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Sanibel faithful may be without a temple, but Yom Kippur services still planned -- via Zoom

Braun, Michael

Temple Bat Yam's Torah scrolls are safe in the vault at Congress Jewelers, said Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, but he’s unsure what exactly has happened to the synagogue where normally 50 to 60 congregants gather for services on Sanibel Island.

He’s been in touch with many of them and as Yom Kippur approaches, is planning remote services for the congregants and anyone else who’d like to attend.

Nobody has been to the temple to assess its condition, since the island is inaccessible, Fuchs said, but he knows that the scrolls are safe. “We’ve had two confirmations from the Congress owners,” he said. As for his own residence on Sanibel, where he has lived for five years, he has seen photos and structurally it looks sound but there’s no way to assess the damage right now.

Braun, Michael
“Anybody is welcome to join us. People ask, ‘What can we do?’ I say join us! Support us! Show us that you’re with us.’”
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, Temple Bat Yam

The Jewish faithful of Temple Bat Yam are a small but mighty community, Fuchs stressed. Most, like Fuchs, are full-time residents of the island. “We’re a resilient congregation and I’m bound and determined we’re going to make lemonade out of these lemons, these sour lemons, that have landed on our shoulders,” he said Saturday afternoon from Tampa, to which he and his wife had evacuated.

Fuchs was making plans to join the temple’s Cantor Murray Simon in Lakewood Ranch and organize services by Zoom for Tuesday evening and Wednesday, when Yom Kippur falls this year.

“It’s going to be scaled down, without bells or whistles or any music except his voice, but you know what? It’s going to be really nice. We’re going to do whatever we can to make this very meaningful,” Fuchs said.

“Anybody is welcome to join us. People ask, ‘What can we do?’ I say join us! Support us! Show us that you’re with us.’”

“Our congregation is going to weather this storm and be able to provide the type of meaningful spiritual experience our members deserve.”


High Holy Day Services at Sanibel's Temple Bat Yam will be led by Rabbi Fuchs and Cantor Murray Simon, via Zoom from the Sarasota area at the times and Zoom links listed below.

Kol Nidre Service
Tuesday, October 4, at 7 PM by Zoom from Sarasota:
Meeting ID 894 0333 1322, Passcode 110751

Yom Kippur Morning Service 
Wednesday, October 5, at 10 AM by Zoom:
Meeting ID 811 5582 0987, Passcode 459802

Yom Kippur Yizkhor and Neilah Services
Wednesday, October 5, at 4:30PM by Zoom:
Meeting ID 832 0342 3503, Passcode 479917

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