United Synagogue set to welcome more shul-goers after lockdown easing
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United Synagogue set to welcome more shul-goers after lockdown easing

United Synagogue will issue updated guidance in light of prime minister's latest announcement, as other movements say decisions are up to individual communities.

A masked woman passes by the Star of David outside a shul. Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto)
A masked woman passes by the Star of David outside a shul. Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

United Synagogue has said it is planning for larger attendances in synagogue after the Government announced most legal restrictions in England are set to end by 19 July.

The movement said while it was waiting on detailed guidance, it would be issuing new rules to communities around services and events.

Among these are celebrating smachot, and planning for the Yamim Noraim (High Holy Days) in September.

“The government has said it will be moving away from mandatory guidance and will be preparing instead recommendations for people to follow to stay safe,” said Jo Grose, the movement’s director of communities. 

“Mirroring this, we are preparing a new style of guidelines which will provide options and recommended approaches for mitigating risk for communities. 

“We will also include basic requirements such as asking people who feel unwell to stay at home, and ensuring good ventilation in our buildings.”

In a joint statement, the Liberal, Reform and Masorti movements said they wanted to “encourage our synagogues to continue applying our ongoing level of thoughtful responsibility and to reopen in a cautious way.”

“We want to prioritise our members’ feelings of safety and comfort while also understanding their spiritual needs,” it added.

Asked for further comment, Reform Judaism said decisions around masks and social distancing would be left for communities to decide for themselves.

“Every community is different in terms of their space, ventilation and needs of their members and therefore we support whatever measures our communities decide are appropriate,” a spokeswoman added.

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