West London Synagogue shuts Sunday cheder

Concerns over coronavirus prompted decision by head of education



West London Synagogue have opted to shut their Sunday cheder over concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

In an email to parents sent on Sunday, WLS Head of Education Gil Reshef said they would be ending the current term two weeks early.

They plan to return after the Easter break on 26 April, but said that parents would be “updated closer to the date.”

In the meantime, educational materials would be sent to parents for their children to work with at home.

Mr Reshef said in the email that it had been a “difficult decision”, stating: “Please know that it is with heavy heart that we have made this decision and I do hope this will not affect anyone too severely.”

He added: “I wish you all a good health and I hope this will all be behind us as soon as possible."

The shul's Senior Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger has decided to step away from communal events after a colleague tested positive for coronavirus.

She told the JC: “Though medical advice was that I need not self-isolate because I had no symptoms of the infection, in consultation with my colleagues at West London Synagogue, I decided that because we have elderly and vulnerable people within our community it would do no harm for me to hold back from attending  communal events for the time being.”

She added that the synagogue had introduced “a range of measures to protect staff, contractors, members and visitors coming into the building for events and services.

"We have always emphasised caring for the elderly and the vulnerable, never more so than in the current climate.”

WLS confirmed Rabbi Neuberger had not participated in the most recent Saturday Shabbat service and Rabbi Helen Freeman read her sermon in her place.

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