Good morning everyone. I hope you and your loved ones are well.
Today is not just the 8th of April, 2020. This evening will be the start of ט”ו בניסן התש”פ – the 15th of Nissan, 5780 by the Jewish calendar, and the first day of Passover.
The holiday of Passover is an especially communal one. Family and friends usually celebrate the Seder (the opening evening) in large gatherings, often comprising upwards of 20 or 30 people. But this year, as we all try to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual celebrations are not an option. Jewish communities the world over have been preparing themselves for a different kind of Seder, in which we only celebrate in our home with the people who live with us, instead of travelling elsewhere and joining large groups. (In Israel, in particular, there are serious concerns that the holiday could trigger a worse spread of the virus. And so the entire country has been put under increasingly tight curfews leading up to the holiday, such that by this point no one is allowed to travel outside their hometown other than for a medical emergency.)
“Jews are built for this,” said Rabbi Michael Rothbaum of Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton. “You knock us down; you kick us out of someplace — we move on; we figure it out; we recreate.”In the face of COVID-19, Jews set the table for virtual Passover Seders
Due to the circumstances, Jewish charities and community outreach organizations face both greater challenges and fewer options in dealing with them. The number of people in need of aid this holiday has only grown, and their struggles and needs are even greater. So if you are able, please consider donating money to a local Jewish organization which is offering Passover support, such as this one in Atlanta, or see if they need some other donation or volunteer work.
If you yourself are planning on hosting visitors for your Seder, or travelling to a Seder at someone else’s home, please reconsider, as we all need to be responsible for our health and that of others and to help stop the spread of this plague.
At any rate, your are all welcome to join Jem’s Avocado Seder (currently set to start tonight at 8 PM Eastern), as active participants or just as listeners. And if you are alone for the Seder this year, you can also check for virtual Seders taking place near you.
Next year, we will be together again. And when future generations tell the story of Passover, perhaps they will recount that one Passover when we were isolated from each other, but managed to keep it together.Passover in the time of COVID-19 doesn’t have to be lonely
Welcome to Wednesday! Let’s make this day a good one. Please be respectful and considerate, let’s try to assume good faith and good intentions even in people we disagree with, and don’t forget to take a break once in a while. Don’t threaten Mayor McSquirrel. If you have a problem, you can flag the comment, or feel free to contact the mods at firstname.lastname@example.org.