Passover has just occurred and it is important for us all to realize the religious importance of this holiday occurring during a pandemic. It’s crazy to think that like today, the Jews in Egypt were experiencing a plague that made them stay home. Although they were slaves and stripped of their freedom, they gathered with family, friends, and even strangers to observe Passover in their homes (Reform Judaism). Obviously, the circumstances were quite different, but, like the plague, the coronavirus has stripped our freedom to go outside and quarantined us inside. Over time, Passover has been observed in homes, forests, and secret hiding places for hundreds of years. Jewish people even observed the holiday in concentration camps during the Holocaust and shortly after World War II. Throughout all diseases, murderous regimes, and famines, Jews have continued to practice their religion and have stayed devoted to the idea that we deserve to be free.
Celebrating Passover in a house you can’t leave is difficult because you don’t always have the ability to participate in a seder and gather all kosher materials and foods. For some Jews, they decide to switch out all their silverware and cookware to ensure they are having a fully kosher seder and meal. However, this wasn’t possible for many people who have their separate cookware in storage or inaccessible places. This year, my family and I celebrated Passover with a traditional seder, but we were missing some traditional components of the seder plate. Yet, we found ways to eventually incorporate all elements of the plate in non-traditional manners (18 Doors). Sadly, many of my favorite parts of Passover dinner were missing like Charoset, an Ashkenazi delight made with fruit, nuts, and brown sugar. Some of my friends went through similar experiences. Juliette M. ‘22 says that she did, “A virtual zoom with [her] grandparents and cousins who [she] normally wouldn’t spend Passover with … Although this is a tough time, [her] family is trying to be as positive as possible and make the best out of the situation.” The truth is the most we can do at this time is to stay safe by staying inside. Connecting with others virtually is a great way of staying in touch, especially during a holiday that represents the freedom of our people. Ava P. ‘22 as well says that she was, “Zooming with her family friends.” Togetherness is really what comes at the core of this holiday, and virtually being with the people you love during this time is the best way to do so during quarantine.
To conclude, it is crucial that Jewish and non-Jewish people think about the importance of Passover during this pandemic. Everyone should continue to think about the longing and notion of freedom but make sure to appreciate it from the close quarters of your home.