On Shabbat, we reflected on the transformation of Jewish symbols over time, namely the Ner Tamid (the eternal light), we reminded ourselves that things we may assume are unchanging do in fact change. We also thought about how the dos pintele Yid, the essential Jewish spark within, goes with us wherever we go. So even if we are not at 5959 North Sheridan Road, we can fan the flames of Jewish passion and mentschlikeit - not to mention human dignity and freedom - wherever we are.
Hopefully, this perspective is helpful as we move into our Passover season, which will look much different this year than any other. While Passover is always different than all other nights, we enter a moment that will likely look unlike any we’ve seen. While sheltering-in-place keeps us safer, it limits our ability to travel in and outside of the city to connect with family and friends. We have to wait to do our community Second Night Seder hosted by the Men of Emanuel, normally a crucial destination for those of us who may not have a seder. We look forward to celebrating together, in person, after the shelter-in-place order is lifted.
In that spirit, we have a number of online gathering opportunities before and during Passover. Please join us so we can enjoy making community with you. Please check out our website for the upcoming schedule. You’ll notice some beautiful improvements made by our Marketing Coordinator, Nicole Tuthill. Many thanks to you, Nicole, for giving structure and shape to 5959 Online.
We’ve also curated a short and sweet list of Passover resources for your exploration which you'll find listed below. And, we want to point out here two pre-Passover opportunities:
One is tonight, April 6 at 5pm CT:
City Winery Downtown Seder (Pre-Passover Event)
Featuring David Broza, Perry Ferrel from Jane’s Addiction, Dr. Ruth, and Rabbi Amichai Lau Levi of Labshul. This annual event from City Winery is streaming this year. More than twenty artists, thinkers, and entertainers will join live in this unprecedented gathering as we wander together through the quarantine desert; an ancient dinner party that transcends religion and provokes new thinking in a world hungry for order.
And, to listen to at your leisure:
Judaism Unbound Episode 216 - Passover Pandemic with Benay Lappe and Dan Libenson
Mr. Libenson and Rabbi Lappe take a look squarely at Passover under COVID-19, in our moment of social distancing. What challenges arise for those celebrating this holiday via digital platforms, and what opportunities arise?
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if you are doing a virtual seder and would like to accommodate those in need of a seder, please email Rabbi Marantz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 860-966-5669. If you would like to be a part of a seder, or also simply check-in with the Rabbi.
That’s all for now.
On behalf of our families, we wish you all a Pesach sameach u’vrie, a happy and healthy Passover!
Rabbi Craig Marantz and Cantor Michelle Drucker Friedman
Passover Resources: A Curated List Short & Sweet
How to Hold a Passover Seder in the Year of Coronavirus
Every Passover, Jews recite that this night is different from all other nights – but no Passover in recent memory threatens to be as different as this one...Though some small seders may proceed more or less normally, a large seder with elderly relatives, out-of-towners, or others in vulnerable groups will surely require considerable adjustments. I have always believed in the maxim that there’s no substitute for being there in person, but this season, prudence demands some creative alternatives (Jan Zauzmer)
Digital Content to Enliven This Year's Virtual Seder
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us, the world over, in an unprecedented position: Although we cannot share physical spaces, modern technology allows us to gather virtually, so that we may still create the experiences that achieve so many of the intentions of the holiday. (URJ Staff)
Passover: A Season for Justice
Passover, or Pesach, is a celebration of freedom and family. The seder meal and the Haggadah offer many opportunities to add social-justice themed readings, symbols of social action issues and movements, and to discuss and debate themes of the story of Exodus, including racial justice, the refugee crisis, environmental justice, modern slavery, LGBTQ rights, hunger, peace, labor, conflict minerals, malaria, women’s rights, and social justice. (Religious Action Center)
The Four Questions
One of the main focal points of the traditional Passover seder is the maggid, the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt. This story begins with the youngest person at the seder asking the Four Questions (Mah Nishtanah). These questions provide the impetus for telling why this night is different from all other nights. Learn and practice "Mah Nishtanah" in Both Hebrew and English. (ReformJudaism.org)
Song Playlists for Your Passover Seder
Whether you’re looking for Passover music to incorporate into your seder or songs to get you in the mood as you clean, cook, or prep for the holiday, check out these family-friendly playlists. The first one is great for listeners of all ages; the second one is especially geared for families with young children. Enjoy! (ReformJudaism.org)