Passover Remade but As Relevant As Ever
Despite all of the arduous pre-Seder preparations, for many of us, Passover is one of the most anticipated Jewish holidays and the Seder the most widely observed Jewish holiday rituals.
It is certainly because of our getting together with family members, friends and even a guest who you just met and who had no Seder to go to. It is certainly because of the food, with many recipes curated from those that we have enjoyed since our youth and in many cases carried down for generations. And it is certainly because of the meaningful and emotionally powerful story of liberation—a story as relevant today as decades/centuries ago.
Now, despite the vaccines, most people remain sheltering at home and thus isolated from many family members and friends due to COVID-19. For those now tasked with leading their first seder and to those who always looked to an older relative or friend to lead the way, this webpage will provide resources, such as where to go online for a virtual seder, Passover recipes, how-to host-a-seder-instructions and books that can provide you with pertinent and user-friendly information.
Although we have been social distancing, we have found strength in carrying out our traditions and rituals. The community-wide Make a Menorah Competition and the many virtual Purim costume events were not in person yet still embodied the spirit of holidays past. Even if you can’t get all of the traditional foods that you’ve enjoyed at seders past, make your own traditions. Adapt family recipes. Search the web for innovative ones. Manhattan resident Efrem Epstein has found sources that say it is okay to ask the Mah Nishtana (The Four Questions) by oneself if you are the only one at the seder table.
As in 2020, Passover’s story about the lack of freedom and liberation may be even more relevant to many of us due to COVID-19. This is a time to remember the sweetness of freedom (from oppression, from disease, from anxiety) and the selflessness of the many who are working despite the risks (health care providers, emergency responders, pharmacists, food industry employees, etc.) to keep us safe. Like Moses, they are helping to lead the way.