Jewish leaders have welcomed the British Government’s decision to allow up to 15 people to attend stone settings, having initially set it at six to keep Covid-19 infection rates down.
Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl applauded the U-turn, saying it had been “seemingly anomalous” to allow only six people to attend stone settings while up to 30 people are allowed to attend funerals.
“We have asked Government for a consistent approach that will allow a Minyan and additional close friends and family to attend stone-settings and give comfort to mourners,” she said.
“We are grateful to the Government for its compassion in heeding this advice. Nonetheless, this thoughtful concession should give no room for complacency.
“With the alarming rise in the infection rate, we urge the community to be meticulous in observing social distancing regulations at cemeteries as in all other spaces.”
Melvyn Hartog, United Synagogue’s Head of Burial, said: “We are very pleased the Government has listened carefully to our and others’ concerns and has increased the stone setting limit to 15. While this number is still not ideal, we know it will bring some comfort to our members at this difficult time.”
Rabbi Celia Surget, Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors said: “Reform Judaism warmly welcomes that the concerns of the community have heard-this will bring enormous comfort to so many Jewish mourners.”
Whatever the limit, we will continue to put safety first and encourage everyone to stringently follow the Covid-19 guidance and local restrictions at stone settings as well as any other permitted gathering.”
News of the increase in stone setting attendance from six to 15 came just hours before national announcements that London and Essex would be moving up to Tier 2 in the three-tier Covid-19 warning system from Friday, meaning that households in much of the south-east will be prohibited from mixing indoors.
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.
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.