A Passover in Quarantine

To everyone’s dismay, Covid-19 has spread worldwide, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and disrupting the lives of millions more, leaving many of us scared to check the news or our social media since each day yields a new wave of panic-inducing updates to the coronavirus situation. In certain parts of the world, many of us are already suffering from total lockdowns as our governments and health professionals do what they can to flatten the curve, requesting that citizens isolate themselves, practice social distancing measures in public, work remotely from home if they can, and generally avoid leaving their homes as much as possible. 

These restrictive measures, although for the good of all humanity, have put a huge strain upon many individuals, particularly those with families who must now deal with the exhaustive demands of entertaining bored children, keeping up with work, and preparing to stay home for extended periods all while grandparents and neighbors are no longer an option to call on for help. A lot of people have also lost their jobs during this time, as non-essential businesses are shut down and certain jobs are no longer needed or can’t be done from home. 

These same struggles are being shared worldwide, but while most of the world is focused on grappling with the chaos caused by the virus, the Jewish community is dealing with yet another hurdle, which is the upcoming major holiday of Passover. With just a few weeks until Passover and seemly no end to the nightmare in sight, it looks like Jews around the world are faced with the probability of a Passover in quarantine. 

For a holiday like Passover, nothing could be worse. Passover is a festival of freedom, and since it is traditionally celebrated among family and friends, the prospect of holding a communal Seder minus the community is a painful pill to swallow, particularly for those whose holiday plans were ruined by the virus and must now find a way to prepare for Passover themselves. 

Thankfully, however, this is not as impossible to do as our over-achieving grandmothers have led us to believe. As long as you are able to gather some basic supplies and remove any chametz from your home, you’re all set. What makes things easier is that you only need to clean areas where edible particles of chametz could possibly be found, such as your pantry and couch seats, so you don’t really need to worry about vacuuming the dust off bookshelves or nuking the linen closet with bleach spray to neutralize non-existent bread crumbs. 

As for what to do on Seder night itself, as long as you have a good Haggadah, some Matzah, wine, and the foods you need, conducting the Seder on your own is simple enough since the Haggadah is basically a step-by-step guidebook. The most important thing, of course, is to just stay calm and do whatever you can to observe the holiday to the best of your capabilities. Remember, it’s not necessary to thoroughly deep clean the house or go bankrupt in order to buy new appliances and cookware, just a few pots and pans, some cutlery and a handful of disposables will be enough to get you by, although we do recommend that you do your holiday shopping as soon as possible if you’re worried about the availability of food or other supplies. 

Apart from those things, the best thing you can do right now is to keep washing your hands, be socially responsible, help others when you can, and listen to your local health officials so we can all get through this crisis together!

As always, on behalf of Israel, we here at Judaica WebStore would like to wish you all a happy and healthy Passover and we hope that all our international friends stay safe so that next year we can all celebrate Passover in Jerusalem! Chag Sameach everyone!