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Chaos reigned on Monday evening as American seminary girls, due to return to the UK after the winter break, learned that the country’s latest lockdown involves the closure of all colleges.

When they phoned their seminaries to check whether they should still travel to the UK, they were advised not to. One flight was almost delayed as a girl’s luggage had to be removed from the plane.


One British seminary, which does not want to be named, confirmed that American girls were advised not to travel.

A spokesman for Gateshead Jewish Teachers Training College told The Jewish Press on Tuesday morning, “We couldn’t catch in time the girls due to fly back yesterday to tell them not to fly. When they arrive, we will provide online lectures as per the regulations.”

Shuls, too, are struggling to keep up with the rapidly-changing regulations. The week began with large areas of England moved into “Tier 4.” The United Synagogue updated its guidance to shuls, advising that, despite snow having fallen over many areas of England last weekend, “consideration is given to moving services outside, potentially under a canopy.”

Kevin Feddy, president of Holy Law Congregation in Manchester, which was then in “Tier 4,” told The Jewish Press, “The main issue seems to be balancing the extremely cold weather with the need to ensure good ventilation by keeping doors and windows open during services. We recognize this is challenging, but our members’ safety is paramount.”

On Tuesday, when it was clear that, despite the lockdown, services could continue, he added, “I would urge extra vigilance and caution as we walk this tightrope. Some shuls have decided not to continue running services, but we have a large shul, which enables us to continue operating with confidence as long as people adhere to our Covid-19 procedures.”


Honours List Features Many Jews

Jews figured prominently in the New Year’s Honours List this year

A knighthood goes to autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and Board of Deputies chief executive Gillian Merron is to be made a life peer, and Counsel for Domestic Legislation at the House of Common Daniel Greenberg received an Order of the Bath.

CBEs, meanwhile, go to Felicity Waley-Cohen, film producer Michael Kuhn, Richard Ross, and Michael Landy.

OBEs go to former Community Security Trust chief David Delew, cellist Natalie Clein, Wiener Holocaust Library joint president Anthony Spiro, Glaswegian Michael Tobias, who is vice president of the Jewish Genealogical Society, historian Edgar Feuchtwanger, music manager Colin Lester, Dr. Beverly Bergman, and Michael Black.

And MBEs go to singer Craig David, Association of Jewish Refugees head of volunteer and community services Carol Ann Hart, Jewish Association for Mental Illness president Alan Lazarus, Barbara Cline of the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board, Simon Danciger, Simon Lewis, Arthur David Harverd, and Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade volunteer Linda Diamond.


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