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Latest statement on synagogues opening

We have now reached a new era in the pandemic, where restrictions on social gathering have lifted and we have moved to organisations and individuals taking more personal responsibility and choices on how to manage the still high case numbers of covid.

Along with Liberal Judaism and The Masorti Movement, we encourage all of our synagogues to continue applying our ongoing level of thoughtful responsibility and to reopen in a cautious way. We want to prioritise our members’ feelings of safety and comfort while also understanding their spiritual needs. It is the government’s responsibility to protect the NHS, it is ours to ensure that our members feel, and are, secure.

The correct path will look different for every community. Communities should make decisions based on factors such as the ventilation in their buildings, the size and capacity of venues, current case levels of covid and the needs of their members. Leaders should feel empowered that they are making the correct decision for their community.

We are proud that as a Movement of communities we can learn from each other and share best practice going forward into our new normal. Our recent workshop on hybrid services is a wonderful example of this innovation in practice. We encourage thoughtful hybrid ways of working to be strongly considered in our communities. These should consider how the most meaningful parts of the experience can be made accessible for participants wherever they are and avoid one set of those connected feeling as observers or secondary.

You can find our seven principles for safer synagogues, written by Rabbi Josh Levy, here. This is a great resource for considering the principles behind the next steps of reopening.

You can also find more detailed guidance on questions which may help synagogues decide when to reopen and the risks of certain activities here.

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