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Covid-19 Coronavirus Update: 16 March 2020

In the light of the Prime Minister’s statement today and the advice that we have been given we are suspending all shul activities immediately. We do this with the greatest of regret but feel that we have no option in the interests of our community and our responsibility towards the wider community. We will be putting in place a range of “virtual” provision utilising suitable accessible technology and more information on this will follow.


Thus, all services including midweek Shacharit will cease. Haderech and Kehilatainu (Cheder) will also be cancelled from now until further notice. We will endeavour to provide each class with weekly online resources for home study which will be a combination of video links, presentations and project work and will email classes directly. For those scheduled to have Bar/Bat Mitzvahs in the coming months (up until the summer) we will be in contact with you directly to discuss options and scenarios going forward. For Bar/Bat Mitzvahs from August onwards we will currently keep with the existing plans and review when we have a clearer picture. All additional activities for children and teens are also cancelled until further notice. There will be separate communication to parents regarding Gan Alon.


Our priority now becomes caring for each other and supporting people in need.


Caring for each other and COVID-19


Firstly, we would like to thank the many people who have already volunteered and offered support to deliver food, collect prescriptions, phone and chat to anyone who is isolated (and isolating), frail or vulnerable in some way. It is so appreciated and enables us to put a system in place to support and care for one another at this anxious time.


We have identified the needs across the community as best we can and have already made contact with some of our most vulnerable members and will continue to do so in the coming days. But we can only work with the information we have and circumstances can change daily. So if you or anyone you know is feeling isolated, vulnerable or in need of practical assistance please get in touch with the office at


In case of emergency, you can call our Executive Director, Claire Mandel on 07976 973252 or Rabbi Wittenberg on 07808 520980.


Coping with Self Isolation and well being


Human contact is a basic instinct and it is understandable that the idea of being forced to be alone is frightening. “Mind” has a list of some great ideas and resources to help keep spirits up. The link is here.

There is a lot of information there that can help you plan and structure your time and keep yourself occupied. There is also lots of advice if you find yourself struggling with anxiety and/or low mood, with useful strategies on the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website which you can link to here.


We will be publishing a straightforward guide to technology to enable as many people as possible to use the remote options provided and to help people keep in touch with one another.


Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg adds: No message in the almost forty years that I have had the privilege of belonging to the New North London has left me with a heavier heart. It feels symbolic that we should have to send it in the very week in which read the Torah portion Vayakhel, which describes how Moses gathered the Children of Israel together.


But that must be our inspiration: we will find ways to look after each other, remain connected, learn Torah, pray and seek out what is sacred and beautiful in life, despite the fact that we cannot gather in person. By phone, on line, by living ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ we will discover new ways to be together with each other, with those we love, with those who especially need our care, with our own souls and with our God.


As in the prayer lefanai Uriel umei’achorai Rephael, may God’s light guide us and God’s healing protect us. May God be with everyone, as our whole society, and countries across the world, work together for the safety and wellbeing of us all.


Richard Gold and Paul Harris

Joint Chairs

You can find the most up-to-date guidance from Public Health England here.
The Torah instructs us ‘to take great care of our lives.’ Our health and the health of those around us takes priority over virtually everything.

We repeat our reminder to follow usual preventative measures that reduce spread of viruses:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home when you are sick, however minor your symptoms might be
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then bin the tissue. If tissue is not available, cough and sneeze in your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects such as keyboard

Prayer for public health and safety

Mi Sheberakh Imoteinu Sarah, Rivka, Rachel v'Leah,
Ve’Avoteinu Avraham, Yitzhak, v'Yaakov,
Hu yevarekh viyechazek otanu, veyaggein aleinu,
al kehiloteinu ve’al artseinu,
veyatsileinu vechol yoshvei tevel
mimagefah umikol pega ra.
Hu yishmor al kol ha’oskim betsorkei tsibbur be’emunah,
veyishlach refuah lechol hacholim
God, who blessed our ancestors Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah,
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless us and give us strength and resilience.
Shield us, our communities, our country, and all the inhabitants of the world from plague and disaster.
Protect everyone working for the good of the community, especially those engaged in medical care, in public health and in providing for our basic needs
in hygiene, food and safety.
God, send healing to everyone who is ill. Help us to care for each other with sensitivity and kindness. Guide us in supporting everyone who is worried
about vulnerable family and friends across the globe.
God, be with us and sustain our spirit, as it says in Your name in the Psalms
Immo anochi betsarah,
I am with you in your troubles
and let us say: Amen
Thu, 9 April 2020 15 Nisan 5780