Passover is among the most widely observed Jewish holidays. This year it will be different.
Passover begins Wednesday and those in the Jewish community are preparing to observe, using technology to connect people who would normally celebrate together.
“The highlight of it is to be together with family and friends,” said Rabbi Michael Pincus of the Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford. “Multi generations. Grandparents and grandchildren. Sharing their stories and connecting.”
Rabbi Pincus says instead of leading Seder in person he will be using ZOOM. The internet app will allow people to stream the message, but Pincus knows it will not be the same.
“It’s the meal that we eat together. It’s the holding each other’s hands it’s the telling of stories,” he says. “It’s a very different experience to be doing it virtually rather than in person.”
Telling the story of Passover through the internet is new for Mandell JCC Executive Director David Jacobs. He says he’s led more than 30 Seders but none like this. To prepare he’s provided his followers with necessary props to use during the presentation.
“I’ve sent everybody their ‘plague masks’ so they can wear these when we commemorate the 10 plagues of Passover,” Jacobs said.
While Jacobs says he’s grieving at the thought of not being able to gather in person, he, like many, is looking beyond the current circumstances.
“All of us are just longing for the next time we come together in real-time and real life,” he said.
Rabbi Pincus also offered some poignant perspective.
“Hopefully it gives us a connection. A point that anchors us,” he said. “There’s something really powerful about coming back to rituals and traditions especially during this time period.”