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Passover 5780/2020 Essentials, COVID-19 Edition: Holy Newness

03/31/2020 10:51:50 PM


First of all, humour:
Passover for Social Distancers
(The author is the spouse of Reconstructionist Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Director for Jewish Life at Georgetown University. NB – heavy on the wine jokes.)
Next, music! Enjoy these contemporary and traditional songs for the seder (all found in the Reconstructionist Hagaddah A Night of Questions):
Shabbat Unplugged - "A Night of Questions" Haggadah Recordings
Watch the fabulous videos, and check out the list of wonderful resources, prepared by our educator Morah Jenny – on our web site:
Family Passover Resources from Morah Jenny
And now. Breathe. Think of one sign of spring you have seen out your window, or on a walk, run, or bike ride. Breathe a blessing of appreciation for newness, growth and possibility.
Then. Allow that the next breath may cause that appreciation to dissolve into (choose one or more) the fear/sadness/worry/longing/overwhelm/fatigue/_____________ that grips and attaches itself to you in this our second full week of mandated physical distancing.
This is also the start of the second week of Nisan, the Jewish month with seders at its very light-filled, full moon center. For some, Passover and seders are an absolutely central access point of connection – to Jewishness, to family of origin or family of choice, to essential values, to inspiration for the future.
So so much about our seders, and the world, are deeply different this year. When the section of the seder called maggid is launched with the question: Ma nishtanah ha laylah hazeh mikol haleylot - why is this night different from all other nights, there will surely be an existential krekhts, a cosmic oy-vey, like a world-wide stadium wave of existential shrugged shoulders and upturned hands.
Rav A. Y. Kook, who said many wise things, said this: hayashan yit-chadesh v’ha-chadash yit-kadesh – the old shall be made new, and the new shall be made holy. So concise and poetic, even visually, in the Hebrew: הישן יתחדש והחדש יתקדש.
Many many old things, traditions we adore and that nourish us, may be absent from our Passover observances this year. V’ – AND. This year, everything we do that is new is filled with the holiness of our intention to keep our beloved holiday sacred while keeping each other safe. There is no more holy newness than this.
- Rabbi Liz
Note: See our Passover Resources page, including a downloadable version of A Night of Questions, to make this year’s Passover extra special.

Sat, October 31 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781