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Recommended crowd sizes have increased in the revised policy.

The Michigan Board of Rabbis (MBOR) has revised their policies regarding funerals and simchahs based on the ever-evolving pandemic conditions, the looming change in weather, and updated guidance from state authorities.

Excluding clergy and staff, attendance shall not exceed 36 people in communal spaces that hold more than 150 people – an increase from MBOR’s previous guidelines of 25 people from no more than 10 households. Also excluding clergy and staff, attendance shall not exceed 18 people in smaller communal spaces.

According to MBOR, which includes Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Humanist and Modern Orthodox rabbis, outside ceremonies are still preferred. But under certain guidelines backed up by medical advice, rabbis and congregations are able to offer both indoor and outdoor ceremonies.

Everyone present must wear a face covering at all times, except while speaking/leading the ceremony. Social distancing guidelines will be followed, including at least 6 ft. between attendees, and at least 20 ft. from a leader to the closest attendee.

Contact tracing, temperature/symptom checks, sanitation stations, and limited access to restrooms are all recommended. It’s preferred that the length of time inside is limited, and that windows are kept open to increase ventilation.

Greeting lines will not be allowed, and books or other materials will not be handed out.

The revised policy from MBOR also encourages people who are making plans to first discuss with their rabbi or congregation to confirm their full list of specific policies.

MBOR President Rabbi Daniel Schwartz of Temple Shir Shalom could not be reached for further comment at time of publication.

On June 9, MBOR approved a policy for re-opening simchahs that will “provide essential Jewish rituals in ways that address our shared commitment to health and safety”.

Beginning Aug. 1, synagogues affiliated with MBOR began offering private, in-person simchahs (weddings, baby namings, b’nei mizvah) with specific guidelines.

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