COVID-19 Safety Protocol

COVID-19 Safety Protocol

We rely on each member of the community to keep each other safe. While there is no guarantee of safety in attending in-person experience, the following is intended to mitigate risk and exposure as much as possible, while providing for a meaningful in-person experience.

Prayer Services and Gatherings:

  • Participants are STRONGLY encouraged to wear a mask throughout services and to any indoor events.
  • All food and eating will take place in our outdoor covered spaces (even in rainy weather).
  • We will utilize outdoor spaces whenever possible for social events.

Returning to the Synagogue Following a Positive COVID-19 Test:

  • Do not come to the synagogue if you are experiencing any communicable symptoms of illness: COVID-19, cold, or flu.

  • Do not come to any gatherings if a roommate has an active infection or is in quarantine.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you may return to the synagogue only after ALL of the following are true: you have waited five days from a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis; you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication); your symptoms are improving.
  • For more information about returning to the community and/or to use a quarantine calculator, please refer to the CDC guidelines.

COVID-19 Policy Update

COVID-19 Policy Update

"When keeping the body in health and vigor, one walks in the ways of God" (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Deot 4:1).

We are grateful for your continued support, patience, and fortitude as our community, country and world move through one of the most challenging times in modern history. With the guidance of the Center of Disease Control's (CDC) latest guidelines, we are sharing with you our updated protocols which will allow our synagogue building and community to live up to its traditional name, a Beit Knesset (A House of Gathering). Effective today, Friday, March 11, the following changes to our safety protocols will be in effect for our worship, cultural events, adult learning, and business meetings:

  • Fully vaccinated adults (16 years old and above) and individuals who have fully recovered from a documented COVID-19 infection in the last six months may attend indoor activities with or without a mask.
  • If you are not vaccinated or have not recovered from a COVID-19 infection in the last six months (natural immunity), we invite you to use our virtual platform to participate with our community.
  • If you are immunocompromised, a high-risk individual, or spend time around others who are, we encourage you to continue the use of masks when attending synagogue functions.
  • For programs that share spaces with kids under five years old, including Family Shabbat, Kesher, and holiday celebrations, we will continue to require masks while inside the building for all attendees. We will always strive for outdoor gatherings for these communities whenever the weather cooperates.

We are hopeful that we are in the final stages of this pandemic, and we can continue to go from strength to strength (Hazak, Hazak, vNet'hazek). As we slowly reemerge from these difficult two years, there will be anxiety, concern, and caution. We anticipate some people will continue to wear masks. It is understandable to still be nervous about removing our masks indoors. Whatever choice you make regarding masks, we ask that, in the spirit of the cohesive and empathetic community that we are, you respect the choices that others make, even if you disagree with them. We will be monitoring the CDC recommendations carefully and will continue to adjust as we know more; this might mean that we revert to more stringent protocols if guidance changes. We appreciate your understanding, support, and patience as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 Update: Building Closure

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Building Closed Through May

Dear Ahavath Achim Family,  

We pray that you are staying well and finding ways to engage, keep busy and stay healthy. Our clergy, staff and leadership have been comforted and energized by your patience, kindness, and outward positivity. 

Ahavath Achim is committed to fulfilling our mission and vision of helping us all connect with something greater than ourselves – Community, Tradition and God. We are grateful to you for being our partners in manifesting and actualizing these spiritual commitments. 

Your health and safety are our paramount concern. After consulting with a small group of highly respected medical and scientific experts, we have concluded that our sanctuary and building will remain closed up through the end of May. 

Even though our Shul doors are closed, our virtual doors remain open. We are offering two daily minyan services, Shabbat services, Torah and Talmud study, Rabbi drop ins, and social activities via Zoom. All of our services and programming can be found on our website:

As our community begins to re socialize, and we have comfort in knowing that we are not jeopardizing the health of our AA family we will begin to make plans to gradually phase back into our shul.

