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How to Host Shabbat/Chag Meals Safely


Updated CDC Guidelines and Indoor Seders

With Pesach around the corner, we are all wondering how we can gather with loved ones and friends safely. The CDC recently updated their guidelines allowing us to rethink our recommendations for safe Seder hosting. 

We recommend that only households who have been fully vaccinated (two weeks after their final vaccine) gather indoors for Pesach Seders with others who have also been fully vaccinated. Additionally, one vaccinated household can gather safely for an indoor Pesach Seder with an unvaccinated household if no one in the unvaccinated household is of elevated risk. Please note that a family with vaccinated parents but unvaccinated children is considered unvaccinated.

We know this year has been hard for many of us--if you are fully vaccinated and are open to hosting or being hosted for a Pesach Seder, please contact Rabbi Albert at

Safely Hosting Outdoor Seders and Meals

For those of us who can't yet gather indoors, here are our updated community guidelines for hosting outdoor Seder, Shabbat, and Yom Tov meals safely: 

  • Households/pods must be seated at least eight (8) feet apart since people will not be wearing masks while eating.
  • Ritual hand-washing should take place outside if possible.  (Hand-washing water should either be spilled into a bowl or onto pavement/concrete so as not to water plants or grass on Shabbat.) If hand-washing is to take place inside, guests should maintain social distancing, wear masks, and return promptly to the outside setting after washing.
  • When singing (such as Kiddush, Hamotzi, Zemirot, and Birkat Hamazon), everyone should remain in their seats and have their masks on.
  • Food Service: It is preferable if one masked person/household serve the food and drinks. If people are serving themselves, social distancing should be maintained, masks should be worn at the buffet table, and hand sanitizer should be available. 
  • For a Seder, we suggest that each household have its own Seder plate, wine/grape juice, and ritual foods.
  • If someone needs to use the bathroom, they should do so wearing a mask and return outdoors promptly.

We hope that these guidelines will allow our members to strengthen our sense of community in the coming weeks and months, whether it is for a Seder, a Shabbat meal, or a casual weekday dinner.

The Beth Jacob Reopening Committee

Rabbi Gershon Albert
Anna Bencuya, Gan Mah Tov Director
Dr. Jay Goldman
Lilly Krenn, Executive Director
Dr. Phil Ross
Deborah Sosebee
Lauren Wilner, Esq.

Sun, June 13 2021 3 Tammuz 5781