The Jewish Chronicle

Chief Rabbi: Please avoid ‘tragic’ Purim

- BY SIMON ROCKER

CHIEF RABBI Ephraim Mirvis has appealed for a responsibl­e celebratio­n of Purim next week, ensuring that is enjoyed safely within social distancing restrictio­ns.

Where there is no safe option to hear the Megillah in synagogue, it would be permissibl­e to hear a live online recital, Rabbi Mirvis explained in a video message. He recalled that “a year ago, unknown to us, some of our Purim celebratio­ns provided an environmen­t in which the coronaviru­s could spread.

“It was so tragic that on the very day when we celebrate our physical survival, there was danger to our lives and, through us, to others.”

Purim last year occurred a fortnight before Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown.

If men and women could safely go to synagogue to hear the Megillah on both the evening and morning of Purim, they should do, Rabbi Mirvis said. “But if owing to Covid restrictio­ns, this is not possible, and there is no other option available, then you should listen to a live online recital rather than a recording.”

To fulfil the mitzvah of mishloach manot, people should leave their gift of food on the doorstep of the recipient — or have it delivered.

“And why not give mishloach manot this year to those who are vulnerable or living alone? They will certainly appreciate it.

“Let us not do anything this year on Purim which will produce, God forbid, a Chillul Hashem, a desecratio­n of God’s name,” he urged.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregati­ons, the main body for London’s Charedi synagogues, has also issued instructio­ns for the festival. In a notice in English and Hebrew, the union’s rabbis emphasised in red the importance of adhering to “government Covid-19 guidance”.

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