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Passover 5780

03/30/2020 03:07:13 PM


Rabbi Mark Cooper

Dear Friends,
Ma Nishtana Ha-Laila Ha-Zeh Mi Kol Ha-Leilot… How is this night different from all other nights? 

This year, that question has an obvious answer. The outbreak of a lethal virus, which requires us to be physically distant from one another to stop its spread and save lives, means this Passover will be different from any we have celebrated in the past. Let us accept the challenge to make the most of Passover with an upbeat and positive spirit.
How to Celebrate Passover During the Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Continue to keep physically distant from one another. The Passover Seder must be celebrated only by the people living in your home. Do not invite additional guests. The best way to include relatives and friends in your Seder is by using Zoom. Here's a great Zoom 101 tutorial.
  • Here is the annual Rabbinical Assembly’s Guide to Passover. It contains the usual laws and procedures for observing Passover.
  • Please read Preparing for Passover in the Coronavirus Pandemic, which explains leniencies we can and should make in order to uphold Passover traditions without making numerous trips to the store. This document supersedes the RA guide.
  • During the Seder, we ritually wash our hands twice. During this pandemic, we should be washing hands MUCH MORE OFTEN than that.

A REALLY Different Night: Sedering-in-Place
Wednesday, April 1, 8:00-9:00 PM
Join me on Zoom as we will look at 10 specific ways we can enhance the evening while “sedering-in-place” and make the most of a difficult situation.
(check your email for ZOOM link)

Sale of Hametz
The sale of Hametz (leavened products) can now be arranged online. On Passover we are expected to not only refrain from eating Hametz but also owning it. Our custom is to remove Hametz from our homes before the holiday and “sell” whatever Hametz we keep in storage, including dishes and utensils. Click here to access our online form for the sale of Hametz.
It is customary to donate to the Rabbi’s Passover Fund (also known as “Maot Hitin”).  This year, such donations are more important than ever given the effect of the pandemic on the economy. Please donate online (just choose Rabbi's Discretionary Fund from the drop-down menu) or by sending a check to the synagogue.
And... the Food Pantry team has requested that people not bring matzah, Passover products, or general food donations to Oheb Shalom at this time. Monetary donations are always welcome (choose Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry from the drop-down menu).

Zoom Others Into Your Seder!
Hosting a Zoom Seder? If you are willing to welcome virtual Zoom guests who don’t have a Seder to attend, please contact Johanna Kluger. We'll try to match up hosts and guests.

Pre-Passover Living Room Lounge
Sunday, April 5, 5:00 PM
Do you have a Passover memory or story to share? Do you have a Passover recipe that excites you? Perhaps you have a question to ask about how to celebrate the holiday or a special melody for one of the Seder songs. Maybe a child in your family wants to sing the Four Questions. Or perhaps seeing some Oheb friends would bring a smile to your face. Visit our Pre-Passover Living Room Lounge. A moderator will ensure that everyone is heard.
(check your email for ZOOM link)

Siyum of the First Born
Wednesday, April 8
Zoominyan at 8:00 AM, followed by the Siyum
Our tradition holds that first-borns should fast on the eve of Passover to express relief that our people were spared the destruction of the Tenth Plague. Each year on the eve of Passover, we hold a Siyum (celebration of the conclusion of a unit of study) to enable first-borns to avoid the fast. This year’s Siyum will take place on Zoom, immediately after the morning service. (A file with our study text will be made available before the Siyum.)
(check your email for ZOOM link)

Passover Seder on ZOOM
Wednesday, April 8
5:00 PM
I will be leading a Passover Seder using the 30-Minute Seder Haggadah.  We'll share the most central rituals and end before the meal.  Please click here to let me know if you plan to participate and if you would like guidance on what to put on the Seder table.
(check your email for ZOOM link)

De-Mystifying Elijah the Prophet
Thursday, April 9
11:00 AM
Elijah plays an important role in the lore and legends of the Bible.  We invoke his name and persona at the end of Shabbat, at a Brit Milah and, most prominently at a Passover Seder, when we open the door in his honor and place a cup of wine on the table in his name.  Who was this mystical figure?  Why has his legend endured for so long?  We will study Biblical and Midrashic texts related to Elijah to deepen our understanding of what he means to us. (check your email for ZOOM link)
Note:  This session is taking place on the first day of Passover in place of a communal religious service. A study guide will be sent next week.

Passover Services
As the synagogue will remain closed at least until April 20, we will not hold Passover services in the building. Please continue to read the email from the synagogue for the schedule of live-streamed services.

I wish each of you and those dear to you a Passover celebration that is meaningful and fulfilling. May we all be blessed with good health and a speedy return to lives overflowing with activities that bring us joy and lead us to make our world a place of justice and peace.

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784