OPINION: Our communities must be creative

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OPINION: Our communities must be creative

The United Synagogue's Jo Grose says shuls may not be yet open, but we can see a glimmer of light in the distance

Jo Grose
Sanitising in a synagogue
Sanitising in a synagogue

The past few months have been the most challenging of my career. The impact of the coronavirus will be far-reaching. First and foremost is the human cost: more than 50,000 Britons have died including hundreds of Jewish souls.

Since the Chief Rabbi took the painful but correct decision to shut our shuls, we have been looking forward to a day when we can fling them wide open again. I have been working with an outstanding group of rabbis, trustees, lay leaders, medical professionals and colleagues to plan for such a time.

Safety must come first. No two communities are the same so our framework can be tailored to fit different age profiles and priorities. Communities will need to be creative: we might see services held outside, shofar blowing and takeaway honey cake in local parks on Rosh Hashanah and an online Kol Nidrei before the fast starts.

Joe Grose

Socially-distanced shul services will bring challenges. But we are driven to find ways to enable our members to pray together, to learn together and to mark moments of joy and sadness together.

Our synagogues are not yet open, but we can see a glimmer of light in the distance.


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