Ah, such irony: A holiday celebrating the freedom of our people while we find ourselves chained at home, sheltering in place. A biblical story in which plagues descend upon Egypt as we also struggle through a modern-day pandemic. The joyful tradition of large groups eating together now changed to one of physical distancing and isolation. But just as our ancestors have struggled and persevered throughout history, so too shall we ultimately triumph over these uncertain times. After all, Passover is much more about hope, faith and freedom than about despair and captivity.
I received a recent Facebook reminder that two years ago I hosted a seder for 20 people. There was a picture of the beautifully set tables we had aligned in our basement to accommodate our family and friends. Instead of joy at seeing the photo, I felt a pang of sadness and longing for what once was “normal.” But despite the new reality facing us today, we are still determined to celebrate the holiday with our loved ones. Thanks to a modern-day miracle (a.k.a Zoom), our seders will be virtual ones this year, split among multiple households. Apart, but together. Separate, yet connected. This isn’t what any of us had envisioned for Passover of course, but we are going to make the best of it with determination and some creative planning.
Although there is much I am anxious and concerned about right now, these strange times have also led to self-reflection and appreciation for the many blessings in my life. And I am certain I am not the only one who has been changed by recent events. It may sound cliché, but don’t take anything for granted. Cherish those dearest to you. Find ways to stay connected, even when isolated. As you gather for this year’s seders, in whatever form they may take, may you find inspiration during this celebration of our people’s freedom. Wishing your family good health and great strength to weather the storms ahead.
Jodi Danis is the executive assistant to the AJT publisher and managing publisher/editor.