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Until further notice, all services will be live-streamed through Zoom and/or Facebook Live. Please see our EVENTS page for more details.

reopening stages update - 12.29.20

Temple Beth-El is currently in Stage One while our
ECC is following Pinellas County Licensing Board & CDC Guidelines.

October 16, 2020

As our state and some local governments have begun to relax formal restrictions on gathering together, we thought it important to address questions you may have regarding if and when it's appropriate to reopen our temple.  
Our Reopening Task Force at TBE, with the counsel of medical professionals and staff are carefully considering decisions regarding the return to in-person gatherings. We will continue to heed the advice and wisdom of these and other experts and when appropriate, act in accordance with specified re-opening phases.  

Above is the TBE Reopening Task force chart listing the re-opening stages. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 infection in our community and, as a result, our re-opening stages as they become appropriate.


Reopening Task Force of Temple Beth-El 

Diann Stern, Judy Ciurczak, Kendra Cluck, Lisa Cohen, Rabbi Michael Torop, Reid Silverboard, Roger Cohen,
Sarah Gotlieb, Stefani Margolis, Steve Jenkins, Stacy Conroy, Allison Solo and Dr. David Berman

July 6, 2020

Some of the fondest memories we all have are together at Temple Beth-El. We love our community
and want to keep the safety and security of each of you as the absolute highest priority. Many conversations have occurred (beginning in early April, 2020) with the focus of keeping our community connected and
engaged, while taking into consideration ways to return to TBE and gather together. Three different task
forces have been formed with this focus in mind: ECC Reopening Task Force, COVID Financial Task Force,
and the COVID Reopening Task Force that is primarily developing the phases and plans for our community
to safety meet in-person in the months to come.

The COVID Reopening Task Force looks to science as well as our Jewish values to help guide us.

Pikuah Nefesh - "Safeguarding Life"
This is the bedrock principle of Jewish law, and supersedes most other obligation or mitzvot. To that end,
we must ensure that any steps toward restoring physical proximity place preserving life first and foremost.

Hesed - "Profound Love and Kindness"
Decisions around our operations and the risks involved create uncertainty, grief, and anxiety, and we must act
with tremendous love and kindess towards the members of our families, communities, and the world at large.

Currently, Temple Beth-El will continue to follow the recommendation of the clergy who serve the
Tampa Bay Jewish community, and will remain closed for in-person services & programs through the end of August. This will give the Task Force a few months of planning and carefully watching trends in order to evaluate and provide an update closer to the end of August. This cross-section of individuals from our community are utilizing resources, available trainings, data and research from the CDC and similar organizations to develop a plan of action regarding religious services, programs, events and educational programming which will be released to our community.

We understand the desire to gather together again and have had some congregants question whether
we were being too cautious in our decision to follow CDC guidelines rather than state guidelines.
We value the safety and security of our community above all else and with the uncertain nature of COVID-19,
we feel we are not being overly cautious! We have many members who fall within the high risk
population and because an asymptomatic person can unknowingly spread the virus we must consider
all of our community's health and safety above our desire to gather in-person.

Our COVID Reopening Task Force is in its' formulative stages and we would love to hear from YOU!
Please take a couple minutes and complete our REOPENING QUESTIONNAIRE HERE. If there are
any questions throughout this process, please contact our Co-Presidents, Stefani Margolis and Lisa Cohen,
until a chair has been determined.


updates to programs & events

In order to keep our environment sanitized, our building is currently not open. Please call our Temple office at (727) 347-6136 or email for questions Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

All services will be live-streamed through various platforms till further notice. For the latest information on programs, services & events, please CLICK HERE for our EVENTS page.   

Rabbi Michael Torop and our Director of Pastoral Care, Cantor Pamela Siskin, are available if you need to talk. CLICK HERE to request a video conference with the Rabbi or send either of them an email and you will get a call back.

Rabbi Michael Torop -

Cantor Pamela Siskin - 

Please check out our ECC (Early Childhood Center), Sunday School and Youth pages for additional information. 

Sunday School Covid-19 & Influenza Adaptations Information

covid19 update - may 8, 2020



Thank you for clicking “play” so that I could offer a few words of introduction to the email text that is below! First of all, I want everyone in our extended Temple Beth-El family to know that your clergy, staff team and leadership are here to help guide our congregational life and program through the current public health crisis we are facing. I know how hard it must be for some of you to remain calm in the face of the growing uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic. Others of you might be concerned that we are being alarmist or feeding into the developing public sense of panic. For this Shabbat, regardless of your perspective on the situation, I invite you to breathe deeply, to let peacefulness enter our souls, to search for a way to find your calm center, and join us in a thoughtful and prudent approach to keeping our community safe, healthy and connected in the weeks and months ahead.

