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Rabbi warns about Purim celebration Covid Risk | Judaism

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The ultra-Orthodox rabbi in northern London issued unprecedented guidance on the eve of Purim’s Jewish holidays to avoid repeating last year’s festivals that led to a surge in Covid infections.

The advice was issued by the Labinate Office of the Orthodox Hebrew Congregation Union in the form of a notice displayed on the synagogue and shared by the WhatsApp group before the 24-hour festival starting Thursday sunset.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis also announced a video plea on Twitter, stating that the tragic events of last year should not be repeated. He urged people to deliver parcels to family and friends with traditional Mishroach Manos food gifts by placing the parcels at the front door and returning to a safe distance.

To commemorate the survival of the endangered Jews in Persia in the 5th century BC, Prim is a carnival-like festival featuring costumes, music, dance and heavy alcohol. Jews attend synagogues to hear readings from the Book of Esther, families gather for festive meals, and charity collections take place on door-to-door or on the streets.

Last year, Prim was celebrated two weeks before the first blockade of Covid, but viral infections were already on the rise. In the next few weeks, the ultra-Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox community in Stamford Hill, northern London, was hit particularly hard by hospitalization and death. Almost two-thirds of London’s ultra-Orthodox Jews were infected with Covid-19, up to nine times the national average, last year, according to a study by the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine earlier this month.

This year, the community rabbi said that the number of people on the street should be kept to a minimum and people should not enter each other’s homes. In a break with customs, religious students do not tour the area in a van to make a charitable collection.

A festive meal, Sudaprim should be limited to close family members only. According to Rabbi, a major event last year before everyone knew how the virus would spread could have caused many people to get sick.

In an important footnote to their notice, they add: I would like to emphasize the importance of following the government’s Covid-19 guidance.

A new message about Covid arrived from the rabbi after police discovered an illegal wedding attended by 150 people at Haredi Girls’ School in Stamford Hill last month. Community leaders blamed the event, but it became clear that the blockade rules were regularly ignored in the Haredi community, with large weddings taking place several times a week.

Last week, a senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi said such weddings should be stopped. Weddings are the heart of Judaism There is a great need and a strong urge to have a wedding, but we need to brake, said Rabbi Herschel Gluck.

Rabbi, a major synagogue in the region, also preaches the importance of adhering to government guidelines.

The eight-day Passover, which begins on March 27, may also be constrained by Covid’s rules. Last year it was the first major religious event under the blockade, followed soon by Easter and Ramadan.

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