Shul-goers urged to take Covid test before new year services

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Shul-goers urged to take Covid test before new year services

United Synagogue recommends its shuls require negative lateral flow tests from attendees on eve of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to prevent outbreaks.

Mill Hill United synagogue under Covid restrictions, including social distancing and masks (Credit: Marc Morris)
Mill Hill United synagogue under Covid restrictions, including social distancing and masks (Credit: Marc Morris)

The United Synagogue is urging members to take a Covid test before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The new guidance, introduced because of an expected higher number of attendees at the services, also states that those living with a positive Covid case or identified as a contact should not attend.

Those blowing the shofar are being asked to record a negative lateral flow test on erev yom tov, while also keeping two metres away from everyone else when blowing the shofar.

At community social events, guests might be expected to demonstrate their Covid status before attending. The policy also recommends that services for youth should be held in a separate building, or outdoors, because of higher infection rates in children.

Rabbi Nicky Liss, who helped develop the guidance, said: “Our communities have been carefully planning for the upcoming Yamim Noraim for many weeks now and the latest United Synagogue guidance takes into account the recent changes in government guidance. 

“After the challenges posed by the pandemic last Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we know that our shuls are looking forward to welcoming back bigger crowds this year but will still want to make sure members feel comfortable and can daven safely.”

A range of online services will be streamed from the movement’s broadcasting site,, for those who do not feel comfortable attending in person.

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