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Preparing to celebrate a Passover like no other

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

The first night of Passover is next Wednesday, April 8. Time is particularly fluid these days. So many bench marks and scheduled events have faded into the background, cancelled or postponed. We are living day by day in seclusion, the rhythms of our households moving us through time. But regardless of what is happening in the world, the next full moon on the 15th of Nissan is the time when we celebrate our freedom: Exodus. Passover is upon us. This week we prepare.

Next week we celebrate.

This will truly be a Passover like no other in our life times. We will be apart from our traditional groups of friends and family. There will be no rearranging of the furniture this year. The folding tables and chairs will stay in the garage. Batches of matzah soup will be smaller and the brisket will last longer as cherished leftovers.

This Passover we are not enslaved. We are still free. But we are confined. We are both free and confined.

We are confined for the good of our civilzation, for the good of our neighbors. We confine ourselves for the sake of the vulnerable amoungst us. We do it because we know that our separateness, even at this celebratory season, will work towards healing and wholeness. It is what is needed and what is right. We do it because we have hope that there is a promised land, a better place on the other side. And we know how to get there.

We carry something very powerful with us as Jews when we entered into this confinement. Hope. Tikvah. Knowledge that a better future awaits us. We will walk through the valley of the shadow of death with courage and faith as a Jewish people. And we will come on the other side transformed and healed. We always move forward as a people-our hope is what pulls us and our commitment to the future which pushes us. Push and pull: Hope always in our songs and prayers and stories, fueling us forward.

Passover, the Seder and our customs for Passover are a way to pass hope from one generation to the next. To keep our chain of tradition, our chain of hope, alive. Passover pulls us into the future. And here it is. Once again. Passover 5780. This one will be historic.

We will prepare: we will get ourselves and our lives ready for this festival which begins on the FULL moon. Matza is available at most grocery stores. This is not a luxury. Matza is a necessity at this season. Or you can make matza yourself.

Embrace this special ritual food as a way to be pulled into the future with joy and hope.

Kol Ami is also offering a workshop on Sunday April 5 at 4pm via Zoom on leading a small home Seder. Look in HaKol for the link.

We will celebrate: we will gather in spirit and in the smallest of family groups, only with those who we share space every day. Only. There are rules this year.

And so of us will be alone at Passover for the first time. We might be telling the story to ourselves. Or to just one or two other people. All of our seders will be small but so many will be celebrating at once. All over the world. Under the same full moon. There is great strength is separate yet together. A building of spiritual strength.

Doors will be opened all over the world. We will pray that next year we will be able to enter and leave each other’s homes freely. For even in Jerusalem this year people are unable to share a Seder with anyone outside their home. Even in Jerusalem. And our songs and hope and joy will flood into the streets of the world when we open our doors. We will share our strength with the world.

We are going to lean in our chairs and celebrate bring free people. We will eat like the Romans. We will sing silly Passover parody songs like Americans. We will call our loved ones or Zoom with them. Just seeing their faces will be a joy. A gift. We will march on. And Dayenu, it will be more than enough. Whatever happens this year, it will be enough.

Kol Ami IS hosting a 2nd night Seder without walls. At 5pm in April 9 I will host a one hour long Seder from my home over Zoom. All you need is your Seder plate and food, wine...and I will send out a pdf of the hagaddah we will be using. I think I can pull off people taking turns reading. And there will be lots of singing. It will be short, fun and together! An experiment. This will be a Passover truly like no other.

Today we are keeping safe from plague. We are praying the angel of death will indeed pass us over, leave us unscathed from the misfortunes of our times.

Separate yet together:

for the sake of past generations who endured so we could see this day

and for future generations who will know the story

of our Passover during the 2020 Pandemic. And how we endured.

Preapre. Celebrate. Flex your hope. 💪

Many blessings,

Rabbi Kinberg

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