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Baruch Ha’ba; Welcome!

Congregation Children of Israel (CCI) is a Reform congregation in Athens, Georgia. CCI brings the Athens Jewish Community together to live joyously rich Jewish lives. We strive to bridge tradition and modernity, as worship links our precious history with fresh approaches to spirituality. We are dedicated to each other, and to learning from the gifts that each of our families brings to our congregation.

Important CCI COVID-19 Policy Update

We are writing to inform you of important policy and procedure changes regarding our COVID-19 protocols, especially as they relate to the upcoming High Holidays.

In the last month, due to the Delta variant, COVID infections have risen dramatically, and the CDC has changed much of its guidance. Vaccinated individuals can spread the Delta variant to others, including children. Our policies must take these new realities into consideration.

Below are the guidelines that were discussed and voted on by our Board at Tuesday night’s meeting, in close consultation with the Re-Opening Committee. The first one refers to all temple events until further notice. The remainder refer to High Holidays services in particular.

Starting now, every person 2 years and above who enters the CCI building must be masked.

High Holiday Policies

  • Every person attending High Holiday services who is 12 years of age or older must provide proof of COVID vaccination, such as the standard vaccination card. Those who are unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition must provide a written exemption from a physician in order to attend in person.
  • Everyone in the sanctuary will be masked at all times, including our choir. The only exceptions are congregants who come up to the bima for honors that involve vocalizing. Participatory honors on the bima will be reduced this year. Rabbi Linder and Cantorial Soloist Jessica Tillem will be unmasked when leading a prayer or song, and masked at other times.
  • All services will continue to be streamed for those who do not attend in person.

We suggest that all congregants email Cyndee a picture of the vaccination card for themselves and anyone in your family who might attend High Holiday services. Cyndee will compile a list of those who have provided this evidence. We strongly recommend that you send proof of your and your family’s vaccination to Cyndee in advance, even if you are not certain that you will attend High Holiday services. You can do so starting immediately; Cyndee is waiting for these pictures. Cyndee’s email is AthensTemple@gmail.com.

Congregational leaders will check the list and vaccination cards at a welcome table prior to services. There will be an “express lane” for those who previously sent pictures of their cards to Cyndee. Others will show their vaccination card at the welcome table. These Board members and volunteers will gently inform those without proof of vaccination (or a written medical exemption) that they are invited to stream the service from home.

Of course this is our first time doing this (and God willing, last), so we recommend that you both send the pictures to Cyndee in advance, and bring the cards to services, just in case there’s a problem with one of the systems.

In the weeks to come, Rabbi Linder will continue to remind congregants about these policies. A phone tree message will be sent shortly as an added reminder. These guidelines will also be posted prominently on our website’s front page.

If you know of non-members who may want to attend services in person, please advise them to bring their proof of vaccination or medical exemption with them. Cyndee will share the necessary information with guests who call the synagogue for information.

We were hopeful that this year’s High Holiday services would be “back to normal,” and these new developments are unfortunate. Nonetheless, gam zeh ya’avor, this too shall pass. Regardless of whether we are masked in the sanctuary or at home, we will worship together as our holy community, and we will celebrate our High Holidays with meaningfulness, ruach, and hope.


Joel B. Katz – CCI President
Adam Goodie – Chair of Re-Opening Committee
Rabbi Linder

Temple Renovation

Our congregation recently completed a major Capital Campaign to renovate our Sanctuary & Social Hall. We are proud of our new spaces that more accurately reflect the warmth, openness, spirituality and ruach (spirit) of Congregation Children of Israel!


From the Union For Reform Judaism / Reform Movement

Creation, Chaos, and Children

Creation, Chaos, and Children jstern September 17, 2021

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. God said: “Let there be light.” And there was light.

Sukkot Breads in Fall Colors

Sukkot Breads in Fall Colors jstern September 13, 2021

Decorate your Sukkot table with Ethiopian, North African, and Sephardi breads full of fall colors and tantalizing spice mixes and broaden our palates to the customs of worldwide Jewish communities. Laden with seasonal honey, pumpkin, or orange, they don’t need braiding, and they make perfect gifts.

7 Jewish Endeavors to Make 5782 a Sweet New Year

7 Jewish Endeavors to Make 5782 a Sweet New Year jstern September 13, 2021

It’s a long-standing custom for Jews to wish one another a “sweet new year” on Rosh Hashanah; to hope that this coming year will be one filled with joy, fulfillment, and an abundance of blessings. However, Judaism isn’t a path focused simply on wishing for good things; if our goal is to make each year “sweeter” than the last, we must work to make it happen.

20 Years After 9/11: The Power of Tiny Acts To Create a Moral Universe

20 Years After 9/11: The Power of Tiny Acts To Create a Moral Universe jstern September 5, 2021

The horrific attack of September 11, 2001 was an attack on all of humanity, and we remember all the victims and first responders who died that day.