BES Shul Reopening FAQs

Below you will find some key questions around the reopening of BES religious services. We anticipate this document will be updated over time to reflect changes or further clarifications.

Click here to register your BES Shul (Weekday & Sunday) attendance request.

Click here to register your BES Shul (Shabbat) attendance request.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When is BES reopening?

A. We are planning to begin our reopening process with Mincha/Maariv. The first services held will take place at 7:30 pm on Monday 6th July 2020 in the Main Shul at Croxdale Road.

Q. Which services will run once BES reopens?

A. The initial plan involves 3 phases each developing over a 2-week period:

Phase 1 will be the gradual opening of weekday services starting with Mincha/Maariv and moving on to weekday Shacharit. The first Mincha/Maariv will be on 6th July at 7:30 pm in the Main Shul at Croxdale Road. The First weekday Shacharit will be on Sunday 12th July at 8:30 am (Monday-Friday services will be at 7:30 am)

Phase 2 will begin to introduce Shabbat services on Friday night – this is tentatively scheduled to commence on 24th July at 7:30 pm at both Croxdale and Yavneh/Southside. We will also begin weekday smachot as needed.

Phase 3 will begin to introduce Shabbat Morning services this is tentatively scheduled to commence on the 8th August at 9:30 am at both Croxdale and Yavneh

Q. Will there be restrictions on how many people can attend services?

A. Yes – there are strict restrictions to comply with Government guidelines and United Synagogue Policy. We will be offering up to 90 spaces for weekday services in phase 1 and adhering to strict 2m social distancing.

Q. How do I get a place at a service?

A. Anyone can register to attend our services and places will only be available to those who have registered for a place within the allocated booking window. This will be facilitated on the US ticketing system and linked from the BES website and social media. All registrations made within the registration window (usually Sunday morning to 5 pm Wednesday for the following week) will be considered equally so that no one is disadvantaged if they are slow to register. By registering for a place you are committing to being available to attend and will receive an email to notify you of your registration but your booking is not confirmed until you have received a 2nd email confirming that a place has been allocated. This email will be sent on a Thursday morning for services from the next Friday night. (see diagram below).

Q. How will it be decided who can attend services?

In the event of surplus demand, we will need to allocate spaces on a priority basis. This will be facilitated by a decision committee appointed by the Senior Leadership Team and overseen by David Nathan with Support from Simon Mitchell and Rabbi Chapper. The decision committee will apply the prioritisation method detailed below, as defined by Rabbi Chapper in consultation with the LBD.

Father of brit milah Mother after childbirth
Chatan Kallah
Bar Mitzvah Mother of Bar Mitzvah
Father of Bar Mitzvah Bat Mitzvah girl
Father of baby daughter Mother of Bat Mitzvah
Father of Bat Mitzvah Yahrzeit for parent
Yahrzeit for parent Yahrzeit for other relatives
Yahrzeit of spouse’s parent Kaddish for parent
Yahrzeit for other relatives Kaddish for other relatives
Kaddish for parent Sibling at Simcha over the age of 12
Kaddish for other relatives Other relatives at a Simcha (up to a maximum of 10)
Sibling at a Simcha over the age of 12 All other members
Other relatives at a Simcha (up to a maximum of 10) All non-members
All other members  
All non-members  

Places will only be allocated for those who have signed up in advance and during the booking window.

Q. What happens if too many “other” or “non-members” register for a space?

Where there is surplus demand and registrations of equal priority a lottery will be run by the decision committee to allocate spaces. In the event, someone misses out but there is availability for other services in the same booking period the decision committee will contact those who have missed out to see if they want to attend one of those instead.

Q. I’m not a member of BES. Can I sign up?

A. Yes. Anyone can sign up for services but non-members are the lowest priority where there is an overcapacity

Q. Can you help me understand the registration and confirmation timelines better?

A. The diagram below sets out the process:

Q. How will I know if I can attend a service?

A. You will receive an email confirming that a place has been awarded to you – please note that this is not the same email you will receive to confirm registration. Those who do not get a space will also be notified via email. These emails will come out on a Thursday so please do keep an eye out.

Q. How will seats in the different sections be handled?

A. Our starting position is that for all services there will be equal numbers of places for both Men and Women. At the end of the booking window, if there is an excess demand for places in one section, capacity in the other AND the logistics enable us to do so we will allocate additional spaces to meet the demand.

Q. Will I be able to attend a service if I have not been informed that I can?

A. No. In order to ensure the safety of those who are attending you will be asked to leave.

Q. If I can no longer attend what should I do?

A. We all carry a responsibility to help make up minyanim for those who need them – by registering to attend you are making that commitment which should only be broken where completely unavoidable (eg a genuine emergency or change in your isolation status). In that case please email

Q. Will I be able to bring my children?

A. Unfortunately, no children under the age of 12 will be able to attend at the present time. Children age 12 and over are very welcome but need to register and apply for their own place. If a family unit are attending together our stewards will tell you where to sit.

