Thursday, March 26, 2020

How-To: A Socially Distant Seder

New Rules for Passover 5780: So - are we living in 'interesting times,' or what? It was only a week ago that Abq Jew asked (see Passover On Our Own):

Is it still Passover
if we seder by ourselves?

Alas, that is exactly what many of us are facing this year. Few family members, even fewer friends. No groups, large or small.

And then there's the bad news about Elijah the Prophet.

Remember when Malachi (3:24) the Last of the Prophets, in his Final Prophecy, told us

Behold, I send you the prophet Elijah.
And he will return the hearts of the fathers
to their children, and the hearts of the children
to their fathers.

Abq Jew is extremely sorry to inform you, his loyal readers, that Elijah will not personally be handling - or even supervising - heart returns this year. Abq Jew is sure this comes as a shock to many of us.

Who will drink the wine from Elijah's cup?

As with returning the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers -

We'll just have to take charge ourselves.

Passover is clearly going to be
a very different holiday for us this year. 

Here is a brief update on the precautions Mr & Mrs Abq Jew's friends are taking in light of the COVID-19 situation, so that they can make this Passover as safe as possible for their guests.

They have been instituting enhanced cleaning
and hygiene practices in their home. 

They have also been consulting with the CDC, the World Health Organization, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, and New Mexico's Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham - so that they are up to date on the latest recommendations, given the ever-changing situation.

Here are the instructions they've sent to their prospective seder guests.

Artist couple Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre made this viral animation
illustrating the importance of social distancing in stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Photo courtesy of Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre.

We will not panic,
but neither will we fail to prepare. 

So that you are prepared, we want to let you know about some changes in the Passover 2020 celebration:

1. To maintain social distancing, only two people will be allowed to attend at a time. We will be metering entry. We will be sending a Google doc so that you can sign up for your preferred portion of the seder in 15 minute shifts: The Four Questions; The Four Kinds of Children, Dayenu, The 10 Plagues, Elijah, and the Afikomen. We anticipate a lot of interest in the Plagues section, so we will have to make some hard choices. (NOTE: if you have children under 5 who can only attend with their parents, as long as they are entirely wrapped in plastic, you can bring them; no need to sign them up).

2. Some Seder practices and traditions will have to be modified. For example, the family style servings of haroset, matzoh, horseradish, and salt water will have to go. Each guest will receive a pre-packaged box of the essential ceremonial items, plus a bowl of matzoh ball soup. You should be able to cry your own salt water tears.

3. The ceremonial hand washing, however, will be emphasized. Everybody will wash their f*!@#!g hands every f*!@#!g five minutes.

4.  We inquired with the Almighty about the four glasses of wine limit and proposed raising it to eight. She said no problem at all. So there's that.

5. Elijah has advised that due to COVID-19 restrictions in his own organization, he will not be able to attend in person. He is learning to use Zoom (like the rest of us) and we are hopeful that he will be up to speed by then.

6. The 10 Plagues section will be modified to focus on the one obvious plague. The other plagues don't seem that relevant. The kids are hard at work making custom COVID-19 plague masks. The design will be reminiscent of a dog cone. The good news is that they won't mess up your hair! (And we are obviously not sticking our pinkies in our wine and placing drops on our plate and then drinking the wine!!)

7. For the Afikomen, we have determined that having children with grubby hands engage in a hunt all over the house for a small piece of matzah split between all the guests will not work. We will conduct the Afikomen ceremony ahead of time, wearing our N-95 masks and gloves, and apportion it in separately wrapped pieces.

We thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 

If, despite these changes, we are not able to hold the seder in person, don't worry. We will send everyone a Zoom link and it will be like you're actually there! If Zoom does not work, we will proceed by group text, or group sext depending on how we are feeling.

You will be hearing more from us as we navigate this unprecedented situation together. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

No, Abq Jew did not write these Seder 5780 instructions.
They've been circulating around the Internet, authorship unknown.
May they provide a bit of solace in these troubled times.

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