Temple prepares for traditional celebration with smaller, safer gatherings.
The Jewish holiday of Passover traditionally begins with a large and festive community Seder meal – a meal that would be impossible in this age of social distancing amid Covid-19. So as the first night of Passover approached on Wednesday, April 8, Temple Emanu-El prepared their community to celebrate with smaller, safer gatherings.
In the days before Passover, Temple Emanu-El staff worked under special protocols to safely create Seder Kits, filled with the ritual objects needed to hold a Seder meal at home, and to distribute one to each household with drive-through, no-touch delivery. Generous donors also stepped forward to ensure that every family in need could afford a special Seder meal. Rather than gather in person as the holiday began, Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbis planned to invite the community virtually into their homes by livestreaming their family Seder meals and providing opportunities for virtual discussion, sharing, and interaction. And to make social distancing and coronavirus precautions seem less scary to Temple Emanu-El children, Temple Emanu-El Associate Rabbi Michael Shefrin and his family donned Passover-themed protective masks.
“A central commandment of Passover is to observe the holiday together,” said Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman. “But an even more essential Jewish commandment is to save and protect lives. Although we miss gathering with our community in person this year, we are grateful to celebrate virtually – and we pray that all will stay healthy and safe so that we can celebrate many future Passover Seder meals together.”