One year ago this month, the global Covid-19 pandemic took hold and began to impact every facet of our lives. One of the first big changes to life as I knew it came when our community seder was canceled, as were the sederim in homes across the globe. I was personally devastated, as this was to be the first seder with my new grandson who was to take his maiden flight across the country to share this special time with us. (Of course, we missed having his parents with us, too!)
As it turned out, we attended more sederim last year than ever before. All of our children joined us via Zoom to share matzoh and bitter herbs, which were sweetened when some of our MLJC family joined in, too. We had seats at the table, as well, when our machuteinum on the east coast invited us to Zoom in with them and we all shared a Shehechyanu moment as we began counting the days until Liam would ask the Four Questions.
Nothing can keep us from one another. Not a Pharaoh, a Haman, a 40-year trek through a desert, a global pandemic. We have continued to attend Shabbat services with Jews across the nation because this means something to us and, sadly, but significantly, have attended shiva minyanim from afar because we care. We have taken classes, baked challah together and checked on those we love. And, we have done all of these via Zoom, FaceTime, YouTube and phone calls.
We are a stiff-necked people; the Torah tells us that. When something is meaningful to us, we don’t give it up very easily—or at all. This month, we usher in the month of Nissan and, a few weeks later, as we sight the full moon, we will celebrate Passover, 5781. Chances are, we won’t be gathering around the table, yet again, with friends and family to tell our story, to dip twice, to search for the Afikomen. However, we will find ways to connect, to share, to bless our wine and each other. We will learn to use whatever it takes to “be” together. We will listen as the babies of yesterday ask the questions that remain relevant today and we will complain about being separated once more and about how our matzoh balls didn’t turn out just right. We will do this because it matters, because it’s tradition, because we need one another and because we will, thankfully, always be a stiff-necked people.
Chag Pesach sameach,