Last night, Jews around the world celebrated the first night of Passover, but last night was different from Seders of years past. COVID-19 forced everyone to remain at home, and efforts to maintain social-distancing prevented families and friends to gather in large numbers. Such circumstances could have placed
a dark shadow over our Seder experiences, but our desire to share in the joys of our festival triumphed over these global restrictions.
Quarantine was no match to human ingenuity. Technologies like Zoom, FaceTime and a wide selection of modern streaming services provided us with a source of liberation from this modern-day oppressor, and, for all who sought to celebrate, these technological tools enabled us to experience the drama of our ancestral Exodus in new and exciting ways.
This year, everyone will have a story about how they escaped the bondage imposed by the threats of “the evil COVID-19 virus” and found a way to cross the sea to celebrate with family and friends. Our family used Zoom, which effectively linked family members across the country together. Our Zoom Seder included participants from Baltimore, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, San Diego, Laguna, Galveston and Houston. Many of us had not seen each other in years. Some of us had never celebrated a Seder together.
I am sure that each of us has a story to share, and this story should not be forgotten. As our Haggadah implores us to remember: Every generation should experience the Seder as a story that applies to each of us in a personal way. This year, may the story of our liberation in ages past serve to provide us with hope and resilience as we work to find deliverance from the threats of our day.