“Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover is a time that people associate with family,” Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky of Park East Synagogue told Straus News, “and the guidance that we're getting from the CDC is to separate ourselves, social distancing. It's the very opposite.”
Concerns over spreading coronavirus will prevent many Manhattanites from joining family and friends for traditional seder meals and prayer services this year, but that’s no reason to skip the holiday, according to Rogosnitzky.
With a little imagination and the help of technology, a meaningful Pesach is still within reach. Straus News has collected resources for celebrating the Festival of Freedom while choosing to stay at home.
Music is a great mood lifter. To set a festive tone, Reform Judaism has created two playlists — one for adults and one of family favorites— available for free on Spotify. To listen, download the Spotify app on your smartphone, computer, or tablet and search for “reformjudaism.”
“Many people have never led a Seder, so they're not sure what's involved in that, because very often you're a guest for a Passover,” Rogosnitzky explained.
Chabad-Lubavitch (Chabad.org) offers printable haggadahs, available in English, Hebrew and bilingual versions on its “Everything You Need to Celebrate Passover During Coronavirus” page.
Websites such as KosherFamily.com offer shopping lists to guide you in crafting a Seder that would make Bubbe proud.
Park East Kosher (1733 First Avenue) and The Kosher Marketplace (2442 Broadway) are two local businesses braving the pandemic to keep their doors open ahead of Pesach.
For those who prefer to avoid shopping right now, some retailers, including Fresh Direct, are offering complete Seder meals delivered straight to your door.
Synagogues around the world will be broadcasting Passover services online. Check listings for specific times.
Manhattan services on April 8 will include a first night seder from Congregation Rodeph Sholom at 6 p.m. (rodephsholom.org), and a “Tot Passover Celebration” for toddlers via Zoom from Central Synagogue at 12 p.m. (centralsynagogue.org).
On April 9, Temple Shaaray Tefila (shaaraytefilanyc.org) will broadcast a “virtual community second night seder” starting at 6:30 p.m.
“Accept that this is not the norm,” Rogosnitzky advised, encouraging Jews to mark the holiday regardless:
“Even if it only means that a person sits at the table, has some Matzah, reads a little bit about the history of Passover, the most important thing is that you keep it in whatever way, that you observe it.”
“The most important thing is that you keep [Passover] in whatever way, that you observe it." Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky, Park East Synagogue