Hendon United Synagogue

By Natalie Ash

The United Synagogue has called on communities to adhere to government ‘regional tier’ measures as places of worship reopen for communal worship on December 2nd.

The US has published guidelines enabling communities to run services and plan lifecycle events and programmes.

“This is wonderful news and we look forward to welcoming members back into our shuls,” commented Jo Grose, US Communities & Strategy Director. “Whilst the offering online over the last month has been outstanding, there are many people that will truly value the opportunity to daven again with others.”

Most Jewish communities are in Tier 2 areas but this could change so communities must review adjustments to Tier 3.

Where appropriate the US encourages running events and gatherings outside.

Ms Grose noted, “Following long months of restrictions and lockdowns, it’s wonderful to sense a growing optimism in society as we hear news of successful trials of vaccines and plans for their rapid roll out as well as a strengthened programme of community testing. However, at this point, infection and hospitalisation rates remain high and there is still a very real risk that if we are not careful, the virus could spread rapidly again.”

The US has called on communities to ensure everyone complies with guidance. In particular, maintaining a 2-metre social distance from those in other households and wearing face coverings on site. Indoor spaces must be well ventilated and there should be no singing from a kehilla indoors.

The US praised community leaders for reimagining shul and community life.

“As the lockdown lifts, we look forward to celebrating Chanukah in our shuls together,” said Ms Grose.

Full guidelines are due to be on the US website.