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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Upbin

Here's How Faith Leaders Say We Should Get Through This

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

“In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt” - From the Passover Haggadah

Rabbi Danielle Upbin

Passover Seder is the most commonly observed Jewish ritual. Period. No other observance comes close to the popularity of Seder. And yet, in all the years that we have asked: “How is this night different from all other nights?”, we never could have imagined just how different Seder 2020 would be. Large gatherings of family and friends sharing the “Feast of Freedom” with cherished recipes and endless conversation simply won’t happen this year — at least not in person. While quarantine will restrict our ability to gather physically, it will not extinguish our spiritual resilience.

The Jewish people have always known how to adapt in times of crisis. This year, through the combination of creativity, technology, and virtual connection, the Seder will still find its meaningful place. Many will still be able to gather, albeit differently, and expound upon the themes of the night. Others will be alone or only with immediate family members. But even when there are no children to ask the “Four Questions”, an adult asks them. The show must go on.

Connecting our lived-experience to the Exodus narrative feels very real this year. Every aspect of the Haggadah can be meaningfully refracted through the lens of the coronavirus: The ten plagues, the symbolic foods, even our songs of gratitude. Just as God heard the prayers of our ancestors and redeemed them from Egyptian toil, this year, we pray that God redeem us from the clutches of the virus, speedily restoring us to the freedom of good health and vigor.

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Rabbi Danielle Upbin is the Associate Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater

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