Chief Rabbi: ‘Missing family seders like celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Chief Rabbi: ‘Missing family seders like celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day’

Speaking a week before the festival, Chief Rabbi Mirvis said the lifting of the restrictions after seder night with no family celebrations will mean a 'difficult and painful' time

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

The Chief Rabbi has compared Jews missing out on holding full family seders again this year– the second of which falls the day before lockdown restrictions are lifted – to the country not properly celebrating Christmas until Boxing Day.

Speaking a week before the festival, he said it will be “very painful” and “very difficult” for the community to endure the festival under lockdown for a second year running.

Pesach begins on the evening of March 27, with rules allowing a group of six or people from two households to meet outside due to come in across England on March 29.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s very painful for us. It is very difficult. The closest comparison I could make is, let’s say if within society it would be allowable to congregate with up to six people or two households together from the 26 of December onwards.

“So literally within hours of Christmas Day it would be possible to do what you would have loved to have done the day before.”

he said the community would “loved to have the opportunity outdoors to have the festive meals”, but that people will be celebrating “in a pretty lonely way” again this year.

“But we respect the regulations that are given to us and preservation of life must be the top priority, and always acting in a legal way, respecting the Government’s wishes. This is our top priority.”

He recalled telling people in 2020 that “next year, it’s going to be all different”. Speaking this year, he added: “Next year, please God, it’ll be back to usual for our Passover celebrations.”

The Chief rabbi said the “crunch question” last March was whether to keep synagogues open and that he was “proud” of acting early on, before the Government brought in the nationwide lockdown.

“I could never have imagined having to take such a decision. We were determined to be ahead of the curve, not to wait for the Government to force this upon us.”

He added: “We were doing it of our own volition. I’m proud of the steps that we took.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: