Services suspended at all 120 shuls under chief rabbi’s auspices
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Services suspended at all 120 shuls under chief rabbi’s auspices

'Let us all resolve to play our part in overcoming this pandemic by carefully following medical advice and public health guidelines,' the chief rabbi said

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

The chief rabbi has taken the extraordinary step to suspend all services across 120 shuls under his auspices in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis announced the move on Tuesday, saying in a statement religious leaders have a “halachic imperative” to do so.

The move comes after the government’s latest guidance and as the death toll reached 71 in the UK as of Tuesday.

The chief rabbi said community leaders have been seeking “responsible and creative ways to ensure that our shuls, the cornerstone of our community, could continue to function as the anchors of Jewish life.”

But Mirvis said the latest official guidelines made clear congregational activity poses a “significant danger to the vulnerable and will serve to hasten the spread of the virus.”

It includes all services in shul and off-site as well as meetings, educational and cultural activities. Further specific guidance around how the community can mark Pesach will follow soon, he said.

“Let us all resolve to play our part in overcoming this pandemic by carefully following medical advice and public health guidelines,” he added.

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