Passover, but Different


(Photo/ Toby Tabachnick)

Lila Pechter, Staff Writer

Every year, when Passover approaches, my whole family comes from Westchester, New York City, and North Jersey to celebrate this special Jewish holiday at my house, but not this year. This year, we had what most Jews across America also had: a Zoom seder. My family and I really didn’t know what to expect. Would this last as long as a normal seder? Would it even feel like a normal seder? 

Well, the answer to both questions was no. The thirty-minute Zoom call consisted of me trying to help my grandma turn on her audio for fifteen minutes, and then my baby cousin singing “Let it go” while my dad attempted to recite blessings for the remainder of the call. After half an hour, we all decided we had enough and hung up. My family of four felt that this was as successful as a Zoom seder could get, so we went about our dinner. 

This seder doesn’t sound very special or eventful, but to me it was. Once the call ended, I realized it was the perfect seder. I didn’t have to dress up or make small talk like I dread doing every year. Instead, I got to have a comfortable dinner with the people that matter to me the most, and I also got to check in on my extended family, which I haven’t done in a while. It helped me realize that even though things are very different right now, what really matters are the people in your life. 

Although the seder is a HUGE part of Passover, there is another very important aspect of this holiday: you can not eat leavened bread. Instead, matzah is eaten until Passover is finished. This can be very challenging, especially for me, being the carb lover I am. Even though it is difficult, I normally choose to challenge myself and skip eating bread during this time. 

This year I didn’t know what to do. During this period of social isolation, a lot of my diet has been carbs. I am practically made out of cereal now. I debated for a while what to do, but when I watched my sister grab a piece of cold pizza out of the fridge and devour it right after the seder ended, I knew I would not be keeping Passover. Although that decision may be frowned upon by many Jews who are very strict about keeping Passover, I decided not to be too hard on myself; this time is already difficult enough. 

This time is strange and scary for all of us all. Having Passover, Easter, birthdays, school, and every other aspect of “normal life” changed can feel sad and uncomfortable. Although this time is unideal, what really matters is that we are safe and we are fortunate. So during your time at home, don’t just spend your time yearning for your life “pre COVID 19” but try to embrace the people around you and be good to yourself.