Celebrating Passover amid coronavirus outbreak
by Michael Perlman
Apr 01, 2020 | 4099 views | 0 0 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Each year, Chabad of Forest Hills North coordinates a Passover Seder under the direction of Rabbi Mendy Hecht and Rebbetzin Chaya Hecht. This season, as a result of COVID-19, new safety measures were implemented to continue the ritual.

“We are ready for the unexpected, and unfortunately this crisis has put us all in this position,” said Rabbi Hecht. “People are taking it day by day.”

“Seder To Go” kits are available for a suggested donation of $36, and an order form will be on the Chabad of Forest Hills North website.

Each consists of a symbolic egg, shank bone, bitter herbs, romaine, charoset, and a vegetable, as well as a bottle of grape juice and three Shmurah Matzot. It also includes a Seder-plate placemat, Kiddush cup, Seder guide, and an English-Hebrew Haggadah. The matzah, which is sealed, is from Israel and America bakeries.

“These kits are produced by us in the most sterile manner with all items of the Seder plate,” Hecht said.

Chabad’s communal Seder last year attracted approximately 100 guests.

“Seeing people from all walks of life and levels of observance sitting side by side reading the Haggadah and singing the traditional songs is truly inspiring for me,” said Hecht. “It saddens me we cannot plan it this year, but I am sure we will come out stronger.”

He offered advice on keeping a sense of peace and having a meaningful experience during a turbulent time.

“This will be something different for many of us to lead independently for the first time,” Hecht said. “Know that you’re not alone. Praying at home and not in synagogue has caused us to be more mindful and think more about what and who we are praying to, since at times the synagogue can become a social gathering.”

ChabadFHN.com/VirtuaLive offers classes by the rabbi, as well as clips of weekly Torah topics. One class is titled “How to conduct your very own seder from A-Z,” and features home preparations, including cleaning.

“To keep everyone inspired in such hard times, I have included other rabbis and lecturers that also go live daily on an array of timely subjects,” Hecht said. “We have over ten featured rabbis with over 50 lectures. We are also including entertainment broadcasts that cater to all ages.”

Due to the pandemic, Chabad of Forest Hills North is incurring various losses and accepting donations at chabadfhn.com/pesach-fund.
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