Pesach gatherings in prospect following PM's roadmap out of lockdown

United Synagogue welcomes the opportunity for 'special reunions' in outdoor settings over the festival


The United Synagogue has welcomed the prospect of members meeting family and friends outdoors on Pesach following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a roadmap to come out of pandemic restrictions.

From March 29, two days after the festival begins, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed.

Chief executive Steven Wilson said: “After an extremely challenging winter I am particularly grateful that our members are likely to be able to see their loved ones safely over Pesach in outdoor settings, albeit in limited numbers.

“We know that many of our members have not seen their children and grandchildren, their parents and grandparents, for many months and rejoice in how special these reunions are going to be."

Having read the government’s 68-page Covid-response document which sets out a potential timetable for the gradual easing of restrictions, “we are excited to work with our community leaders to think through how we can fully reopen our synagogues and reintroduce in-person programming carefully”, Dr Wilson added.

However, despite the plans for relaxing lockdown measures, “the situation remains very serious and so all United Synagogue social distancing measures will remain in place. We will continue to assess and be led by the data and will provide guidance for our communities in due course as we have done for the past 12 months.

“Finally, as we look ahead to Purim this week, we must not let the optimism provided by the vaccines and news about the easing of lockdown lead to unsafe changes in our behaviour.

“For our members able to attend a Megillah reading in person, they must follow full social distancing guidelines. We also have a wonderful online programme to complement the digital events being put on by our communities so that everyone is able to celebrate safely.”

The relaxation on meeting family and friends outdoors should also make outdoor minyans more feasible. With six people or two households allowed to gather in a garden, two adjacent gardens should be able to form a minyan.

From April 12 weddings for up to 15 people will be allowed in England. And from May 17, the hope is to increase the number to 30. Barmitzvah parties for 30 people will also be permitted.

Care homes are considering the implications of the plan to allow indoor visits by a single person to a resident from March 8.



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