Q. Will there be children’s services?

A. Sadly children will not be able to attend services at shul. We are open to exploring other ways we can facilitate open-air, offsite children’s activities. We would welcome ideas and volunteers to make this a reality.

Q. I have a Bar Mitzvah coming up and want to discuss how it will work – who should I contact?

A. BES is committed to enabling call up’s and where practical leining opportunities for Bar Mitzvahs. With the restrictions on attendees and the practical health mitigations in place, we believe that the best format for the main communal celebration remains online. The BES team will be in touch with all Bar Mitzvah families to discuss options and agree the right approach for your family.

Q. I have a Bat Mitzvah coming up and want to discuss how it will work – who should I contact?

A. Where it is important to a family, BES is committed to recognising Bat Mitzvahs in the shul setting. With the restrictions on attendees and the practical health mitigations in place, we believe that the best format for the main communal celebration remains online. The BES team will be in touch with all Bat Mitzvah families to discuss options and agree the right approach for your family.

Q. Will I be required to wear a facemask?

A. Yes. You will be refused attendance if you do not have a facemask. We encourage everyone to bring their own facemask. If you forget to bring your own, we do also plan to have a limited number of disposable facemasks available – in return for a charitable donation.

Q. Will I need to wear gloves?

A. You will only be required to wear gloves when handling the Sefer Torah and its accoutrements. E.g. when leining; performing hagbah. Gloves will be provided to those who require them and should be removed and disposed of after use.

Q. Will there be hand sanitiser on-site?

A. Yes. Throughout the site there will be visible hand sanitisation stations – we encourage their use! To help with maintaining supply, members are also encouraged to bring their own.

Q. Will I be able to use BES siddurim/chumashim?

A. No, we ask that you bring your own siddurim and chumashim.

Q. Will I be able to use BES tallitot?

A. No, we ask that you bring your own tallit.

Q. Will I be able to use the toilet in the shul?

A. Yes, however only certain toilets will be open – attendees are asked to use common sense to ensure social distancing is maintained on entry and exit.

Q. If I or someone in my household is symptomatic, or has been asked to isolate by the government’s Track and Trace scheme can I come to services?

A. No. We ask that you follow government guidelines and self-isolate during that period.

Q. If I am in a vulnerable category but have a chiyuv or am saying kaddish should I come to shul?

A. As you know, pikuach nefesh - preserving life is a religious imperative that overrides all other mitzvot.  Although it is difficult not to be able to participate in communal activity, our primary concern must be for our health and safety and that of other people.  Therefore, if you are vulnerable we advise that you do not attend but if you choose to, then we ask you to exercise extreme caution.

Q. How will we navigate through the shul?

A. Each site and room will have clearly marked protocols for entry and exit. Our stewards can help you find these. Additionally, when your space is confirmed you will receive specific instructions on how to enter and exit buildings.

Q. How will seats for services be allocated?

A. Available seats will be marked with a green sticker/sign. No one will be permitted to sit on a seat that doesn’t have a green sticker/sign. Seats will not be individually allocated. We ask that you fill them up from the back to the front. If you have a seat with a box in shul this will not be available for storage (initial access to retrieve tallitot and siddurim will be allowed) and it is unlikely you will be able to sit in your seat.

Q. Will there be a Kiddush?

A. No. We do not anticipate running Kiddushim on site for the foreseeable future. We are planning an exciting new socially distant kiddush on the move details of which will be released in due course.

Q. Will we run prayers outside?

A. Occasionally we may choose to run Mincha/Maariv outside where weather permits but this will be on an exceptional basis.

Q. Will the shul be cleaned between services?

A. Yes, the shul and other common areas will be wiped and cleaned between each service and the whole site will be deep cleaned sprayed regularly too.

Q. Will there be singing during the service?

A. To try and minimise the spread of the virus, only the Chazan will be able to sing. We anticipate that this will have an impact on the experience of our services and want to reiterate that due to safety, services will be functional rather than inspirational.

Q. How can I request a call-up?

A. If you would like a call up for a specific reason, please indicate that when you sign up and email to discuss practicalities.

Q. How will aliyot work?

A. Aliyot will be assigned as normal, with each Aliyah going to different people. The Service warden will tell you where to stand.

Q. Are there any other aspects of the actual services themselves that will change from their regular, pre-COVID, format?

A. Yes, many of our services will be truncated to minimise the time spent indoors together. Weekday services will have a shortened Mincha with no repetition of the Amidah and Shacharit will start at Barchu with attendees covering the earlier parts of the service privately. Shabbat and Yom Tov services will be similarly truncated and adapted. Updates will be provided when appropriate.