Chief Rabbi Mirvis: Don’t risk lives of others this Rosh Hashanah
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Chief Rabbi Mirvis: Don’t risk lives of others this Rosh Hashanah

Urgent virus warning focuses on people taking personal 'responsibility' as community prepares for new year

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

The Chief Rabbi has issued a stark warning to the community to strictly follow government guidelines on public gatherings during Rosh Hashanah or “risk posing a danger to the lives of others”.

It comes after new restrictions were introduced by Boris Johnson on Monday, making it illegal to gather in groups of more than six – in a bid to stem the flow of virus transmissions.

While shuls are allowed to host services with greater numbers – provided social distancing is followed within the building – it’s illegal to “gather with more than five other people in private gardens”, or in a “public outdoor space” such as a park, unless it is “exempt or has been organised” by a body applying “COVID secure risk controls.”

In a D’Var Torah message, Chief Rabbi Mirvis asks: “How responsible are we being towards others? Because if we’re neglecting our health we could be posing a danger to the lives of others. Literally, physically, are you too close to other people at a time when you should be socially distancing? Are you standing at events and in places where the law is being flouted? How responsible are you being to yourself?”

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He concludes, saying: “As we enter into the forthcoming High Holy Days, sadly here in the UK, as is the case in many other places around the globe, cases of Covid-19 are on the rise and this is primarily due to irresponsibility – the responsibility that people have towards themselves and others.”

His message comes in wake of mortality figures which show just three Jewish deaths in the past two months. More than 300 funerals took place in April at the peak of the crisis.

The United Synagogue’s Jo Grose said: “The community recognises the urgent public health need to do what we can to bring the disease under control.” Reform Judaism said: “We need to be very cautious. All of our communities will be holding virtual services.”

The Chief Rabbi's D'var Torah for Rosh Hashana

Our Covid-19 responsibility this Rosh HashanaThe Chief Rabbi's D'var Torah for Rosh HashanaFull transcript: https://chiefrabbi.org/all-media/dvar-torah-rosh-hashana/

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Chief Rabbi Mirvis‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 15 בספטמבר 2020

 

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