My family has always had a Passover Seder consisting of not only my immediate family, but my extended family as well.
Every year, one of my mom’s cousins hosts the Seder. They switch off years, so we never end up at the same house two years in a row. I always look forward to the Seder because it gives me time to be with so many people from my family that I don’t get to see all the time.
We usually have a traditional Seder during one of the nights of Passover. We read the Haggadah—a book of prayers, songs, and stories specifically for Passover. Then, we have dinner, and after we’ve eaten, we search for the afikomen—a broken piece of matzah that is placed in a napkin and hidden somewhere in the house.
This year was different though, as we weren’t all able to be together due to COVID-19. In place of a traditional Seder, we held a gathering over Zoom.
My family all logged onto Zoom to start our ceremony, but there were some complications. It took almost 30 minutes to get everyone on the Zoom call because my grandma had some trouble managing the technology.
Once we were all on the call, we got out our virtual Haggadahs to start the service. We started from the beginning and went through the prayers, stories, and songs.
We took turns reading like usual and still cracked jokes in between readings. We may have not all been together, but it still felt like we were.
The Seder plate is very symbolic at Passover, but due to the current situation, we were not able to go to the grocery and get the traditional foods. Instead, we pretended we had a Seder plate while some of the other family members got creative and made a plate with what they had. Instead of a shank bone, my uncle used a chicken wing from a local restaurant.
We did the best with what we had and were virtually together, which is the main point of Passover for my family anyway.
We might not have been able to sit down together for a special meal, use finger puppets to act out the 10 plagues, or hide the afikomen, but we still managed to make it a special night.
This Passover will always be remembered for its weird circumstances, but it’s how we worked together to make something special that we will never forget. As we Jews would say, “next year in person!”