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OVS Re-Opening Plan - July 15, 2020 - Shabbat in the Lot

Dear Friends,
We are writing to update all of you, the members of our Keilah, about our ongoing process in regards to gathering in the age of COVID-19. As you know, we have been holding an ongoing discussion with members of the synagogue in the medical field. Their knowledge of medicine is indispensable and their passion for the well-being of our members is inspiring. A few weeks back we opened for in-person worship with their guidance. We did so because the reality on the ground as to the numbers were favorable and also because we had come up with a path forward they believed was as cautious as we could be. All of our decisions have been in line with the Talmudic dictum that “p’kuach nefesh docheh et hakol,” saving a life supersedes all else.

As a people, the Jewish people place the sanctity and preservation of life as the highest of all obligations with few exceptions. The decision to open for in-person services was made with a commitment to an ongoing monitoring of the situation and continued conversation and re-evaluation of the facts on the ground. It is in that spirit that we met this week with our medical professionals and members of our leadership to discuss the present rate of the spread of the virus. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided that we are going to suspend our in-person, indoor services in their current format. In place of our regular Shabbat morning worship we will be offering an alternative prayer experience, an “Oneg Shabbat,” on Shabbat mornings at 8:46 a.m. in our parking lot. In keeping with the current understanding of the virus and how it spreads, being outside greatly decreases the transmission rates, so we are moving outside.

Here is more information about this alternative Shabbat experience:
1) It will be about 60-90 minutes long.
2) It will be canceled each week if it is raining.
3) People should dress appropriately for the weather so shorts and/or outdoor attire is expected.
4) Social distancing and masks are still being required to assure greater safety.
5) There will be a combination of text study and prayer together with interactive modalities for all to enjoy this new experience.
6) We will be observing meldados and at the end there will be a Kaddish if we have a minyan.
7) Advanced  RSVP is still required, so we can have the correct number of properly spaced chairs. There is still a 25-person limit on the number of people in attendance, so please make sure to register well in advance.

We will continue to monitor the situation and when our panel and our leadership believe it is appropriate to resume in-person indoor services, we will do so.
Rabbi Josh Hearshen and Semon Akbashev, President

FYI, the full list of phases of reopening can be found here and includes its own benchmarks and timelines. It’s important to note that safely reopening the Keilah depends on the cooperation of everyone, and as we continue forward, we will continue to loosen or tighten our policies as science dictates.

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Announcement from OVS President, Semon Akbashev

March 31, 2020 - It is with great excitement that I write to announce that the Keilah has voted to approve Rabbi Joshua Hearshen as the next Rabbi of Congregation Or VeShalom by a vote of 157 to 3, with one abstention.
As many of you know it has been quite a journey getting here, starting with past board president, Michael Bouhadana, his board, and the future of OVS Committee. I would like to thank the search committee chair, Bryan Lavine, and his committee members -- Leo Benatar, Michael Bouhadana, Shelley Cooper, Lisa Galanti, Ellis Hedaya, and Dan Maslia -- for their exceptional work. And a special thank our executive director, Adam Kofinas, for his patience and tenacity throughout this process. Most importantly I'd like to thank all of you, our members, for your participation, both in person and via computer, during the visits by the rabbinic candidates and for your overwhelming vote of support for our new Rabbi.
I will immediately stand up a transition committee to be chaired by Shelly Cooper to help ease Rabbi Hearshen and his family's transition to Atlanta and to our Keilah. This committee's work will be in addition to all the other standing committees that are, of course, shifting their attention to prepare for the arrival of the Hearshens this summer.
During these trying times in our world, I'm so comforted by the closeness of our Keilah. When we welcome Rabbi Hearshen in July, it is my hope that the worst of days are behind us. But I hope that we all take advantage of this renewed opportunity to deepen our relationship with our Keilah friends and family make Rabbi Hearshen and his family's arrival the best that it can be.
May we go from strength to strength.
-Semon Akbashev, President

Thoughts from OVS Leadership

Security Fund Update

Thank you to those who have answered the call to donate to the OVS Security Fund. If you have not already, please click here to make your pledge. With your help, we will continue to improve our building to ensure the safety of our community.

OVS Featured in NY Times Article by Joan Nathan

In her New York Times article on Monday, November 26, Joan Nathan highlights OVS Sisterhood's long-standing tradition of Bureka Tuesdays. Join us this upcoming Sunday for our annual Hanukkah Bazaar and try a Bureka for yourself. 

OVS Founders Map Project

We are happy to announce that the OVS History Committee has concluded its two-year project of identifying, on an Atlanta city map, early OVS members’ residences and businesses located on Atlanta’s Southside. To learn more and find out how to purchase a copy of the map, click here.

You are invited to examine the map reproduced on glossy photographic paper and the accompanying booklet. 

OVS Strategic Plan

As an outcome of the 2017 annual meeting, the OVS board launched a formal initiative to better understand the needs of our Keilah, the results of which were presented at the 2018 annual meeting on Sunday, December 9th, OVS members can see results of the report by logging in to their account on this site and then clicking on this link.

Navigating Our New Site

Welcome to the NEW OVS site! We are working to add guides for each section of the site to help understand the more confusing sections. If a guide isn't listed, please contact the office for further instructions.

To view the guides page, click here.

Thu, October 22 2020 4 Cheshvan 5781