Biblical Irony: This Year’s Passover Seder May Be Delayed by a Plague

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Talia Feinsod, Writer

Ross May / Los Angeles Times, Graphic Artist

April 8th and day 26 of quarantine, but Jews aren’t doing any fleeing this year, (stay home everyone). Tonight marks the first night of Passover and with Zoom paving the way for a new era of digital communication, many families, such as my own, are having Zoom seders. For the first time in our lives, the rhetorical four questions read every year have an answer: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. 

It’s been interesting to navigate. Instead of the thirteen of us gathering around one table in Denver, Colorado as we had planned, four individual families will be cooking their own meals and setting their separate tables, complete with laptop and extension cord at the ready. At 6:30 we all tuned in and as per usual my grandfather led the seder, but this time orchestrating by state who read what and when. Other than that it was somewhat normal! As expected, there was a bit of a time delay, really only noticeable when we tried to sing all together, which led to some funny moments. 

The Passover seder plate, topped with the shankbone, karpas, chazeret, charoset, maror, and egg, was forced to be enjoyed virtually this year.
Photo via Getty Images

This year’s Passover seder proved to be even more globally unifying than years past. Everybody had a Zoom seder; friends, distant relatives, even celebrities! This is yet another way COVID-19 is having a positive impact on the world. Everyone all across the world regardless of language, monetary status, or political stature is going through this and experiencing the struggle of quarantine and isolation in some form. 

On Saturday, April 11th celebrities such as Andy Cohen, Nick Kroll, Idina Menzel, Beanie Feldstein, and Busy Phillips are hosting their own virtual seder. Nicknamed the “Saturday Night Seder” with a cute cartoon logo and a tagline, “A Passover seder with the family you never knew you had. #DayenuAlready”, it’s goal is to bring people together in the name of tradition and charity. Throughout the seder, the CDC’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund will be accepting donations through a live link on Saturday Night Seder’s webpage.

Though there is a lot of fear right now, I think we all need to appreciate the tiny morsels of good coming out of this worldwide pandemic. It is the first globally unifying issue in most of our lifetimes. There isn’t one country hurting, one state suffering, one city going under; we are all in this for better or for worse. It’s cheesy but it’s our reality. With many companies and media moguls adopting the hashtag, #AloneTogether, the movement for unified isolation is in full stride. It’s been eye-opening to see our world change and adapt to this new situation at hand. I think, and hope, we will come out of this low point stronger than we were going into it. 

(At some point in my writing this article I got curious as to what else the internet has to offer in the Passover realm; I was pleasantly surprised. The Maccabeats, one of many Jewish acapella groups out there for your enjoyment, published their own rendition of the Passover classic, Dayenu (traditionally sung at seders with gusto). I was also reminded of one of my favorite Passover parodies, 20 Things to Do With Matzah. A jokey and relatable tale, musicians Michelle Citrin and William Levin illustrate through song a post-Passover predicament faced by many Jewish families at the end of Passover.)