Rabbis host virtual Passover seder to bring people together during social distancing

Posted at 10:57 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 11:57:45-04

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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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.

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At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


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