Britain’s Reform and Liberal movements have taken the drastic step of holding funerals without mourners as the death toll from coronavirus mounts.
In a statement on Wednesday, rabbis from the two bodies said only clergy would be present at burials and cremations.
“In order to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our clergy who will continue to officiate at funeral services during this unprecedented crisis, we are now ruling that all funerals and cremations will happen with clergy present, but no mourners at all,” they said.
“Even one mourner could inadvertently be a carrier of Covid 19.”
They said they were balancing din v’rachamim – justice and mercy - with this decision “and we know this is hard but unavoidable.”
Funeral directors would help ensure services could be streamed online live.
Earlier the JC revealed a Reform rabbi had forbade mourners from attending the funeral of a man in his 70s who is to be buried at Cheshunt Cemetery on Thursday, with the man's family watching the service online.
The United Synagogue has postponed all stonesettings and limited funeral to attendance to immediate family.