As Passover draws near, Jewish families are forced to consider new ways of celebrating the holiday this year. A festive holiday that centers around a traditional family meal—one which often includes friends or acquaintances who have no family nearby—many had to scramble to change plans, cancel flights and accept that this year, things are vastly different.
“It’s always a time when our family gets together,” Nancy Hochhauser said. “But this year, we’re staying home and are asking people not to get together.”
Her seder will consist of a shared meal in her home with her husband and one of her two daughters. The other daughter will join virtually from California, either through Zoom or FaceTime, and they will try to coordinate with other family members as well.
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Hochhauser’s holiday will be impacted further by the fact that her kitchen has been under renovation, so she cannot cook. The week of Passover, she said, is the one time of year she normally cooks and keep kosher.
“We’ll go to the kosher butcher and see what we can stock up on for the week,” she said.
She noted that the idea of a seder is to welcome people into your home who do not have a place to go. “It’s going to be very different,” she said, “but we’ll all have to adapt.”
Martin Skolnick, president of the Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David board, said his guest list has been cut in half, as it will just be his immediate family at home, with in-laws on Zoom. He said he had already been shopping for food in preparation of the meal, and he has been active with the synagogue to help reach out to the congregation. Every Friday, the cantor and rabbi send out a video message, and a phone committee has been created to help reach out to those who may not be very tech savvy.
“We’re all doing the best we can do keep everybody engaged,” Skolnick said, “and keep the positive waves flowing through this tough time.”
Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David is holding workshop on Wednesday at 5 p.m. on how to hold a virtual seder, through Zoom. Visit the website or call (646) 876-9923 to find out how to host.