Further updated Covid guidance in response to Omicron
Date Uploaded: 
Tuesday 21st December 2021

Dear Rabbis, Rebbetzens and Chairs,

 

We thank you again for your outstanding leadership during this Covid ultra-marathon we are all experiencing together.  We know how appreciated you are by your communities, who in turn, help to sustain us all during these uncertain times.

 

Omicron is clearly spreading very quickly.  We now know it is more transmissible than Delta, and of the vital need for anyone eligible to have their booster as soon as possible to strengthen their protection. 

 

Due to this rapid spread, we are making the following additions to our policies with immediate effect:

  • A requirement that all attendees (over 11) to shul activities be asked to take a lateral flow test before attending. Tests should be taken as soon as possible before attending and immediately before Shabbat in that case. Where an individual is attending more than once per day, only one test is needed before the first visit.
  • A recommendation to pause non-service in-person programming, moving such activities online. This does not include regular shiurim attached to services.
  • In regard to Kiddushim, where communities continue to offer these during this period, they should adopt additional safety measures and be mindful to avoid anyone who is uncomfortable feeling pressured to attend. Examples of the safety measures include holding Kiddushim outside and/or seated at tables with good spacing. Alternatively, where there is an Eruv, Kiddush bags could be reintroduced.
  • Shiva services run under the auspices of our shuls should follow our approaches for services in general. If Rabbis or officiants are not comfortable the arrangements meet these requirements, then they should feel under no obligation to attend.  We should also be cognisant that there may be many who wish to run hybrid or zoom-only Shivas.

All other policies remain in place – and we would particularly stress again the importance of good ventilation, distancing, face masks, hand hygiene etc. 

 

Recognising the wider list of potential symptoms with  Omicron, we stress again that anyone who is at all unwell must not attend – even if they feel that they just have a minor cold.

 

If and when Government guidance is updated, we will amend our policy accordingly, and will keep these additional measures under continual review.

 

We take this opportunity to wish you and your families well over the winter break,

 

With best wishes

 

 

 

 

 

Steven Wilson 

Chief Executive 

United Synagogue 

 

 

Rabbi Nicky Liss

On behalf of the Rabbinical Council of the

United Synagogue