Celebrating Purim 2021 safely
Sadly people are going to have to celebrate Purim a little differently this year due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
This year Purim takes place from Thursday 24 to Sunday 26 February. The usual customs for the holiday of donating to charity, dressing up in colourful outfits, street dancing and the reading of the Megillah in synagogue will need to be adapted, to keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
To ensure people are kept safe during the holiday local representatives from the Orthodox Jewish community in Hackney have been working with the Council and the Police to plan and ensure people have the information they need to celebrate the holiday safely.
Usually there is a series of street parades as part of the festivities. However, this year, people are instead celebrating in their own homes with their households or support bubbles. Charity collections will be coordinated through synagogues and risk assessments and multiple religious services are being put in place to ensure places of worship are covid-19 safe and people are able to stay 2 metres apart at all times.
Children will still be able to dress up and schools are putting on special Purim activities that they can even take home to also enjoy on the Saturday.
I want to wish everyone celebrating in Hackney and beyond, a happy Purim. I know celebrations will be a bit different this year, but it is important that we keep each other safe from coronavirus and don’t celebrate in the normal way. I will miss the traditional celebrations in Stamford Hill, but I hope this time next year we will be able to celebrate together again. Until we see an end to the pandemic and all the restrictions are lifted we will still need to remember hands, face, space and keep each other safe.
We are really grateful to Hackney Council for working with the community in the run-up to Purim, and throughout COVID. We wish everyone a happy Purim and know that we will all be making a special effort to celebrate safely and follow the guidance.
We wish all our Jewish residents a very happy Purim. We are aware of how difficult it will be, particularly for children, to celebrate Purim due to the current Covid restrictions in place; so we are working closely with Rabbis, members of the community, the local authority and other partners to enable people to celebrate safely whilst adhering to the Covid safety guidance and legislation.
A guide to celebrating Purim 2021 safely
As always, Megillah will be read in shul. This year there will be further readings of Megillah in shuls, at different times, to avoid people having to hear the Megillah in private houses.
Gabboim are responsible for ensuring that the covid guidance is followed in shuls.
Please follow the rules set by your shul, including washing your hands often, social distancing and mask wearing.
- Giving or receiving food and parcels to family, friends and neighbours is permitted
- Food or parcels must be delivered at the front door only and ensure social distancing at all times.
- It is not permitted to enter another person’s house unless you are from the same household/family and/or support bubble
- Fundraising and giving should be done in shuls or schools, not door to door.
- Do not shake hands when greeting, parting or offering thanks.
- Group fundraising, with or without vans or coaches, is not allowed.
- Families can celebrate the Purim meal only with their family who they live with and support bubbles.
- When celebrating in a shul, avoid playing recorded music at a volume that may result in people using raised voices or shouting to communicate with each other.
- Dressing up is a key way to celebrate Purim and is permitted
- You may still celebrate at home or in your back garden with people you live with or who are in your support bubble
- Gatherings with others are not permitted
- In order to stop crowds gathering, mobile music systems such as loud speakers in vehicles are not permitted.
- Street or public dancing is not allowed
- Gatherings outside of venues are not permitted
Just like every year people can fulfill all the mitzvos of Purim, but some things need to be done differently this year. You should only go out for essential purposes. The virus is dangerous and we all need to do what we can to protect ourselves and our family and friends. Happy Purim.