NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — This is the holiest week of the year on many religious calendars.
Passover started Wednesday at sundown. Traditionally, this major holiday in the Jewish faith brings together large groups of people for a meal or seder.
"Usually we say 'Happy Passover' or 'have a meaningful Passover,'" said Rabbi Michael Shulman. "But the reality is, what I've been sharing with our students and our congregants is this Passover is probably not going to be the best, most meaningful Passover."
Rabbi Shulman is from The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom. The Temple is the oldest and largest Jewish congregation.
"Passover 2020 is going to be a difficult Passover," Rabbi Shulman said.
The rabbi organized a virtual seder for the first and second night of Passover.
"We've been giving people materials and things so they can both follow along and do their own thing," he said.
Rabbi Shulman knows this Passover seder is unlike any in the past.
"It is ok that the foods we might normally have, we won't have and the people we normally have around the table are not there and all of that is ok. We have Passover next year. We have opportunities to celebrate and praise God and to remember our tradition and celebrate our tradition. Right now we're going to the best that we can and that is ok," he said.
The Jewish people have had to celebrate Passover during hard times throughout history.
"We have had to observe Passover in strange and difficult times. I think about during the Holocaust in the concentration camps and trying to celebrate Passover in those horrible, horrible circumstances. Or our ancestors that came over to the U.S. who had to make due with nothing and celebrate Passover as best they could," he said.
He believes the COVID-19 pandemic won't stop the traditions either.
"That is something our people have been through before. We'll survive and persevere and we'll get through this," he said.
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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.