Freedom Day: Masks could go at United Synagogue shuls under new guidelines

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Freedom Day: Masks could go at United Synagogue shuls under new guidelines

Rabbis have been told shul-goers should socially distance and wear masks if they cannot, under new rules from United Synagogue leaders.

Synagogue service in Edgware under lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic (Marc Morris Photography)
Synagogue service in Edgware under lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic (Marc Morris Photography)

Masks could be dropped at some United Synagogue shuls from Monday, under a new policy, as long as social distancing can be maintained.

In rules sent to shul leaders yesterday, the movement said a distance of at least 1m must be maintained, or masks must be worn – although it recommends keeping distance even if masks are worn as good practice.

The guidelines set out a number of rules, which all shuls in the movement have been ordered to follow, but leaves much up to rabbis to decide for themselves, including on whether to have “mask only” zones in synagogue.

In an email to rabbis, communities director Jo Grose, said: “Whilst we are excited to begin to return to normal communal life, we are mindful that Covid will be with us for the foreseeable future and that the current infection rate is high. Consequently, we must proceed with caution.”

Among the rules sent to shuls include forbidding the use of shared objects during kiddush and the use of indoor air conditioning where there is no fresh air from outside. Synagogues are being ordered to ensure good ventilation at all times.

Recommendations, which can be adapted by rabbis to suit the needs of their synagogue, include a suggestion to introduce a ‘Covid pass’ for simchas, where attendees would have to demonstrate either a negative test or vaccination status before being allowed to attend.

Rabbis are also being advised to discourage physical greetings, such as hugs or handshakes, and to make sure no-one attends services if they feel unwell.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: