Congregation Shalom, the largest synagogue in Wisconsin with about 900 families, hopes to call every congregant by the end of next week. Meanwhile, it today changed much of its website to a Covid-19 presentation.
“We’re calling every congregant to see how they’re doing and identify their needs,” said Rabbi Noah Chertkoff. The rabbis, cantor, executive director and director of synagogue relations are making the calls.
Through the calls, surveys and other contacts, Chertkoff said he’s learned “people are resilient, and they seem to be somewhat OK. It’s the long-term that people are concerned about.”
National media reports have indicated the coronavirus pandemic may not be resolved quickly or easily, and it could have a significant impact on healthcare and the economy.
“It’s heartening, the degree to which people want to be helpers. Every single person would like to help in some way,” Chertkoff said.
Like some other synagogues, Congregation Shalom, in Fox Point, is offering virtual experiences. In general, Wisconsin synagogues have shut down most in-person experiences.
Congregation Shalom’s new website pages offer a list of Facebook, Zoom and streaming experiences. The congregation, like others, has sent emails to congregants related to the pandemic.
“In all the messages that I’ve sent out, I’ve mentioned that what is going to get us all through this is being united and being together,” Chertkoff said. “Even if we can’t be physically present, we can be spiritually together.”