Passover 2020 begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8th. With a little planning, you can make it meaningful and memorable during these days of social distancing.
Passover commemorates the end of enslavement in Egypt for the Jewish people. It was a series of ten plagues that convinced the Egyptian Pharaoh to “let my people go,” and allow the exodus from Egypt. There’s a touch of irony that this year’s celebration takes place under the shadow of another plague — our current pandemic.
Because Passover is traditionally a time for large gatherings of family and friends, it will likely be very different for your family this year. We’ve assembled a few resources to help you make this a meaningful time. If you know of anything else that should be on this list, please email email@example.com with the info.
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Resources for planning & celebrating Passover
Editor’s note: Remember, you are allowed to work within your means and your emotional limits. If you’re already dealing with high levels of stress, you may only want a scaled-down Seder this year. No one can tell you what’s right for you. You don’t have to prepare a feast or host a media extravaganza via Zoom. The ideas below are just ideas, for those who have the resources and energy to use them.
Send free virtual greeting cards
Chabad.org has ten e-cards available to send. View them here.
Or browse the selection of 16 e-cards at BlueMountain.com.
123Greetings.com has 107 free Passover cards.
Get Passover recipes and meal-planning tips
Chabad.org has many resources. You’ll find dozens of recipes, as well as tips for preparing the Seder plate items easily and tips for preparing a Seder without access to specialty ingredients.
Bon Appetit magazine has prepared an online cookbook of 66 Passover recipes to browse. They have clear instructions and photos of each dish.
And then there are these ideas:
- 25 ways to use Matzoh
- 31 Passover desserts
- Passover pizza with crispy cauliflower crust
- Passover recipes from your favorite Food Network chefs
- Kid-friendly passover recipes
- 25 vegetarian Passover recipes
- Allrecipes top Passover recipes
- 23 Passover Dinner Recipes from Delish
- Coconut macaroons
Download and print a free Hagaddah
The Haggadah is the book that guides participants through the Seder. The word Haggadah means “telling,” as it tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
There are many resources online these days. Choose from the traditional English or Hebrew versions (with an instructional guide) or go with a shorter, 10-minute Hagaddah.
You can create a personalized Hagaddah for your own family, with info provided by MyJewishLearning.com or The Times of Israel. The links go directly to the do-it-yourself articles. Some of the DIY tools are free, and some charge a fee for a printed and bound book in paperback or hard cover. Others ask for a small donation.
Haggadot.com is a huge resource library. It is free to use, but requires that you register first. You’ll find a comprehensive of different Hagaddahs, including coloring book and comedic versions. There’s also a Hagaddah for very young children.
Check out these Passover games and crafts for the kids
- Make a felt seder plate,
- Origami jumping frogs
- 10 plagues for the Seder
- Free Seder kit for toddlers and preschoolers.
- Passover online games, videos, songs, coloring pages and more.
Host or attend a virtual Seder
We found some great resources out there, with many helpful tips for planning a Seder as a virtual event.
- Finding the Virtual Jewish Community During Social Distancing
- How to Make Your Virtual Seder Lively, Engaging, and Meaningful
- Coronavirus Nixed Your Seder Plans? These FAQs Are for You
- Shopping for Passover
A note about using technology for Passover observances
It’s tricky to use technology for the Seder, because there are Jewish laws that govern the use electronics on holidays like Passover.
Jews with different practices of observance will have different levels of concern about electronics. For some, it is not an option. In those cases, consider having a pre-Seder Zoom gathering — see the section below!
Some Jewish authorities have suggested:
- Activating the Zoom meeting before sundown (keeping in mind the time zones of all who are participating)
- Using a virtual assistant, like Siri or Alexa, to activate the stream
Please consult your own Rabbinic authority to verify that what you’re planning is consistent with your practice and belief.
The preferred platform for virtual events these days is Zoom. It’s fairly easy to get started by visiting Zoom.com in a web browser or downloading the mobile app. Most newer laptops come with the built-in webcam and microphone that you’ll need to participate in a Zoom meeting. With a desktop PC, you may need to connect an external webcam and headset (it’s easier to just use a mobile phone or tablet!) With a phone, it’s a great idea to have some sort of small tripod or stand, rather than trying to prop it up at the right angle.
Not feeling tech-savvy? Our sister site, Charlotte on the Cheap, has an excellent tutorial (with screenshots for each step) on getting started with Zoom.
One thing the experts agree on: Holding a pre-Seder virtual gathering. This is because the Seder begins after dark, when small children are already in bed. You can use FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or any other preferred service for letting your kids have some face time with grandparents and other relatives.
Chabad.org offers this infographic for download:
Virtual Passover events around metro Atlanta
You could also search Facebook Events for virtual Passover events nationwide.
We’re listing some highlighted events here — they also appear on our Virtual Events Calendar.
If you’re hosting a virtual Seder that is open to the public and you’d like us to list it here, just drop us a line.
The following events are all FREE. We recommend you set up a Zoom account and test your settings well before the event.
- Livestream — The Downtown Seder 2020
Monday, April 6, 2020 — 6 to 9 p.m.
Presented by City Winery
(This is a musical and comedy event)
- Virtual Family Seder: The 30-Minute Seder
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 — 5 to 5:30 p.m.
Presented by Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta
Bring your own matzah and grape juice
You MUST register by April 8th at 12:30 pm
Event info and registration
Zoom meeting info
- Virtual Family Seder with the Rosenthals
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 — 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Presented by Ahavath Achim Synagogue
Please have a Seder plate for your family
Event info and schedule
Zoom meeting info
- 18Doors Alternative Passover Event
Saturday, April 11, 2020 — 7 to 8 p.m.
(Not a Seder, so no preparations needed)
Zoom meeting info
- Haggodot Virtual Seder
Sunday, April 12, 2020 — 2 to 4 p.m.
Join via Zoom or via Facebook Live
Zoom meeting info
World’s Largest Virtual Passover Seder
Join what is to be the World’s Largest Virtual Passover Seder, Thursday, April 9, 5pm to 6:30pm, via East End Temple in Manhattan.
- Zoom Meeting Link
- Phone Number: 1 929 205 6099
- Meeting ID: 902 560 802
- Guidelines for joining our Zoom seder
The basics of a Seder plate
The items on the Seder plate each represent something about the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
Here’s a very brief description of each of those objects. If you google, you will certainly find other interpretations of the symbolism of each of these objects.
- Shank bone (zeroa): a roasted bone that represents the Paschal (lamb) sacrifice made by the ancient Hebrews.
- Boiled/roasted egg: stands in place of a sacrificial offering performed in the days of the Second Temple
- Maror (bitter herb): Horseradish is commonly used, but any bitter herb will work. It refers tot he bitterness of slavery.
- Charoset: A sweet mixture of apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon, that represents the mortar the Hebrew slaves used to make bricks
- Karpas: A green vegetable, usually parsley, symbolizing the freshness of spring.
- Hazaret: A second bitter herb, with the same symbolism as Maror.
Other elements of the Seder that you might have heard about:
- 4 glasses of wine (or juice) are consumed by participants.
- Matzah, unleavened bread, is a big part of Passover. It reminds us of the haste with which the Jews left Egypt.
- The Afikomen is a piece broken off from the matzah during the Seder. Many families’ traditions call for it to be hidden. Then, the children look for it, and return it for a reward. There are other variations of this tradition. For instance, in some families, the children steal it and ransom it for a reward.
- The 4 questions: traditionally, the youngest child recites the “4 questions,” which cover the basics of why Passover is special and important.
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