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Resources for Celebrating Passover in the Age of COVID-19

Passover is the most-observed Jewish holiday in America! In this time of coronavirus, it’s especially important to take pleasure in an annual ritual and the sense of continuity that it brings. The resources below offer fresh and interesting ways to celebrate the holiday; we hope you will find new information here that opens up approaches you had not yet considered.

To begin, we offer four new questions to consider when you ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  

  • On this night, what does it mean to face uncertainty?  As a people, how have we responded to uncertainty in the past, and how will we respond today?
  • On this night, how do we reach the stranger in a time of social distancing?
  • On this night, how do we celebrate our freedom, and how do we help those who are not yet free? What does freedom mean during self-quarantine?
  • On this night, how do we show gratitude for our faith, family, and the everlasting bond of the Jewish people?


HOW-TO VIDEOS AND GUIDES FOR HOSTING AN ONLINE SEDER
With regard to online seders, please remember that Zoom is not great for give-and-take discussions. It will be helpful if each participant in your online seder has a copy of the same Haggadah, to keep everyone on the same page, literally! Assigning roles to each participant is a great way to make sure that everything is covered, and that everyone remains engaged. Give yourself time and permission to fine-tune before you start – if Grandma’s camera is at an odd angle, tell her!

One Table’s Seder 2020 has tech tips and many downloadable Haggadot, along with Haggadah supplements, scaled-down recipes, and opportunities to join virtual sedarim. They also offer resources for creating your own Haggadah and inviting people to your virtual seder.

BimBam offers video-based resources, such as how-to videos, songs, stories, etc., for kids and adults alike.

My Jewish Learning has Passover checklists, tips, recipes, how-tos, and even tips for hosting a solo seder.

18 Doors has a special section on coronavirus Passover resources, along with a helpful Passover guide for interfaith families.

Gateways has ideas for making seders more inclusive for those with disabilities, as well as plenty of helpful activities and visual aids.

The Jewish Educator’s Winter 2020 edition has plenty of seder ideas, including a Passover scavenger hunt, improv games, music, Sephardi customs, and more.

Jewish Holidays in a Box has an excellent Passover how-to for young families. Their 36-page guide, which is a $3.99 download, includes a shopping list, craft projects, ideas for engaging children at the table, and much more.

CHILDREN
This story may help children understand the current situation in relation to Passover.

This link may be helpful for children who want to practice the 4 Questions. The app also includes videos to learn about the meaning of the song, and games to reinforce that learning. Behrman House is also offering three free lessons about “Mah Nishtanah and the seder. 

Through May 1, select Passover eBooks will be available for free via the online Kar-Ben/Lerner Bookshelf. Access them here, using “passover” (case-sensitive) as both username and password. as the Access can be found via:

PJ Library’s Passover Hub is full of family resources, including a downloadable family Hagaddah and a newly-created leader guide.

FILMS FOR CHILDREN

  • Prince of Egypt
  • A Rugrats Passover
  • The Animated Haggadah
  • Shalom Sesame, from Sesame Street, has several Passover videos and guides. Google “Shalom Sesame Passover.”

DOWNLOADABLE HAGGADOT AND OTHER RESOURCES
Physical Haggadot may be purchased online, though you may have to wait for shipping. The following Haggadot can be downloaded:

YOUTH ESSAY CONTEST
The Forward, in partnership with The Jewish Education Project and BBYO, has invited middle-school and high-school-aged students to submit an essay, story, or poem about the meaning of freedom in 2020 America; several cash prizes are available.

WHAT ABOUT THE AFIKOMEN?
And finally, the afikomen! Some people think that eating it marks the end of the seder, but it is really just the end of the seder meal. But…how can you hunt for the afikomen in a virtual seder? Try this link!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
The Jewish Federations of North America have provided this document, which has links to other Passover resources.

If you have any questions about what makes something kosher for Passover, or how to fulfill the laws of the holiday, please consult a rabbi. If you have any comments on the links above, please contact Larry Katz, Director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, at lkatz@jewishallianceri.org.

Resources for Celebrating Passover in the Age of COVID-19

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