Passover is going to be a lot different this year with the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a holiday where we’re so used to being together with our families, this year promises to be tough.
Synagogues will be closed or limited, and the usual services will have to be streamed this year. It’s an uncertain time and we are hearing from many that they are staying home. Passover programs are being cancelled, and the amount of preparation and shopping we can do is limited.
It’s ironic that Passover (Pesach), which commemorates the great Hebrew exodus from Egypt, will find us staying put in our homes this year. While we can’t hold Passover as usual, we can find solace in the richness of tradition.
Being away from community and family will be difficult, but staying home as much as possible is being recommended to keep everyone safe. So, how can we still get that most important feeling of togetherness? Technology can help us.
For those observing an Orthodox Pesach, the use of electronics will be forbidden during the 1st and 7th days, so make sure you get in your video chatting with everyone in the family on the Eve of Yom Tov before your kids take a nap!
The day after, make a point to bring everyone together for some video chatting as well. You can discuss whose family ended Seder the latest, which Haggadah you used, and what you learned about yourself or Pesach this year!
One nice option for unorthodox celebrations is that you can hold video calls during Seder, so you can bring in friends and family. It’s not as good as being together in the same room, but it can help.
On a lighter note: one thing we can count on for Pesach 2020 is that there will be plenty of urchatz (hand-washing) this year!
Recipe Developer and Food & Vlogger Danielle Renov of Peas Love & Carrots suggests not going over the top for Pesach this year with Covid-19 limiting food supplies and the amount of people you have to cook for.
“Keep the food really simple… Grilled chicken with smoked spices. Roast chicken and veggies, steak, hamburgers with sweet potato or regular French fries!”
With her latest cookbook due to be released, she has a host of experience preparing for Passover and thinks it is important to remember that you do not require a tonne of ingredients to create great dishes for the whole family.
Daniella Silver, author of The Silver Platter Series, always includes if the recipe works for Passover, which is incredibly helpful and simple guidelines such as – is this freezer friendly? She also includes an abundance of variations to make the most out of your ingredients.
Keeping your children enthusiastic and involved is always a big part of Pesach, and this year it will be extra important to keep them busy and involved. Fortunately, there are many great resources available from PJ Library. Also, Ketubah artist Britt Yudell has some free coloring pages that you can print out for your kids, and she’ll be releasing a bunch more specifically for Pesach, so register and keep an eye on her website!
It’s truly unfortunate that we cannot have the Passover we’re used to, and it hurts to have to stay separated from family and community at what is supposed to be such a time of togetherness. However, thanks to technology and the internet, we can at least stay in touch.
This is one Pesach we’ll be talking about for years, so let’s make it as memorable and special as possible. Passover in the age of social isolation isn’t what we’re used to, but if we’re creative we can make it one worth remembering!