Why is this year different from all other years? The coronavirus. Obviously.
While you might not be able to physically gather around the seder table this Passover, you can come together online. Check out our 10 tips for creating a meaningful and fun seder experience for your family and friends, near and far.
Have suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!
Use the same Haggadah.
Download “The Wandering Is Over Haggadah” for free from JewishBoston! You can use the illustrated PDF or work with our printer-friendly Word document, which you can customize and edit. Screen-share it with your guests, or encourage everyone to print their own copy. Looking for more seder inspiration? Check out what supplemental readings our friends at Haggadot.com offer.
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. Throughout the seder, text the person you’d be sitting next to. Bombard the chat feature with, “Can we eat yet?” Remember to stay muted if you aren’t reading so your seder guests don’t have to hear your roommate crying while watching “Contagion” in the next room.
Maintain that there are no excuses for why people can’t attend.
Unless, you know, 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 Insta 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. But only if, like, you know the choreo.
Don’t be in DeNile, just say, “FML.”
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.
Next year, in person!
Want even more guidance on hosting a virtual seder? Our friends at Haggadot.com are offering how-to sessions via Zoom. Learn more here.