United Synagogue reveals roadmap to weddings, kids services, kiddush

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United Synagogue reveals roadmap to weddings, kids services, kiddush

United Synagogue has unveiled a roadmap to reopening shul services in line with the government's lockdown easing plans

Synagogue in Edgware under Covid restrictions early in the pandemic.  (Marc Morris Photography)
Synagogue in Edgware under Covid restrictions early in the pandemic. (Marc Morris Photography)

United Synagogue has outlined dates by which weddings, children’s services and kiddush could take place again.

In line with the government easing of lockdown, community leaders have been told they can allow takeaway kiddush and outdoor children’s services from next Monday, March 29.

From April 12 – the day shops and hospitality are expected to open – cheders could reopen and weddings with up to fifteen people could begin to take place.

 From 17 May, the organisation hopes that its Rabbinic families will once again host members for meals and has set a date of no earlier than 21 June for the reintroduction of kiddush indoors. 

Social distancing will be required at all times. Its shuls are also welcoming back the over-70s, who had been urged to pause their attendance during winter because of their vulnerability.

“This is a very important moment for the United Synagogue and our communities,” said Jo Grose, United Synagogue’s director of communities and strategy. 

“Our buildings – and our shuls in particular – are the heart and soul of our Jewish life, providing a Covid-secure place for communal prayer, enabling mourners to say kaddish and marking Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in a cautious but joyful way.”

The roadmap, which follows the government’s plans, would mean from Monday outdoor toddlers’ and children’s service will be permitted for a maximum of 15 adults, while takeaway kiddush will be welcomed back for communities with an eruv.

Food will need to be eaten at home.

If the government moves to its step two as planned from no earlier than 12 April, United Synagogue hopes its buildings will once again return to being community centres hosting socially-distanced shiurim, talks and meetings.

Weddings will be permitted for 15 attendees as can shiva ‘houses’ in the shul.

From no earlier than 17 May, assuming the government moves to Step 3 of its roadmap, Rabbinic hospitality could be permitted again, limited to six people or two households, with a weddings limit of 30 people.

No earlier than June 21 – the date the government is targeting for the end of all social distancing restrictions – it is possible that kiddush will be permitted again indoors and communal meals could restart. 

United Synagogue hopes it could have larger attendances at smachot too.

Officials said they were planning to make all of these changes in line with the government’s easing of lockdown, but they may choose to be more cautious if required.

Some virtual services may be kept too, said Ms Grose.

“Live-streaming certain prayer services have been particularly popular and we hope to keep Kabbalat Shabbat on a Friday afternoon and Women’s Hallel services in particular,” she said.


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