02 July 2020, The Tablet

Back to Shul

Easing the Covid-19 lockdown

Back to Shul

Prayer services and weddings, with a maximum of 30 guests, will be allowed to resume in England from today, albeit with certain conditions such as maintaining social distancing. A Jewish writer and mother is looking forward to the reopening of synagogues with hope and caution

As a child, synagogue was a central part of my life. I attended every Saturday, almost without fail. My father ran the children’s service and our family’s social life was geared around it, from Jewish classes on Sundays to Chanukah parties, barmitzvahs and weddings.

In my teens and twenties, that fell away; lie ins were preferable to services, and I didn’t need an institution to maintain friendships. But since the birth of my son a year ago my husband and I have attended almost every Shabbat. Our synagogue, like many places of worship, runs specific services for toddlers; perfect places for our offspring to be stimulated while we enjoy the liturgy, spend time with friends, and meet new ones.

At the last service we attended, on 14 March, we didn’t shake hands and we made liberal use of hand sanitiser, whispering about whether we’d be back next week. I don’t think we seriously considered it might be three months before we’d return.

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