For Passover celebrants in Metro Detroit, this Wednesday night will be different from all others


April 07, 2020, 6:00 AM by  Alan Stamm

Nothing is immune from the calamity of spring 2020, when biblical-scale pestilence touches everything.

So in addition to marking their ancestors’ exodus from Egyptian slavery when the Passover holiday begins Wednesday night, Jews also can pray for an exodus from their homes.

"Clearly, this night is indeed different from all other nights," columnist Andrew Lapin writes in The Jewish News, a local weekly.

When the government issues its guidelines for the kinds of social gatherings we should be avoiding to curb the spread of Covid-19, it might as well be flying a giant banner that reads, "No Passover Seders."

The timing is terrible — cases are exploding just as we gear up for what’s supposed to be a festive holiday, a time when we can sit around a table with family and friends and enjoy a nice, leisurely, lovingly cooked meal. But for our own health and safety, we can’t share our seders this year.


Rabbi Asher Lopatin: "There isn’t an excuse anymore if we left anyone out."

The Southfield-based paper links to four virtual Seders locally. Online connections via Zoom or other platforms open a way "to make sure that everyone is included in a Seder," writes Rabbi Asher Lopatin in another Jewish News post, referring to the first night's symbolic meal. He's executive director at the Jewish Community Relations Council in Bloomfield Hills.

Pressing a button on a device is far easier than adding seats and plates to the literal table. ... There isn’t an excuse anymore if we left anyone out.

This year, let us all make sure that our Passover preparations, pre-Seder Seders and actual Seders are dedicated to connection, especially with those who are isolated and alone during this trying time. Help make sure that everyone who wants a meaningful Passover experience has one.

Rabbi Lopatin's council hosts a half-hour interfaith Seder on Zoom at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with at least five local clergy members.

Rabbi Aaron Starr of Congregation Shaarey Zedek of Southfield hosts a family Seder via Zoom from 5-5:45 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a "Virtual STAYder" for adults, teens and children with music from 6-7 p.m. Both require advance sign-up.

Traditional readings from a prayer book called the Haggadah are supplemented by the American Jewish Committe, which posts a two-page coronavirus edition (excerpt above.) Among its adaptations:

As we wash our hands, we affirm our role in protecting ourselves and others.

As we dip in salt water, we cry the tears of a planet besieged.

As we remember the ten plagues, we contemplate our own.


Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh, top left, of Temple Emanu-El of Oak Park hosted a Sabbath service last Friday evening.



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