Passover services cancelled, but Seder observances will go on in homes around Staten Island – SILive.com

Posted By on March 26, 2020

With religious observances canceled or curtailed due to the coronavirus, Passover services ordinarily observed in temples and synagogues as a way to mark the eight-day Jewish holiday that begins on April 8 have also been suspended.

According to Mendy Mirocznik, president of the Staten Island Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO), family Seders will go on as usual, hosted in individual homes.

The celebration feast will still go on but we are not encouraging big family dinners, but rather small family get-togethers with immediate family, he said. The services will remain closed unless a miracle happens and not until everyone is safe.

Mirocznik adds though Seder observances will will go on as usual, he emphasizes they should be on a smaller scale.

We can pray with our own families. Of course its better in the temple, but it can be a mitzvah positive things we can do and pray together as a family as opposed to going to a synagogue.

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INTERESTING PASSOVER CUSTOMS AND RITUALS

The Jewish holiday that commemorates the Exodus, or the flight of the Israelites from Egypt into the desert, is traditionally a highly-anticipated celebratory feast, or Pesach.

The Seder meal is observed on the first and second nights of the Jewish holiday and ends on the seventh and eighth nights. According to the Haggadah, the Jewish text that sets the order for the Seder, Passover is a time for rededication to the idea of liberation.

During the Seder, the eldest man reads from the Haggadah that reads from right to left.

Customarily, matzo is hidden from children at some point during the evening the child who finds the matzo receives a reward. "Why is this night different from all other nights?" is the question asked by the youngest child.

Guests share in matzo (flourless bread) because when fleeing Egypt, the Israelites couldnt wait for the bread to rise, so they ate it flat), with sliced potatoes, chopped apples and walnuts and hard-boiled eggs passed around the table, before the feast begins.

Participants drink four cups of wine and sample food placed in six compartments on the Passover Seder Plate: Maror (bitter herbs), grated white horseradish symbolizing the bitter lot of the enslaved Israelites; karpas (vegetable), dipped in saltwater; charoset, chopped apples, walnuts and cinnamon moistened with wine and formed into a paste; zeroa (a meat bone), symbolic of the arm of God; baytza, hard-boiled egg symbolic of the festival sacrifice brought in temple times, and chazeret, a vegetable that takes on the same meaning as the maror.

And in traditional households, its customary to reserve special dishes used only during the Passover festival.

VIRTUAL SERVICES

Mirocznik adds virtual services can be viewed online so as to not to interrupt the Passover holiday.

We do group services online as much as we can," he said. However, Orthodox Jewish people cant go online. Through Zoom we do conferencing as well. Computer technology with conference meetings and calls allows us to not interrupt our lives as much as possible and we can continue normalcy at this time," he said.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROJECT

Mirocznik also explained that COJO is coordinating a food distribution project with all of the synagogues on Staten Island to assist those in need on Wednesday, outside Young Israel of Staten Island at 835 Forest Hill Rd., in Willowbrook.

We are pre-packaging . . . and will have volunteers on board preparing packages with gloves and masks. A car will be provided at Young Israel to deliver the food to those in need. Weve been doing this for 45 years. And this year everything will take place outside. Volunteers will bring food to your car. We need to take extra precaution this year."

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Passover services cancelled, but Seder observances will go on in homes around Staten Island - SILive.com

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