Synagogue services in NSW to finally resume
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Synagogue services in NSW to finally resume

Sydney Beth Din: 'We believe it is time for synagogues to reopen and one rule for the entire community is no longer necessary.'

Signs on the doors of Sydney's Central Synagogue in March.
Signs on the doors of Sydney's Central Synagogue in March.

SYNAGOGUE services will finally resume at most shules this weekend after the government eased restrictions to allow up to 50 people plus clergy to attend.

In light of the development, the Sydney Beth Din (SBD), which last week put a pause on the resumption of services after a Moriah student tested positive to COVID-19, will allow services to commence from today (Thursday) as long as there are no new infections in the community.

“Considering [the] significant change in estimation of risk by the government, and expiry of the control period without any meaningful increase in infections, we believe it is time for synagogues to reopen and one rule for the entire community is no longer necessary,” the SBD said this week. 

“However, bearing in mind that government does not necessarily take into account the unique nature of our community and its inherent risks, each community should be guided by their own rabbi and doctors in relation to risk management moving forward.”

The Great Synagogue, which has already been running services limited to 10 worshippers in recent weeks, will now continue to do so with up to 50 attending.

Central Synagogue will reopen on Friday morning, while North Shore Synagogue (NSS) will begin services on Friday night.

“We’re putting all the checks and balances in place, we’re following the guidelines from NSW Health and we’re excited to start up again,” NSS’ Rabbi Paul Lewin said, while noting that lessons will continue on Zoom.

Kehillat Kadima will open on Thursday, while Maroubra Synagogue’s Rabbi Yossi Friedman said he anticipated the shule would open for services this coming Shabbat morning.

Nefesh’s Rabbi Aron Moss said it was likely there would be a “limited service” this Shabbat.

Emanuel Synagogue will begin holding two Shabbat day services commencing next weekend, June 13.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger said the easing of regulations was “sensible and appropriate”.

“I’m confident synagogues are well aware of the risks,” he said.

“Based on their own work and advice provided by the JEMP medical subcommittee, we are well organised, we are ready to undertake religious services as a community in a way that minimises risk and allows a critical part of our communal life to recommence in a way that is cognisant of the health risks.”

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