We are in the business of bringing people together, so telling you to stay apart, or to maintain a meaningful “social distance” when with one another is very difficult. Our Jewish values guide us to build personal connections, to form bonds that sustain our spiritual journey, to hold hands high in celebration, to bring another close to offer comfort and solace. Yet, we can also be open to how we re-imagine these invisible lines of connection, how we create new ways to both preserve everyone’s health and sustain our communal bonds through innovative and modern methods. So, let’s take this journey together. And, even if we do not “touch”, let’s stay in touch! Shabbat Shalom!


March 12, 2020  |  17 Adar 5780


Dear Friends,

In these uncertain times, the rabbinic, professional and lay leadership of the Jewish community in Pinellas County want to assure each of you of our entire community’s unified approach to the evolving situation around Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on public Jewish life. The health, safety and well-being of you who participate in any aspect of the community has always been and remains our highest priority.
The primary value of pikuach nefesh, the saving or preserving of life, is a paramount mitzvah that transcends virtually all others. From dramatic rescues to judicious precautions, care of health is fundamental in our tradition. But it is also critical to strike a balance between justified concern and impulsive fear. The only thing that can render a threat to the well-being of a community more damaging is to allow fear to obscure fact. Your communal leaders are striving to be thoughtful and measured in our responses to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus Pandemic, knowing that these approaches may be modulated in light of future developments.

Temple Beth-El, Congregation Beth Shalom, Congregation B’nai Israel, Temple B’nai Israel, Temple Ahavat Shalom, and the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast, have agreed to the following course of action:

  1. As of this coming Shabbat and continuing through the month of April, we will all invite worshippers to stay at home and join Shabbat services via the livestream, video conferencing or other online video platforms (Facebook) that each of the congregations will be using. We will suspend plans to serve food publicly for the time being. 
  1. We are committed to reinventing ourselves to find unique ways to study and learn, to meet and conduct community business, and to enable us to remain a cohesive and strong Jewish community. Watch for future announcements from the congregation and the wider Jewish community for opportunities to engage in online learning, podcasts and webinars, interactive video conferencing, and so much more. 
  1. Our goal is to limit the number and scope of in-person gatherings, so that only those that are necessary and of limited size and duration are held.  
  1. Individuals and families planning a simcha in the next two months are being asked to consult with their own rabbi to determine the best course of action. 
  1. Each congregation will be making independent decisions about their early childhood centers, as well as the remainder of their youth engagement programming.

We endorse and encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines on hand washing, using hand sanitizer, avoiding public venues if you are sick , maintaining increased social distancing when with others, and, most importantly, taking whatever actions are needed to protect the most vulnerable populations in nursing homes and ALF’s, those aged 60+, people who are immunosuppressed or already facing other health challenges.

Having consulted with medical experts and government officials, including the Pinellas County Department of Health, we used an abundance of caution in reaching this consensus. We are committed to take steps that are known to reduce the possibility of communal transmission of the virus before the rate of infection increases to levels that will trigger mandatory government action.

Mayor Rick Kriseman (St. Petersburg) offered this message of support:

"As people of faith, it is important that we find strength in that faith during these challenging times. My administration is working diligently to monitor this rapidly changing situation -- public safety is our most important job. That is why I want to thank Rabbi Michael Torop, President of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis, and the entire Jewish community of our county for recognizing the gravity of this situation and for being proactive in protecting their congregations.”

Finally, and most importantly, it is at times of stress and uncertainty, personal or communal, that our congregational community is a beacon of support and solace. Our tradition teaches us to care for one another at times of need, and to reach out to one another to anticipate need. This is an opportune time to check in on an elderly neighbor who lives alone or on a friend who might need a hand with groceries. So, pick up the phone…bring a smile to someone’s face with a random act of kindness…stay connected to one another, and to Temple Beth-El.

שבת שלום ומבורך!
Shabbat Shalom u’mevorach,

May this Shabbat be filled with Blessing, Wholeness, Unity and Peace!
Michael Torop, Rabbi                                                 Lisa Cohen, Co-President
Sarah Gotlieb, Executive Director                              Stefani Margolis, Co-President

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Sat, January 16 2021 3 Sh'vat 5781