The Jewish Chronicle

We must now ensure the new normal is even better

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June 21 may seem like aeons away, but there will be few of us whose sense of relief that a tangible end to pandemic restrictio­ns is in sight does not outweigh any frustratio­n that it is still four months away at the earliest. Of all the staging posts on the way to full easing, the government’s roadmap shows that it is indoor gatherings that are most problemati­c — and these restrictio­ns have weighed the most heavily on our community, whether in shul, care homes or simply the usual family mixing that we have always taken for granted. Once again, seder nights will not be the gatherings we long for. But for the first time in a year, we now have genuine hope of a form of normality returning. Politician­s hope to ‘build back better’ and it is important that our community takes heed of this. For all the destructio­n and desolation of the pandemic, there have been some positive changes that should remain with us — such as the ease with which we can take part in meetings online. Nothing beats human contact, but in future we should combine the two: physical presence for those that can, and the opportunit­y to participat­e digitally for others. There are other examples of improvemen­ts, too. For example, synagogues have provided welcome phone calls to those who live alone, both for conversati­on and as a check on how they are doing. We relish the lifting of restrictio­ns, but let us ensure that the new normal is even better than the old.

We now have a genuine hope of a form of normality returning’

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