Updated 1 June 2020 – this page will be updated regularly
The following update has been issued by the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS): In accordance with Jewish practice, the health of the living is most important.
Attendance at funerals will now be allowed for a maximum of 5 people, who will be socially distanced, although we strongly advise that holding a remote funeral is safer for all concerned This decision has been taken with Din V’Rachamim (Justice and Mercy), as we understand that families are very anxious to be able to attend where possible. However, the final decision will rest with the individual rabbi, as some will not be willing or able to take a service where there is a gathering, and in that case, we will continue as we have done with no attendees, this will protect our staff, the clergy and those in attendance, and all burials will be graveside. Anyone in excess of the permitted numbers will be required to remain in their cars.
Mourners who are either shielding themselves or living with anyone shielding are recommended to not attend the grounds. Social distancing rules regarding driving to the grounds should be adhered to for your own safety. The JJBS will not be accountable if anyone contracts Covid-19 at a funeral.
The Ohel (prayer hall) will remain closed. Washing facilities will be available with hand sanitizers.
We will continue broadcasting the service on WhatsApp, Zoom, or Skype etc., as even where there are 5 attendees there will be many people who would like to show their support by being in virtual attendance. You may also wish to do the Shiva in this way – most services are being carried out on Zoom.
We have resumed carrying out the mitzvah of Tahara.
Whilst no date has yet been set, there will be memorial services held for all funerals held during the period of closure which will be arranged by the synagogue via the JJBS, at which the JJBS staff and rabbis will be available to assist with El Malei Rachamim and Kaddish, and for burials, families will have the opportunity to put a small amount of earth on the grave to complete the filling in process so that they have taken part in the burial of their loved one.
The situation regarding Stone settings is being reviewed but at the moment most stone settings are cancelled unless you want them on zoom or are happy to just have immediate family – no more than 5 people plus the rabbi. Again, we will update this. The masons are continuing to erect stones so that graves are marked. Visits to the grounds are allowed but please call the day before so that we can make sure that you avoid funerals.
To view this guidance in PDF form please click here.