SYNAGOGUES are back in business after restrictions were eased in NSW this week following the state’s 70 per cent vaccination milestone.
It comes as Montefiore welcomed visitors back to its residential campuses, saying it was thrilled residents and their loved ones were being reunited and a small group of volunteers was back onsite.
As of Monday this week, places of worship can operate as long as all attendees wear masks and are fully vaccinated, and capacity is limited to one person per four square metres.
“We’re grateful that we are able to be together,” said Rabbinical Council of NSW president Rabbi Nochum Schapiro.
“It goes without saying that we have to abide by all the guidelines that NSW Health has put out. We’re confident that the Jewish community of NSW, that has shown tremendous sensitivity … will continue to do so going forward.”
The Great Synagogue’s Rabbi Benjamin Elton said he was “absolutely delighted and excited”.
“The first service took place at seven o’clock on Monday morning,” he enthused.
“We’re particularly pleased that the choir is going to be allowed to sing because that’s such an important part of our service and our congregants love it so much.”
Emanuel Synagogue’s Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins said, “We know by those registering already how excited people are to be in synagogue together, even if they cannot yet sing along to the prayers.
“It demonstrates the importance of relational activity and social interaction.”
North Shore Synagogue’s Rabbi Paul Lewin also expressed excitement, while stressing the importance of pre-registration and following the regulations.
“Congregants are feeling positive to return,” he said.
Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Levi Wolff said the shule was holding “a very special l’chaim” this Friday night to welcome people back.
Newtown Synagogue’s Rabbi Eli Feldman noted that “this Shabbat we are celebrating a bar mitzvah for one of our members, so it is a double simcha”.
With life starting to return to normal, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark reminded the community to take care.
“We continue to encourage everyone to go get tested if you feel unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms, even if you are vaccinated,” he said.
“For those who are fully vaccinated, now is the time to enjoy the freedoms many have been longing for – including visiting friends and family, and returning to our communal institutions.
“For those yet to receive their first or second dose, we encourage you to book in as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Jewish day school students will start returning to the classroom from next Monday, with all year groups back to face-to-face learning by Monday, October 25.