Richmond’s Jewish community is preparing for a Passover like no other this weekend due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.
And Chabad Richmond is going out of its way to make sure its members have everything they need to safely celebrate the biggest Jewish holiday in North America.
The holiday begins at sundown on Saturday, March 27 and Chabad Richmond is responding with Passover DIY resources for the community.
Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman, director of Chabad Richmond, describes this year’s holiday as a time to “celebrating alone, together.”
“This year, with social distancing measures still in place, we’ve ramped up those efforts to make sure that everyone will have what they need to celebrate the holiday,” said Baitelman.
“While traditionally, Passover is a time when families and communities come together, this year, we’ll each be celebrating separately.
“For many, it will be their first time conducting a Seder. That’s why we’re making sure that everyone has what they need to celebrate.”
The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated this year from sundown on Saturday until after nightfall on Sunday, April 4.
Passover commemorates the exodus and emancipation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt, and will be celebrated with festive Seder dinners on March 27 and 28.
Other holiday observances include restricting the consumption of leavened products such as bread and pasta, and instead eating unleavened matzah.
The Passover Seder feast includes reading from the Haggadah, drinking wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other unique rituals.
The central observance of Passover—eating matzah, the unleavened bread— takes center stage at the Seder.
Handmade round shmurah matzah is available through Chabad Richmond at 604-277-6427.
Unable to gather for the usual large community Seder at Chabad Richmond, or with extended family and friends this year during the pandemic, most people will be celebrating the Seder at home.
In response, Chabad Richmond is offering full instructions on how to conduct a Passover Seder, ensuring that every Jew in Richmond who wants to have a Passover Seder can easily do so.
Preparations for the Seder don’t just take place in the kitchen. The Seder is generally led by the head of the family, and all kinds of people are stepping into that role for the first time.
They are also making available a unique, user-friendly Passover Haggadah, the guidebook for the Seder.
Rabbi Baitelman wants to remind the local Jewish community that “You are not alone, and our community is as strong as ever.
“Faith, tradition and community has never been more important than now. With the help of God and community, we will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.”
More information about Passover is available at www.ChabadRichmond.com/Pesach.