This year, many of us will celebrate Passover on Zoom, FaceTime or Google Hangouts. But hundreds of people in Greater Boston will also celebrate with Seder in a Box, an initiative by Combined Jewish Philanthropies that honors the Passover Haggadah through food: “Let all who are hungry, come and eat; let all who are in need, come and join our Passover ritual.”
Prepared Passover meals have been distributed to community members who are ill, housebound or who can’t cook for themselves. Kosher meals include a traditional seder plate, matzah, soup, a chicken or vegetable entree, kugel, dessert and more. Others in the community opted for a traditional seder plate, picked up at locations throughout Boston and beyond. Both choices were free, paid for by CJP’s new Coronavirus Emergency Fund and existing Bridge to the Future funds.
So far, almost 2,400 meals have been delivered, and more than 2,700 seder plates have been picked up.
It’s an example of tzedakah (charity) and chemlah (compassion) during a surreal time, when so many people are separated from loved ones and struggling to simply get to a grocery store.
“Thank you with my whole heart for doing this. It means the world to me. This will be the first time in my life to not be with family and friends for Passover seders,” one recipient wrote in an email.
“I actually got teary when I opened this,” wrote another.
Well-known businesses including Catering by Andrew, Tova’s Catering, Larry Levine’s Kosher Meats and Deli, Duchez Catering and Adea’s Mediterranean Kitchen provided meals. But the food is only part of the effort, says David Newman, CJP’s director of partnership relations, who oversaw the initiative.
“CJP is happy to provide this resource. It’s about far more than the sustenance—it’s about the warmth of community and feeling of connection when people are otherwise feeling so alone,” he says.
“We can’t replace the actual feeling of Passover,” says Sarah Abramson, CJP’s senior vice president of strategy and impact. “But we can remind people we are all in this together.”
On that note, the CJP Coronavirus Emergency Fund continues to accept donations. Funds support groceries for those in need; assistive technology for people facing social isolation; targeted financial assistance for Jewish homes for older adults to support social distancing; and more. Donate here.