Stamford Hill Covid coordinator who ‘got around’ rules encourages compliance

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Stamford Hill Covid coordinator who ‘got around’ rules encourages compliance

In what appears to be a clear change of tone, Rabbi Yossi Teitelbaum calls on the community to 'keep up sacrifices'

Screen-grab from JN video of police intervening at a shul in Stamford Hill where a simcha is taking place
Screen-grab from JN video of police intervening at a shul in Stamford Hill where a simcha is taking place

The Covid-19 coordinator for London’s strictly Orthodox community centred on Stamford Hill has urged members to “keep up the sacrifices” in a welcome tone change from his comments two months ago.

Writing in the latest community newsletter, Rabbi Yossi Teitelbaum urged matchmakers to delay meet-ups where possible, and for shuls to determine – and stick to – maximum capacities as determined by a Covid risk assessment.

“If more people than allowed show up, such as for a simcha [celebration], it becomes impossible to follow government guidelines and the gabaim [leadership] are liable to suffer the consequences. The gabaim are pleading with you to take it seriously!”

He added: “Please do not go after davening [praying] from shul to shul. Should you want to take part in a close relatives simcha in shul, please check with gabaim of that particular shul about attending the entire davening.”

Teitelbaum was criticised for his December advice, which barristers said was “riddled with errors” and designed to “get around” national Covid restrictions. Its hostile tone and unfounded allegations of illegality against the police, caused widespread upset far beyond Stamford Hill.

Rabbi Yossi Teitelbaum’s latest leaflet dates 4 February, encouraging compliance

However, in what appears to be a welcome change of approach, he this week urged strictly Orthodox Jews to extend their mask wearing and treat the virus as deadly.

“Those who can wear a mask on the road wherever they go will do a big kiddush Hashem [holy deed],” he said. “The importance of wearing a mask while shopping cannot be emphasised enough!”

Referring to the Jewish Chronicle, he said: “Random passersby have photographed clusters of shoppers without masks and have plastered it on the front page of their newspapers. We are giving the news too many reasons to be busy with us!”

Strictly Orthodox leaders are currently working on agreed guidance for families ahead of this year’s upcoming festival of Purim, which proved so devastating to community infection rates last year. Many feel an earlier Government lockdown would have saved dozens of Jewish lives.

Ideas being floated are a ban on the eponymous open-top lorries that typically carry parting youngsters through the streets, as well as a ban on children visiting the homes of teachers to give them gifts.

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