Thank you for your continued patience and kindness as we navigate these difficult choices. Please remember that our clergy and leadership are always available to you for guidance, suggestions or simply to listen. Community is built one connection at a time. May we have the continued strength to reach out to one another and foster purposeful belonging.​

Sending you love and good wishes.

Mark Cohen (President)

Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal

Rabbi Neil Sandler

Barry Herman (Executive director)

Zooming Services

Zooming Services

Dear Ahavath Achim Friends,
We are now well into our second week of responding to the Coronavirus pandemic and dealing with the changes it has brought to our lives and how we interact with each other – social distancing, moving from physical to virtual community, etc. It has been difficult… and fascinating. We are learning from our experiences and making changes along the way. We would like to describe one of those changes in this letter.
Up to this point, we have welcomed everybody to join us for prayer services, each and every day, through live streaming. This has been a one-way portal where you can see us, but we can't see you and, conversely, you can hear us, but we can't hear you. As of Friday morning, March 27, we will move all our services from live stream to Zoom. The links to the Zoom services will be available in the following places: the COVID Communication Hub, website calendar (you must click on the individual event to access the link), our Monday and Thursday eblasts, and the live streaming page on the website. Please explore these links to familiarize yourself with the changes and various places where Zoom links are found.
With the current arrangement of one-way live streaming, we have not been able to recite parts of our prayer service which require a minyan, most important of these, is the Mourner's Kaddish. Earlier this week the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), the Jewish ritual and legal deciding body for the Conservative Movement, provided rabbis with an alternative that would allow for recitation of the Mourners Kaddish under circumstances deemed as she'at hade'chak, time of emergency. Here is the relevant portion from that "CJLS Guidance for Remote Minyanim in a time of COVID-19:"
In this crisis situation in an area in which civil and/or medical authorities decree that it is unsafe for people to gather in person and recommend or order the closure of houses of worship, it is permitted to constitute a minyan whose constitutive participants (ten adult Jews) are not located in one physical place.
By switching to Zoom technology we will be able to know in real time how many people are joining us and whether we have a sufficient number to say the Mourners Kaddish. Please note that this change (including remote service participants among those who collectively constitute a minyan) is temporary and will end when we are able to return to our building. This emergency position of the JCLS, along with many other Jewish religious rulings of this moment, is rooted in a rabbinic concept known as she'at hade'chak, time of emergency.
The issues around use of computer equipment and the internet on Shabbat is another issue which we don't have meaningful guidance. In this circumstance, we feel that the mental and spiritual damage caused by isolation and social distancing encourages us to be a bit looser with our halakhic (Jewish legal) observance for the time being. We encourage you to follow your conscious and maintain as much of your religious observance as possible while allowing a bit of forgiveness to yourself and others as we all adjust to this very complicated time. The idea of a slippery slope is a real one so we would urge all of us that choose to compromise previous religious obligations and log-on to your computer to do whatever is possible to refrain from viewing emails, limit pop-up news and advertisements and to refrain as much as possible from what might be considered, Be'tul Torah (Nullification of Torah; engagement in frivolous activities.)
Please be in touch with us after Shabbat with your thoughts, comments and ideas. Please know that as your Rabbi, I am uncomfortable with all of this, but our souls are tied together in a single journey towards redemption. This moment in history is forcing us to find ways to walk together that are beyond ordinary. We will survive and thrive though and following this episode and I look forward to many more meaningful spiritual experiences together.
With admiration and kindness,
Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal

Digital Prayer Books

Digital Prayer Books

During this time, we recognize that many of our congregants do not have prayer books in front of them. Below are the digital prayer books that will guide you through our services.

Shacharit for Weekdays
Afternoon Service for Weekdays
Evening Services for Weekdays
Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat Evening Service
P'sukei D'zimra Shabbat
Shabbat Shacharit
Shabbat Morning Torah Service

Shabbat Musaf
Shabbat Afternoon
Services for Saturday Night and Havdallah

Virtual Schedule for the Week of 3/16

Virtual Schedule for the Week of 3/16

As a reminder, the synagogue will be closed this week through Sunday in an effort to limit activities that might compromise our health or safety. Below is a schedule of the services and programs for the upcoming week, all of which are to be conducted virtually. Prayer services can be live streamed here. All other programs listed will be conducted via Zoom video conference.

