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Many English Jews are cautiously optimistic about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for easing the lockdown.

Should certain conditions be met, residents at old-age facilities will be allowed one indoor visitor each starting on March 8. After taking a Covid test and wearing personal protective equipment, that visitor will be allowed to hold hands with the resident.


Daniel Carmel-Brown, chief executive of Jewish Care, London’s largest social care organization, said, “We will follow the cautious approach suggested by the government with regards to the lifting of restrictions, namely starting small and moving forward only once it is established that no adverse impact was caused during the previous stage.”

Manchester Heathlands Village is being even more cautious. Heathlands fundraising and market director Raphi Bloom told The Jewish Press, “We are not facilitating hand-held visits at the moment. Despite the government changing its guidelines from March 8, we are not planning more visiting for a couple of weeks till our residents have had their second vaccination, which we hope will be in the middle of March.

“We feel it is more sensible to wait till they have had second doses and a week after that, when some extra immunity has kicked in.”

Residents currently see visitors behind glass or Perspex in visitor pods.

Chief executive Mark Cunningham said, “It feels to me like we are so close to the finishing line that to not wait a bit longer is a false economy. The level of immunity that the second dose gives is hugely significant.”

The government’s coronavirus road map also raises the possibility of outdoor minyanim taking place over Pesach. By then, two households should be able to meet outside.

Starting on April 15, the law will also allow 15 people to attend a wedding. That number should increase to 30 on May 17, at which point bar mitzvah parties of the same number will also be permitted.

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A swastika and racist graffiti have been daubed on a war memorial in the North Wales resort of Rhyl. North Wales police are investigating the incident.


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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.