March 2021 Keeping Connected
Just over a year ago I signed onto a Zoom gathering and said to a screen filled with little boxes: “Mah nishtanah halailah hazeh…? Why is this night different? To these two rhetorical questions I offered some answers.
- “We are not wondering about opening day and Fenway”
- “We are not with family and friends in a physical sense”
- “We are not celebrating the second night seder in our synagogue building for the first time in over 40 years”
- “We may or may not have all the traditional Passover foods in front of us”
- “We are feeling strong emotions and experiencing personal challenges that are new to many of us”
- “We are all learning to use a technology that is new to us”
Ironically that night, I was quickly booted off the internet and could not sign back on without rebooting my router; thereby experiencing a new kind of panic. It was not long after that that I added a new word to my pandemic vocabulary: ethernet cable!
Despite the fact that we were not in person, that virtual seder was filled with singing, celebration and community. If you had told me then that a year later, we would still not be able to gather together in our building to mark the Festival of Freedom, I would have been dismayed. But here we in 2021 and Passover is on the horizon. It is clear that we will unfortunately not be able to physically gather together as a congregation, but I still look forward to celebrating with all of you for our 2nd, hopefully NOT annual, Zoom seder! Ari Strasser will once again be joining us to bring beautiful music to our ceremony.
This year there are things to celebrate:
- Many of our family and friends have received their Covid vaccines or the possibility is just on the horizon.
- The supermarkets are once again stocked not only with toilet paper, but most of the foods you would want for Passover.
- We are all far more experienced in using the technology that helps us to be together.
- Spring is coming, which means we will soon be able to safely visit with more people outside.
- We have come to realize, that despite the incredible challenges, we are resilient, adaptable and brave.
My hope is that you will join us for the 2nd night of Passover at our community Zoom Seder at 6:00 pm, March 28th. Please look for information in the weeks ahead and feel free to invite family and friends. The ability to join with folks from so far away is one of the upsides of this type of seder.
Just as at a Jewish wedding, when we break a glass to remind us that even in our time of joy, we do not separate ourselves from the pain and fracturedness of the world, it would feel wrong not to recall at this time, the memories of the over 500,00 Americans and many more around the world who have lost their lives to Covid. For their families the sense of freedom does not include freedom from grief. At the end of every seder we usually say, “Next Year In Jerusalem”. This year I pray, “Next Year an end to the fear and suffering from this virus….”
Rabbi Shoshana M. Perry