375 Aberdeen Ave., Hamilton, ON L8P 2R7 | 905-522-1351 | office@bethjacobsynagogue.ca

Services During the Pandemic

Services During the Pandemic

Update- November 24, 2020:

We have been closely monitoring the regional health situation and safety concerns.
We regret that due to the lock-down in Toronto and red status of Hamilton, we cannot responsibly offer an in-person Shabbat service for the foreseeable future.
Out of consideration for your schedules and a desire to have certainty around the status of in-person services, our Board and Executive have made the decision with Rabbi Hillel to postpone all in-person services until at least January 2021.
We will continue to offer Wednesday evening Zoom services at 6:00 pm. For login details, please email Tal-Or at talor@bethjacobsynagogue.ca.
If you are a mourner and would like to request a service on a different day for observance of yahrzeit, please email Rabbi Hillel directly at least 3 days in advance.
Thank you for your support and understanding. We look forward to praying in-person with you soon.

Please carefully read the following before attending services.

Our primary concern is your health! We are taking strict measures to ensure your safety, as much as possible, while you attend services. Even so, please note that COVID-19 is a deadly, unpredictable disease and no precautions can be considered 100%. If you feel uncomfortable attending, please respect your instincts and stay home! Attendees must be 12 years of age or older. We strongly recommend that anyone considered in the higher-risk category due to age or preexisting health conditions, stay home. The service will be simultaneously live-streamed, and you can take part in it that way as well.

Instructions for attendance:

  • Attendance is by pre-registration only. Drop-ins will not be permitted under any circumstances. We have a limited capacity due to health regulations, so please sign up as early as possible. To receive the link for pre-registration, email Tal-Or.
  • Pre-registration for Shabbat services closes on the preceding Wednesday night at midnight.
  • Confirmation of your registration will be sent by email on Thursday, with instructions to confirm your health once again before Friday at noon. Only those who have re-confirmed their health by this time will be admitted to the building on Saturday.
  • Arrival at the service will be from 9:45 to 10:00 am. At 10:00 the doors will be locked and the service will begin. Due to health screening necessities, late arrivals will not be admitted.


  • You must bring your own talit and kippah if you would like to wear these, as we will not have any available for lending. Though not mandatory, if you would like to bring your own siddur and chumash, that would be welcome also.
  • A mask must be properly worn at all times while you are in the building. The mask must cover your nose, mouth and chin. If you forget to bring a mask, we will give you one.
  • Hand sanitizer must be used upon entrance to the building.
  • Carefully follow the instructions of the greeters and health monitors.


  • If you have been outside Canada within the last 14 days you may not attend.
  • If you have been feeling unwell, or experienced any symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 including: fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, fever, difficulty breathing, or a loss of taste or smell, you may not attend until symptoms are gone for at least 72 hours. If you have registered to attend and then begin to experience any of these symptoms, let us know immediately so that we can plan for a minyan without you.
  • Upon arrival, please carefully observing physical distancing while waiting to be admitted. Admittance will be one-by-one, with health screening at the entrance. Once admitted, please proceed straight to the sanctuary.
  • As you enter the sanctuary you will be permitted to take a siddur and a chumash from the table. At the end of the service you will be asked to return these to another designated table, so that they can be disinfected before the next service.
  • indicated seatingSeating in the sanctuary has been arranged to ensure your safety as well as everyone else’s. Permitted seats are marked with seat covers. Do not sit in the seats without covers. Greeters or health monitors will help guide you to an appropriate seat. Do not sit with another congregant unless you live together.
  • You must remain in your designated place for the whole service, except when having an aliyah or going to the washroom. Wandering around the sanctuary or loitering in the foyer during the service are not permitted.
  • Hand shaking, fist bumps and elbow bumps are strictly forbidden.
  • If a person forgets and approaches you to talk to you, kindly remind them to stay 2 metres / 6 feet away.


  • Aliyot will be assigned in advance and those receiving them will be notified of their honour via email, before Shabbat.
  • If you have been assigned an aliyah, please wait in your seat until your turn, and follow the rabbi’s instructions.
  • There is a designated place on the main floor in front of the bimah from which you will recite your aliyah blessings. Your mask must remain on. Please stand on the floor marking facing the microphone, but do not touch the microphone. It is not necessary for the microphone to point exactly towards your mouth.
  • When going up for your aliyah, bring your chumash with you. Open the front cover of your chumash – the aliyah blessings appear there. While the Torah is being chanted for you, remain in place and follow along inside your chumash. After the chanting, recite the final blessing from inside the front cover as before.
  • Should you need to recite the Hagomel thanksgiving blessing or Shehecheyanu, these texts appear inside the back cover of the chumash.
  • At the conclusion of your final aliyah blessing, please return to your seat immediately before the next honouree comes up.
  • Ark openings, hagbah and gelilah are not being assigned to congregants at this time.
  • During the recitation of the prayer for the sick, do not approach the bimah with names. Submit names via email before Shabbat. Alternatively, when the rabbi pauses the Mi Sheberakh prayer, simply recite the names yourself, from your seat.


  • At the conclusion of the service, please return the books you borrowed to the table, and exit the building in an orderly fashion, being careful to physically distance yourself from the others.

Shabbat Shalom and stay safe!

Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraeli
Tal-Or, Synagogue manager
and Philip Price, chair, Pulpit & Ritual Committee.