Voice of the Jewish News: Reasons to be cheerful
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Voice of the Jewish News: Reasons to be cheerful

As the community marks a watershed moment of no Covid deaths in a week, this week's editorial looks ahead to the Jewish life beginning to open up once more

Hearts of the National Covid Memorial drawn by the Bereaved Friends and Family of Covid-19 on the embankment of the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. The first of around 150,000 hearts which will be drawn on several hundred metres of the wall outside St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where Boris Johnson was admitted on contracting Covid last year. Credit: Paul Brown/Alamy Live News
Hearts of the National Covid Memorial drawn by the Bereaved Friends and Family of Covid-19 on the embankment of the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. The first of around 150,000 hearts which will be drawn on several hundred metres of the wall outside St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where Boris Johnson was admitted on contracting Covid last year. Credit: Paul Brown/Alamy Live News

One year ago, an exodus of Biblical proportions took place. We left our offices, synagogues, schools and social circles as the coronavirus turned into a pandemic. 

This week, during our second lockdown Pesach, hopes were raised of our permanent liberation from restrictions with the news that there were no reported Jewish Covid-19 funerals in the week leading up to the festival: a milestone in the timeline of this plague. 

It is worth noting that the seven largest burial societies reported 97 Jewish Covid-19 funerals the week before Pesach last year, and that the most Covid-related funerals reported for a seven-day period was during the week ending 13 April 2020, the third day of Chol Hamoed, when there were 127 funerals.

The virus has claimed the lives of some 900 members our community, and
last weekend’s seders will have been painful for many, with empty seats other than for Elijah. We mourn with those who have been bereaved.

It would be wise not to raise expectations following the latest weekly figures but we can be forgiven for indulging in cautious optimism that the worst might finally be over and brighter days lie ahead. 

Some 30 million people in the UK have now had a first Covid jab and
3.5 million have had two doses. This, together with further news this week that
Jewish over 70s have almost a 90 percent vaccination rate, means we might allow ourselves to look forward to next year in Jerusalem, Finchley, Borehamwood or anywhere else we have been unable to visit since the pandemic took hold. 

With this pleasant anticipation we wish all our readers a happy and peaceful final days of Pesach.

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