Happy New Year from the Board of Deputies and Health Secretary

In advance of Rosh Hashanah, we encourage the Jewish community to ensure that New Year celebrations are safe for everyone.

Many synagogal bodies are recommending that lateral flow tests are taken by members in advance of attending synagogue services to ensure a Covid-safe environment, in addition to other social distancing measures. NHS Test and Trace notes that 1 in 3 people testing positive for Covid-19 are not displaying symptoms, so asymptomatic testing remains key to identifying infections and stopping transmission in communities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, said:

“I would like to wish everyone in the Jewish community a fantastic Rosh Hashanah and a healthy and happy new year.”

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health and Security Agency, said:

“Working with local communities to help keep them safe is a critical part of the work the UK Health Security Agency carries out on a daily basis, with local leaders collaborating with Test and Trace to improve detection of positive cases and protect more people, more quickly.

“Local level partnerships are instrumental in the ongoing national response to controlling COVID-19 and I am delighted that our testing and tracing capabilities are helping to make these kinds of celebrations as safe as possible.

“Around one in three people with COVID-19 do not display symptoms, meaning anyone can infect someone close to them unwittingly. Our work with the Jewish Community to encourage its members to get tested regularly is just one way in which we are helping one another to return to a more normal way of life.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said:

“The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most sacred days in the Jewish calendar. For many of our communities, this may be the first large synagogue services held in many months, which is sure to be an exciting and inspiring occasion. We know that the denominational bodies and community have put in place safety recommendations due to the ongoing pandemic, including suggesting lateral flow tests are taken and that masks are worn. Whilst we are proud that vaccine uptake in the Jewish community appears to be excellent, there is no room for complacency and we encourage all members of the community to ensure that New Year this year is Covid-safe, as well as sweet.”

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