Why is this year different from all other years? The Corona Virus, obviously.
In the past few weeks I have learned a whole new set of skills with Zoom, FaceBook Messenger Live and FaceTime. We now have a new type of social life filled with virtual coffee and cocktail dates. With Passover just a few days away, hosting the Seder this year is going to be like never before. So if you are thinking of holding a virtual Seder here are some ideas to make it a success that we found on JewishBoston.com:
Use the same Haggadah.
One idea is to download “The Wandering Is Over Haggadah” for free from JewishBoston.com. You can use the illustrated PDF or work with their printer-friendly Word document, which you can customize and edit. Screen-share it with your guests, or encourage everyone to print their own copy.
Designate an e-Moses.
Pick someone to lead the virtual seder. Make sure this person has experience successfully using Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. (Bonus points if the e-Moses holds two “tablets” to read the Haggadah from.)
Make a “seating chart.”
Figure out ahead of time who is going to read what. Bombard the chat feature with, “Can we eat yet?” And remember to stay muted if you aren’t reading.
Maintain that there are no excuses for why people can’t attend.
Unless they don’t have internet and/or a device to connect to it, anyone can be part of your Passover experience. No need to text Elijah the Prophet an invite. He saw your Instagram story. He already knows.
Have a practice run.
Send instructions for accessing your virtual platform of choice ahead of time so nobody holds up the seder by not knowing their Wi-Fi password. Encourage “those” people to take the stickers or tape off their cameras.
Do not stint on wine.
Sticking to the harder stuff or your favorite fruit juice is great, too. We don’t judge.
Work with what you have.
With all the panic shopping, it can be intimidating to venture out to get everything you need. That’s OK. Get what you can and improvise the rest. Our people have survived greater quandaries with a little ingenuity and determination. If you can’t get matzah, cut some cardboard into squares or large circles (you can even put dots on them with a marker for texture, but do not consume—this is purely decorative). Swap out sriracha for horseradish. Use literally anything green. Squish trail mix into a charoset-like paste. Use a regular plate as a stand-in for a seder plate. It’s the thought that counts.
Bring a little Purim to Passover.
Dress up as Moses, Aaron, Miriam, etc. Got kids? Great, they can be the frogs. Or the lice. It depends how stressed they’re making you. Got teens? Do the whole seder using Snapchat filters, then do a TikTok dance break in the middle of the seder for added social media cred.
Don’t be in DeNile.
Laugh a little hysterically and cry only a tad when you get to the Four Questions and someone has to ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
Do your best, have fun and remember that though we are in isolation to protect ourselves, friends, families and fellow human beings everywhere, we are still free to be Jewish and celebrate our heritage!
As you come to the end of the Seder, remember that this uncertainty, while it already feels like 40 years of wandering in the desert, is temporary. The Israelites made it eventually. So will we. As my dear father used to say "this too shall pass".