Ask Miriam | Guest Perspectives on Passover

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Jewish holiday Passover background with matzo, seder plate, wine and tulip flowers on wooden table. Top view from above.
Maglara / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dear Readers,

I’ve used the word “unprecedented” an unprecedented number of times in the past few weeks, and I know I’m not the only one. As we prepare for a Passover truly unlike any other, I thought we’d all benefit from hearing a variety of perspectives on how people are approaching the holiday.

Though we are physically remote from each other, the following pieces of advice, crowdsourced from my ever-generous Facebook friends, serve as a reminder that though we can’t be with others in person this year, there are many ways to remain connected, both to loved ones and to the wider Jewish community. 

Through this assortment of ideas, I hope you’re inspired to think about the holiday, the seder and even the concept of freedom in new ways, and that you are able to find some bright spots in celebrating during these challenging and, yes, unprecedented circumstances.

“I am taking comfort in the cycle of the year continuing despite all the unsettledness. It won’t look like Pesach did in past years, but Pesach will happen nonetheless, and there is comfort in that.”

Fayge, tour guide at We Live Here Tours, Cobbs Creek

“Lower the bar. It’s no longer my motto only about parenting but also about Pesach.”

Beverly Socher-Lerner, founding director, Makom Community, Graduate Hospital

“It will be just my mom and me for the first time in forever. We’ve decided to use the Haggadah from jewbelong.com to lighten the mood this year.”

Gloria Kantor, Atlanta

“I came up with a way to do the afikomen virtually for our 18Doors how to. Have several napkins on the table to look like the afikomen and label them with numbers. All of your virtual guests can guess in which napkin the afikomen is hidden.”

Stacie Garnett-Cook, chief Program officer, 18Doors, Boston

“As always, dirt is not chametz.”

Oren Pollack, Point Breeze, quoting his mother

“It’s easy to get caught up in a mental trap and being sad that this Pesach will be unlike any other you’ve ever had before, especially for people alone. Try to realize though, that if someone is responsibly socially distancing and sheltering in place to protect the lives of others, that they are observing a mitzvah of the highest possible order. Weird as it may seem, we are all being given a perhaps once in a lifetime chance to fulfill an incredible responsibility for the lives of others. Looked at in that light, making the correct choice to stay put may seem a little brighter.”

Sam Zitin, associate director, JSU St Louis

“Has someone not written a parody of “How is this night different from all other nights” about COVID-19? Because dark humor is my coping mechanism.”

Johannah Lebow, nurse practitioner, Center City

“Honestly, I think this is the first year for most of us when we can truly embrace what it may have felt like to leave Egypt. That sense of the unknown, of genuinely having to trust in God because the world is just beyond our control: that’s very powerful this year. Trying to let go and remember that our people (and, really, all people) have been in terrible situations before can help us feel connected in a way we never have.”

Gillian Steinberg, my sister, Riverdale, New York

“’Let my people go’ of all your stress. Focus on whatever part of Passover brings you joy.”

Lisa Litman, director of jkidphilly

Wishing everyone a chag sameach, a happy holiday. Be well,

Miriam

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