A long-standing Jewish tradition is surviving the coronavirus pandemic by moving online.
Stay-at-home orders are preventing many Jewish communities from sharing the Passover meal known as Seder at one dinner table.
Rebecca Waxman said some of her earliest family memories were of getting together for Passover, so she decided to bring the special holiday meal into the digital era by inviting her loved ones to join her family’s Seder meal through a Zoom video chat.
“Even at this time when it feels like our choices are limited we have a choice to stay in, or face the consequences of going out,” Waxman said. “And we have a choice to kind of throw up our hands and go, ‘Well I can’t have my traditional Passover Seder, it’s ruined.’ Or we can choose to do the best we can, which is what my family, my friends are trying to do, is say, ‘Let’s connect online.'”
Waxman anticipates having about two dozen members of her extended family join the video chat.
She admits the experience won’t be the same without being able to hug other guests, but thinks there are plus sides to having the meal on a virtual platform.
“One thing with a physical Seder is you are kind of limited to how many people you can seat, how many people you can feed, whether everybody can make it at the right time,” Waxmn said. “This year a lot of that is out the window. Everyone is going to bring their own chair, bring their own matzo, bring their own device so they can participate.”
She added: “I hope that it’s going to be meaningful but also a lot of fun.”
One thing the Passover marks is the Isrealites’ liberation from slavery and exodus from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.
Waxman said remebering those hardships fuels her perservance to continue moving forward during the public health crisis.
“So right now this feels like forever, but it won’t be forever,” Waxman said. “And hopefully next year we’re just in person.”