SWFL rabbis learning to host Passover Seder amid coronavirus pandemic

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Traditional Passover Seder dinner. (WINK News)

Wednesday marks the first day of Passover, but this time, it’s during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrations have certainly never been this bare.

After 38 years as a rabbi, Marc Slack knows how to host a Passover Seder, but tonight’s is different.

He says he’s both excited and nervous. “I have never done a ‘Zoom Seder’ before.” Wednesday night he will.

“At the time where we most need people around us, Zoom has to be good enough,” he said.

It’s not going to be perfect; a “test run” of sorts proved that.

“Someone in his upper 80s joined us and…it did take about an hour and a half of coaching to get him to join us. But ultimately he did and he loved it,” he said.

From PDF prayer books virtual sing-alongs, Zoom isn’t the only change and challenge: there’s also Seder food.

“There’s people that literally need food,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz at Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida. “So we’re helping them get that whether it’s gefilte fish or some meat or whatever people need we’re here to try to help them.”

For these rabbis, it’s about remembering.

“The most important thing is about creating a relationship with God,” Minkowicz said.

“We Jews have seen far worse times, and we have lived and we’ve managed to celebrate through far worse times than this,” Sack said.

Perspective in very uncertain times.

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