Chief Rabbi urges Covid-secure Purim celebrations

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Chief Rabbi urges Covid-secure Purim celebrations

Rabbi Mirvis said it was 'tragic' last year's celebrations had unknowingly provided environments for Covid to spread

Chief Rabbi Mirvis spoke of the need to celebrate safely in a video message
Chief Rabbi Mirvis spoke of the need to celebrate safely in a video message

The Chief Rabbi has urged a responsible celebration of Purim next week, saying last year’s celebrations had unknowingly provided an environment for Covid to spread.

Although normally “physical joy is a key element of our Purim celebrations,” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis urged those celebrating this year to do so within lockdown restrictions.

“A year ago, unknown to us, some of our Purim celebrations provided an environment in which coronavirus could spread,” he said.

“It was so tragic that on the very day that we celebrate our physical survival, there was danger to our lives and through us to others.

“This Purim therefore let us guarantee that we will celebrate safety.” Purim last year took place just weeks before the first national lockdown was announced.

Rabbi Mirvis said a number of changes could be made to the mitzvot of the day to ensure safety, including delivering mishloach manot (parcels of food) “Amazon style.”

Donations could be given online, and the Seudah (meal) should only be enjoyed with your own household, he said in a video message.

If men and women could safely go to synagogue to hear the Megillah safely during the morning and evening of Purim, they should do so, he said,

But he added if this was not possible owing to coronavirus restrictions, it would be permissible to listen to a live online recital instead.

“Let us not do anything this year on Purim which will produce God forbid a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name,” he urged.

The guidance comes after the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations urged members to avoid taking to the streets during this year’s festival.


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