Government must intervene to close Stamford Hill synagogues, health worker urges

The healthcare professional told the JC that some religious institutions in Hackney stayed open this weekend


A healthcare professional who works with the Charedi community has called for the government to intervene to force the closure of synagogues.

The worker, who has family in Stamford Hill, urged the authorities to act after reports that some among the Charedi community were not observing the recommended practices of social distancing.

While Strictly Orthodox rabbis in north-west London largely closed the doors of their steibls before the weekend, some religious institutions have remained open in Hackney.

In Stamford Hill, according to the source, minyanim were staggered in synagogues over Shabbat to prevent large numbers congregating. One local said there were minyan where men kept two metres apart.

But the source, who wished to remain anonymous because he maintains close contacts with the Strictly Orthodox community in the area, told the JC that there were still too many people in close proximity.

“People are touching the same surfaces, the same siddirum,” the health worker said. “I believe the community is susceptible to the virus because they are so close knit”.

One pre-Pesach bazaar was reportedly held today, and some schools and yeshivot were said to be open, according to the source.

“If necessary, the Mayor of London or the government should intervene. We are talking about saving lives,”  he said.

Meanwhile, a group of Jewish doctors have appealed to members of the Stamford Hill community to take precautions, saying it was "at a higher risk than most of the other communities". 

In a notice which is circulating on social media, they warned, "You are fully responsible for deaths that occur as a result of ignoring this advice."

Calling for everyone to stay at home and to avoid crowded shopping, they said there should be "no minyonim anywhere" and any shiurim - religious classes - should be online or by telephone only.

They said there had "numerous deaths this weekend in Golders Green. Hospitals are oversubscribed and many of your loved ones may not be admitted to hospital for treatable conditions due to lack of beds."



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