Police ponder £10,000 fine for organiser of 'large party' at synagogue

Orthodox source says worshippers had held a seudah shlishit and melaveh malkah


Police say they found evidence of “a large party” after visiting a place of worship in Stamford Hill, believed to be a shul, twice on Saturday. 

A Metropolitan Police report said 140 fixed penalty notices, amounting to fines of £39,000, were issued in the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets over the weekend for failure to comply with social distancing rules. 

It said a £10,000 fine was under consideration after officers attended a “place of worship in Stamford Hill, Hackney” after reports from members of the public. 

Officers found evidence of “a large party on the premises being cleared away by staff”. When they returned to the premises later the same day, they found “further evidence of another large party”. 

The organiser was reported “for consideration” of a £10,000 fixed penalty notice. 

An Orthodox source said the venue was a synagogue, adding that worshippers had been holding a seudah shlishit – the third Shabbat meal – and then a melaveh malkah, a post-Shabbat celebration. 

Asked by the JC to confirm that it was a synagogue, the police responded that the officer in charge had chosen not to release the information. 

According to government guidelines, food and drink are permissible if they are essential to an act of worship. But “the sharing of food should be avoided, as should the use of communal vessels”. 

Those giving and receiving food items should “wash their hands thoroughly before and after consumption, or wear gloves”, the guidance states. 

The Met report quoted Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville saying: “While the majority of residents are adhering to the coronavirus regulations and staying at home, the council and police have been working together over the past ten months to ensure that the vital public health rules are followed in public. 

“Although the council doesn’t have the power to take action against individuals who are not complying with social distancing guidance, we are deploying our officers to advise residents, assist the police and support businesses.” 




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