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March 31 - April 16

Dear Friends,

Oh, how this year is different from all other years! Passover is here, and for many of us, we know that figuring out how to do seder this year is one of the strangest parts for us of this sad, strange time.

Judaism teaches us to value our lives and our health, and the lives and health of other people, above all other considerations, so we urge you to stay home for seder, not to visit with any friends or family other than the people you live with, and not to invite anybody over to your home. We know how painful that restriction is. We want to share some resources that we hope will make this year’s seder a little easier (scroll all the way down for haggadot!). Although it won’t be the same as other years, we believe that we can still find meaning, sweetness, and strength in this holiday.

  • 3) Passover Videos from Cantor Goodlev and Rabbi Kalisch.
    We have shared brief videos on Beth David’s Facebook page, also available on our website. Each video will focus on a different ritual or song of the seder, with a special kavannah (spiritual focus) for this year of crisis and isolation. We hope these will be helpful as you prepare for Passover, and potentially during your seder as well.
  • Want to Up Your Matzah Brei Game? The morning after the first seder, join Rabbi Kalisch for a Zoom cooking lesson in how to make matzah brei! Plus some singing, connection, and inspiration for the first day of Passover.
    Meeting ID: 810 166 610
    By phone (646) 558-8656.
  • 4) Get Help Organizing Your Own (Virtual) Seder. If you will be leading a virtual seder for your own family/friends this year, we want to help.
    a) Resources from our Reform Movement – A whole bunch of terrific resources are online here –https://reformjudaism.org/how-make-your-virtual-seder-lively-engaging-and-meaningful
  • 5) Be Creative with Your Seder Plate – It might seem easier just to skip the seder plate this year, but we really encourage you to have one. When so much of our lives is suddenly digital, give yourself a seder plate that you can touch. But since the usual Passover shopping list might need to look different this year, don’t worry about making your seder plate exactly like usual. If you can’t find the usual supplies, here are some options:
    i) Shankbone – any chicken or other animal bone! Some vegetarians use a roasted beet. If need be, any cooked food from your meal can substitute.
    ii) Bitter herb – Any bitter vegetable (like most lettuces) can substitute for the bitter herb even if you usually use horseradish. Or anything else bitter (or maybe spicy, like kimchi?!) that you can find.
    iii) Karpas (spring vegetable) – And you can substitute any other vegetable (and even a few fruits!) for parsley. Potato was traditional in some parts of Eastern Europe where it was still cold at Passover. I like to use asparagus because it’s seasonal for spring. Green beans, carrots, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, bananas, artichokes, would also all work!
    iv) Charoset – Apples and nuts is the Ashkenazi tradition, but in other parts of the world, Jews used all sorts of other fruits and spices. But if it’s hard to get those ingredients this year, you might consider just mashing some banana or another fruit, or using applesauce – anything that will sweeten the maror when you eat them together.
  • 6) Choose a Haggadah You Can Access Digitally. If you want to be able to share a Haggadah with people who aren’t physically present with you, digital haggadot might be a good answer for this year. Here are some options for Haggadot you can either use as an e-book (on an iPad or computer) or in some cases download and print:
    i) Make your own Haggadah! There are ready-made Haggadot available, or you can compile your own using a library of resources- https://www.haggadot.com/
    ii) Kveller Haggadah (for families with kids) – https://www.kveller.com/haggadah/
    iii) PJ Library Haggadah (for families with kids) – https://pjlibrary.org/haggadah
    iv) Sharing the Journey and other Reform Haggadot (not printable, but available as ebooks or free flipbooks) – https://www.ccarnet.org/publications/ccar-press-passover-resources/
    v) Rabbi Amy Scheinerman’s Haggadah (straightforward but traditional) – http://scheinerman.net/judaism/pesach/haggadah.pdf
    vi) Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah (longer – it will require planning which excerpts you want to include, but lots of beautiful spiritual readings) – https://velveteenrabbi.com/2015/02/03/velveteen-rabbis-haggadah-for-pesach/
    vii) If you already own the A Different Night Haggadah but need a digital version, they are generously making it available for free this year only (on the honor system – please buy a copy if you don’t already own copies. This one also requires a lot of pre-planning and excerpting) – https://www.haggadahsrus.com/

Anything else you want to talk to us about? Please don’t hesistate to reach out. We know how difficult this time is for everyone, and we want to hear from you.

Wishing you a Zissen Pesach: a sweet – if very different this year – Passover,

Rabbi Beth Kalisch (bkalisch@bdavid.org)
Cantor Lauren Goodlev (lgoodlev@bdavid.org)


March 31
April 16