Updated Covid guidance for Member Synagogues, November 30, 2021
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Tuesday 30th November 2021


Dear Rabbis, Rebbetzens and Chairs,


Thank you all for your ongoing leadership and in particular, for everything you are doing to return our communities to more normal activities and experiences. 

We are sure that everyone is disappointed to hear about the new Covid-19 Omicron variant, and hope and pray that the vaccines continue to provide an effective shield.  However, following the Prime Minister’s announcements on Motzei Shabbat mandating face coverings again in certain spaces, we feel it is appropriate that we take some additional precautions whilst the impact of this variant is being fully assessed.

Our existing guidance for prayer services already requires a minimum of social distancing or face masks, and many synagogues are already going beyond this.

In addition to the current guidance, we are strongly recommending that the following be made mandatory in your synagogues:

  • Face masks for all attendees (apart from the service leader or speaker) in Shabbat morning services (and any other services with large attendances) as well as at least 1m distancing.

We recommend that this approach is followed for all shul services but recognise that it may not be necessary for those with small attendances in large and very well ventilated spaces.

Our focus at this stage is on shul services given the religious obligation to attend, and the desire to ensure everybody who would like to attend feels able to do so. 

Other provisions set out in our existing guidance (such as ventilation, testing, not attending if ill etc) remain vital. 

We will provide further guidance as necessary when the Government position and risk posed by the Omicron variant become clearer. 

We will keep these additional requirements under continual review.

Please do not hesitate to be in contact if you have any queries.


Wishing you, your families and your communities a Chanukah filled with Simcha and good health and may all our tefillos by the Chanukah lights be answered positively and quickly!


With our thanks,





Steven Wilson

Chief Executive

United Synagogue


Rabbi Nicky Liss

On behalf of the Rabbinical Council of the

United Synagogue