Synagogue member ‘seriously ill’ with coronavirus

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Synagogue member ‘seriously ill’ with coronavirus

St John's Wood shul says there is 'no need for members to self-isolate' after congregant was last on the premises on 29 February

Google maps screenshot of the St John's Wood synagogue
Google maps screenshot of the St John's Wood synagogue

A London synagogue has announced that one of its members is “seriously ill” with coronavirus.

St John’s Wood United Synagogue emailed members with the development today, outlining the individual was last on the premises on February 29, stressing there is “no need for members to self-isolate”.

This comes after communal organisations have been cancelling major events as a precaution, in a bid to prevent the spread of the infection.

SJW shul said it had been following guidance issued by the United Synagogue (US), which includes its members not kissing mezuzahs, prayer books and the Torah scrolls, in addition to staying away from shul if showing any flu-like symptoms.

It told members: “We write with the sad news that one of our members is seriously ill in hospital having contracted Coronavirus. They were last in our synagogue on Shabbat morning February 29 and have not been on the premises since.”

After the US contacted Public Health England on its behalf to ask for guidance, SJW said: “Based on the timings of when the individual was in our synagogue and when he became ill, they were not concerned. They have confirmed that there is no need for members to self-isolate. They have also confirmed that it is safe for activities to continue at St John’s Wood Synagogue.

“However, should members develop symptoms, meaning that they have shortness of breath, an aggressive cough (worse than a regular cough) or fever with a temperature above 38 degrees, they should self-isolate and call the NHS for advice by dialling 111 or going online.”

Ahead of an expected government update on the spread on Thursday, SJW shul added: “Without wishing to cause alarm, please do share this communication with friends who were with you in shul on February 29 and might not read this email, particularly non-members. Finally, we wish a refuah sheleimah (full recovery) to our member and ask that you respect their privacy.”

Richard Verber, Communications Director, United Synagogue, said: “We were very sorry to hear that one of our members at St John’s Wood Synagogue is seriously unwell. We pray for a refuah sheleimah, a full and speedy recovery.

“St John’s Wood Synagogue has followed the correct protocol as advised by Public Health England in terms of establishing when their member fell ill, if there might be any risk to other members and ensuring members were informed in a timely manner.

“Public Health England have advised us that it is safe for St John’s Wood Synagogue to remain open and services and activities will continue as normal for now. Clearly the situation is changing daily and we await updated government advice today after which we will share further guidance with our members.”

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: