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Update regarding virtual vs face-to-face services at Jacksons Row (28th October)
In March, we closed our synagogue building as part of the national lockdown along with all the other Reform congregations. Many of you have since been asking when we might be able to resume face-to-face services at Jacksons Row. I am writing now because I am aware that some of our Reform communities are either reintroducing, or planning to reintroduce socially distanced services.
I have to tell you that our Executive considered this option and have decided unanimously that now is not the time to attempt any form of reopening of Jacksons Row. The reasoning behind our decision is threefold:
- The Greater Manchester area is currently in the highest tier of lockdown
- We have a high proportion of elderly members who we must not put at further risk of COVID – sticking to the basic principle of Jewish tradition, פקוח נפש, the importance of human life. The fact is that an increasing number of Covid-19 cases can be traced back to public places.
- Unlike many other Synagogues, our Shul sanctuary does not have WiFi or a built-in camera facility, so if we resumed services, we would not be able to offer members the ability to participate via Zoom or watch a live stream
Of course, this is a very fluid situation that we will keep under constant review, but our decision is unlikely to change until the number of new cases in the UK comes down to much lower levels, a situation which is unlikely before next year.
We look forward to being with you before too long,
Danny Savage BEM
Every Friday evening at 18h30 and Saturday morning at 10h30am our Shabbat services are live on Zoom and shared by Facebook
And every day you can join RJ:TV, the Online Community for Reform Judaism at reformjudaism.org.uk/rjtv
Hear how our own Jack Adam Morris survived lockdown life by maintaining and strengthening his connection with us in these challenging times. A wonderful ‘keeping faith’ initiative from BBC Radio sees Jack share how being connected to us helped his sense of belonging to community, whilst also protecting his own mental health.
Effect of COVID on the community: Iisten to thoughts by Jack Morris on BBC Radio Manchester here