Passover is the holiday that resonates the most strongly for me. It is a time to recommit ourselves to goodness and justice, a time to recognize our privilege even in times of hardship, a time to teach our children our traditions, and a time to celebrate the family bond.
It is this last one that makes this year so incredibly difficult. Our modern plague has robbed us of the joy of coming together as a family or that of opening our doors to friends who might otherwise not have a seat at a table. Certainly Jews have celebrated Passover under far worse conditions than ours today, but it is not easy to be sequestered at home for what should be a family event.
We did our best to make do, my parents, sister and brother-in-law joined us over FaceTime as best they could - somewhere someone's connection was weak so the video was choppy and awkward, but we persevered. The kids were not super-cooperative so we kept things very abbreviated with a few blessings, the four questions (the first time my daughter has sung them by herself, we were all very proud of her) and a few words here and there. I got choked up saying the blessing over the children, it is hard this year.
Although it was only the four of us physically at our table I still made far too much food - we had chicken soup with kneidlach, gefilte fish, braised short ribs, various vegetables and of course matzah. We got a 'seder in a box' kit from CJP which had most of the essentials, which was a big help. Tomorrow we'll have lamb chops in deference to the paschal lamb.
Tomorrow we will try to have a larger group with aunts and uncles and cousins etc. We're going to see if Zoom works any better (tonight we couldn't get it to work at all, the audio wouldn't play for my parents and my sister couldn't login at all.) We'll see how much of the seder we are able to get through virtually. I have a feeling that it will be hard to coordinate, but we'll see.
We say next year in Jerusalem, next year may all be free. What we really mean is next year may things be better, next year may we be free of the sickness that keeps us apart from each other, the corruption and injustice in our government, the looming depression. Next year may we each find our own metaphorical Jerusalem, a golden city of peace that so many of us long for, wherever it may truly be. I'll settle for my parents' dining room. I just want to have these modern plagues behind us.