By Jordan Weiss
As I sit down to write this, the Eve of Passover nears and the Seder is set to commence. It is one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, a celebration of birth and rebirth, and from slavery to freedom. It is a time for extended family to come together and enjoy a night full of good food, laughs, stories and memories that will be kept in the family for generations. However, this year is no ordinary Seder. For the first time in my life, I am leading the seder, the last seder at home before I head off to university in the fall. Normally, it would be my great-grandparents and my bubie leading the service. Though, each of the aforementioned are not going to be physically present in the dining room for the Seder.
Uncertainty consumes us and eats us whole. It is as scary as the pandemic itself. Panic and anxiety are at the forefront. We are all waiting for life to go back to normal. But nobody knows when this can become a reality. Though difficult to admit, I have not become immune to these feelings during this time, especially in the weeks leading up to Passover. I constantly kept wondering if my bubie was actually going to show up to the Seder. I always look forward to her sharing stories from her childhood, war and even about her intense bridge games. I always await her tremendous cooking of gefilte fish and a yearly roast. She is the backbone of our family and the most loving and caring person I know. She is the most at risk for the virus, with her age and her medical history, but I still held out hope that I could celebrate this great night with her, especially when I knew it was the last seder I was going to spend with her for a while. When I learned that she would not be attending the Seder and instead joining us virtually, I was just glad that we could be together to celebrate, albeit not physically.
We are living in an extraordinary part of history. Unprecedented change has been brought to our home, our city, our country and our world, rocking us and bringing some to their breaking point. However, the pandemic is also testing us to determine the strength and our will to live. As a Jewish community and as a people, though we are not able to celebrate physically in one household, we still are all coming together, bonding and sharing, and that alone proves that we can defeat this virus.