To join a Zoom conference, follow the links below. Clicking the links will prompt an automatic download of Zoom onto your computer. (Please do not worry, Zoom is a safe program to download). Once the program is downloaded, run the program and provide your name when prompted. You will have the option to join with video (allowing everyone to see you on their screens) or without video (voice-only).

If you have never used Zoom, we suggest you begin the instructions above at least 5-10 minutes before the start of the meeting in case of technical difficulties. If you run into an issue, please contact Jill Rosner (404.603.5741) who can assist you.

The Virtual Open Houses are oriented toward keeping us connected, spiritually-sound, and informed during this difficult time. Each rabbi will offer an appropriate teaching and provide people with the opportunity to share with the group. Finally, we may use some of the time to make or reiterate some announcements, answer questions, etc.. (Sessions will be no longer than an hour).

We look forward to seeing you (virtually)!


Upcoming Week

Tuesday, March 17
7:15 am: Morning Minyan
10 am: Tuesdays@AA (Zoom Link)
2 pm: Rabbi Rosenthal's Virtual Open House (Zoom Link)
6 pm: Evening Minyan
7 pm: Board of Directors Meeting

Wednesday, March 18
7:15 am: Morning Minyan
5 pm: Rabbi Rosenthal's Talmud Class (Zoom Link)
6 pm: Evening Minyan

Thursday, March 19
7:15 am: Morning Minyan
8:30 am: Rabbi Sandler's Talmud Class (Zoom Link)
10 am: Rabbi Sandler's Virtual Open House (Zoom Link)
6 pm: Evening Minyan

Friday, March 20
7:15 am: Morning Minyan
6:30 pm: Shabbat Evening Service
7:32 pm: Candle Lighting

Saturday, March 21
9:30 am: Shabbat Morning Service
7:30 pm: Mincha/Ma'ariv/Havdallah
8:15 pm: Conclusion of Shabbat
8:30 pm: Havdallah/Melava Malka (Zoom Link)

Sunday, March 22
9 am: Morning Minyan
6 pm: Evening Minyan

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: A Message From the Executive Director

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A Message From the Executive Director

Dear Ahavath Achim Family,

As you have all no doubt observed, the situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus and the responses to that situation continue to be fluid and change on an almost hourly basis. The safety and health of our congregation and our staff and indeed all who have an association with us, are paramount and supersede any other considerations. As I mentioned in my last communication, our holy tradition demands that we be mindful not to engage in any activity that might compromise our health or safety. This is what guides all our actions.

After having evaluated the latest information available, as well as the responses from various agencies and stakeholders, we have reached the difficult decision to cancel all in-person programs, meetings, family and youth activities etc. over the next week. To that end our building will be closed with immediate effect for at least the coming week. We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions based on the latest information as to the potential ongoing closure of our facility.

Here is some additional information regarding scheduling and services:

  • Although the building will be closed, we will continue to hold services, albeit in a slightly different fashion. Rabbis Rosenthal and Sandler will be conducting all services via live stream. This includes all daily minyanim as well as Shabbat services. Times and schedules remain unchanged and are available on our website. Please click here to utilize our live streaming service.
  • The Rabbis will be offering special readings to enable those saying kaddish to continue to honor the memory of their loved ones in the appropriate manner.
  • In an effort to continue to attend to our congregants' spiritual well-being, we are ramping up efforts to keep you connected and support those in distress by making use of virtual technology such as Zoom. Our Rabbis will be conducting two interactive sessions next week via this medium. We will be sending out the appropriate links, times and instructions in a separate communication. This information will be available on our website as well.
  • I will be sending out regular updates as new information becomes available and as the situation changes.

Wishing you all a peaceful and restful Shabbat as we navigate this unique situation together. May we all be blessed with good health.

