Reform movement to shut synagogues amid coronavirus outbreak

They asked shuls to 'close your doors but not your community'



The Reform movement has asked affiliated shuls to close their doors as part of the latest measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance, issued last night, said that as the government had included faith groups in the list of social gatherings that should be avoided, and so all synagogues that had not already closed should.

In a letter to members, signed by senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and chair of the Reform assembly Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky, they said: "While the physical doors of the synagogue may be closed, our communities are open. We are meeting with communitites on a weekly bases to do all we can to offer our help as we adapt to the current situation.

They added that, in lieu of Pesach, Reform siddur and haggadah would shortly be made available online, as would youth activities from the Youth Department and RSY-Netzer.

In their online guidance on the virus, they added that a minyan could be online rather than in person and that "our synagogues can continue to serve our members."

Rabbi Janner-Klausner has called for those needing moral support to get in touch, and would be livestreaming her second night of passover seder from home.

The letter continued: "At the Pesach seder, we read that in every generation our community has faced challenges, but our traditions and our community have enabled us to overcome them.

"That remains true today - our values as Reform Jews are as vital now as ever. We must recall the ultimate value of life and ensure we do our bit to suppress the spread of this illness to save lives."

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