and say Tehilim and learn Mishnayos. Please be in touch with me personally if you need guidance in this area in any way.

The shul premises will be closed, but our hearts will be wide open to help in any way we can. Don’t be shy to reach out to the office line or my personal line if there is anything we can do for you.

We fully intend to be in regular contact with all of you, to make sure you are well, and to help in any way we can under these trying circumstances.

Also, we intend to ramp up our online offerings so that learning and prayer experiences can continue, and even increase. We are so excited to have launched BI’s “Virtual Torah Center” where we will be live broadcasting classes, Tehilim and Prayer groups. Please text me @ 780-288-1149 to be added to the WhatsApp Chat for the V.T.C so you can get updates about the classes and opportunity to spiritually rejuvenate yourself.

Sometimes physical distance brings emotional closeness. Maybe that’s why Hashem sent his precious nation into exile time after time. And it is precisely this that we hope to accomplish together as a community.

May this physical distance bring us emotionally closer…to one another and to our Creator.

I say again: there were so many times in life that has taught me that often the harder thing is the right thing. This is no different, this is the harder side of the dilemma and I promise you – it is the right one.

Please take these days to as a critical opportunity to intensify your tfillos, your prayer, towards the ultimate healer – Hashem. May our community be successful in mitigating the harm of the virus.

With warmest wishes that you all be well,
Rabbi Claman

Tue, 7 July 2020 15 Tammuz 5780