With much love,

Barry Herman
Executive Director

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: A Message From the Executive Director

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A Message From the Executive Director

Dear Ahavath Achim Family,

I wanted to give an update on our efforts on behalf of the congregation, in response to the ongoing developments related to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), specifically as it relates to Shabbat services this coming weekend.

We are encouraging anybody who is in an at risk category (the CDC is defining one of those groups as anyone over 60 with any medical condition), anyone who has exhibited any symptoms, or anyone who has recently traveled abroad or come in to contact with anybody who recently traveled abroad, to please self quarantine and not attend Shabbat services. We are fortunate to have live streaming capabilities. If you wish to follow the service on line, please click on this link.

We will not be serving Kiddush after services on Shabbat due to the potential of contamination and the fact that there are many variables that we are not in control of during the food preparation process.

Friday evening service will be in the Chapel, but Saturday morning service will be in the Sanctuary to allow for the ability to sit a safe distance from each other.

We will be monitoring the situation on a weekly basis and will decide on the next course of action after taking into account any new developments.

As Rabbi Rosenthal has pointed out, changes to our spiritual rituals and Jewish behaviors can often feel like a rejection of the very traditions and customs that we have worked so hard to preserve. He has further pointed out that we must be grateful that our Torah and Jewish tradition offers guidance in these difficult situations. The concept of Pikuakh Nefesh, saving a life, allows for modification of our behavior, even breaking commanded rituals in order to save a life. This value is closely associated with Shemirat HaGuf, guarding of one's body, which implores us to be mindful to not engage in any activity that might compromise our health or safety.

Wishing you and your families health.

Shabbat Shalom,

Barry Herman
Executive Director

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the following events have been postponed or cancelled:

HomeBeis@AA Youth Services – Saturday, March 14 | 10:30 – 11 am
Groove Shabbat – Saturday, March 14 | 11 – 11:30 am
Hunger Walk Run – Sunday, March 15 | 12 pm: This event has been made virtual. For more information, click here.
Cultural Arts Concert: Espressione – Sunday, March 15 | 2 pm: Postponed until further notice
SOAP UP Atlanta: The Final Four – Sunday, March 29 | 9:30 am – 3 pm

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: A Message From the Executive Director

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

As we are become more aware of the COVID-19 Virus and its potential effects, we wanted to reach out to you all and share some of the steps that we have put in place to ensure that that everyone remains as healthy as possible. We are actively monitoring COVID-19 and are gathering best practices from the CDC, the Georgia Dept of public Health, as well as surrounding communities and organizations. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our response accordingly as we become aware of new developments.

According to the CDC, this virus is very limited (104 known cases on March 3, 2020) in the United States, and the immediate health risk from coronavirus remains low. Accordingly, we are not planning on cancelling any services or upcoming events at this stage. As we protect our students, congregants, staff and visitors from potentially dangerous sicknesses spreading through our community, we are making sure that we have the appropriate protocols in place. These include:

  • We are using specialized products to disinfect our facilities each day.
  • We will be placing hand sanitizer at our main entrance, the reception area, social hall, Cohen Pavilion and near main restrooms. These hand sanitizer stations will be clearly marked with signage.
  • If there is a confirmed case among one of our student or member families or anyone known to have been in our facility, we will immediately evaluate next steps, which may include cancelling all activities until the building is disinfected.
  • We will closely monitor the CDC, Georgia Department of Health and the Fulton County Schools websites for updates.
  • We ask that if you or anyone in your family presents with flu-like symptoms, please do not attend services or come to the Synagogue building

We encourage all of our congregants to redouble their use of personal hygiene and prevention measures to stay healthy and reduce chances of transmission of all illnesses. While the full impact of an outbreak cannot be predicted, we are committed to doing our part to help minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community. At this point, much of our effort in preventing a spread or outbreak relies on your self-governance. In line with our values, we are depending on you to support our wonderful community by not putting your fellow congregants at risk.


Barry Herman
Executive Director