Passover is a time for gathering in the Jewish community. Families come together for the festive meal, and invite friends who are alone. Synagogues host communal Seders. Friends away from their families get together to observe and celebrate (and eat.)
Passover takes place from sundown on April 8th to sundown on April 16th, 2020. Traditionally a Seder is held the first two nights, although it can be held other nights as well.
Being together is such an important part of Passover, that it’s a tradition to invite strangers. Can’t find a stranger? At one point in the Seder, a participant opens the door to invite the prophet Elijah in for a sip of wine. There’s even a glass of wine put on the table for him.
But this year we can not safely gather. Since we can’t get together with people we don’t live with, that means that grandparents and grandchildren, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, parents and grown children, won’t sit around the same table.
Seder by Videoconference?
It’s not unheard of for people to use videoconferencing to share a celebration with far-flung friends and relatives, but this year it will be done on an unprecedented scale.
Two popular video call platforms are Zoom and Google Hangouts, and both would work fine. We have provided a getting started guide to both Zoom and Google Hangouts.
Do not make your invite public (for instance, in a public Facebook event.) There have been instances of people crashing and disrupting Zoom meetings, for no good reason. Just send the invite in an email or private message.
It’s tricky to use technology for the Seder, because there are Jewish laws that govern the use electronics on holidays like Passover.
Jews with different practices of observance will also have different levels of concern about using electronics during the Seder. For some, it is not an option. In those cases, why not have a pre-Seder Zoom gathering?
Please consult your own Rabbinic authority to verify that what you’re planning is consistent with your practice and belief.
However, some Jewish authorities have suggested:
- Activating the Zoom meeting before sundown (keeping in mind the time zones of all who are participating)
- Using a virtual assistant, like Siri or Alexa, to activate the stream
Order Passover Dinner for Pickup or Delivery
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen has a delicious Kosher-style Passover meal that you can order for pickup or delivery. You need to order it by Monday, April 6th, at 4 p.m., and schedule pickup or delivery for Wednesday, April 8th, or Thursday, April 9th, between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pickup is at 4001 Yancey Road.
Delivery is to about anywhere in the Charlotte area. There’s a $25 delivery fee that goes directly to the driver and service company.
Order it hot for dinner that night of delivery, or order it cold to save for a later date. All items are Gluten-Free except for Matzah Brittle.
There are many menu choices, including:
- Mains: braised brisket, seared American red snapper, roast chicken, seared salmon, more
- Sides: Asparagus, caramelized pear and fig charoset (nut free available), roasted baby carrots, caramelized broccoli, garlic fingerling potatoes, more
- Desserts: Olive oil cake with blood orange/strawberry compote
- Matzah brittle (toffee and chocolate covered)
- Spring Pavlova
In addition, a Seder Plate Pack, with the ritual items, is available for purchase. (Plate not included.)
Kosher Charlotte, a Kosher catering company, has a passover menu that includes gefilte fish, Morrocan salmon, roasted chicken, brisket, roasted turkey breast, butternut squash kugel, chicken soup, potato kugel, and more.
The Haggadah is the book that guides participants through the Seder. The word Haggadah means “telling,” as it tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
You can purchase a Haggadah, but there are countless versions that you can download and print, for personal use. Here are a few:
Seder To Go
To help you get started, Chabad of Charlotte offers Seder2Go kits. By the time you read this post, it might be too late to get one, and we apologize for that. They are free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Follow the above link to see if you can get one.
The kits contain:
- Seder plate
- Seder plate instructions
- Seder How-To Guide
- Social Media Passover Story
- 1 Shmurah Matzah
In addition the Ballantyne Jewish Center also offers a limited number of Passover Seder Kits, for the suggested donation of $18. Their deadline for ordering is April 2nd at 6 p.m., so by the time you read this, it might be too late. Pickup is April 5th, drive-through only.
The kits contain:
- Seder plate
- Place mat with step by step instructions
- Two tealights
- Handmade Shmura Matza
- Haggada (if needed)
- Charoset (if needed)
- Maror (if needed)
- Zeroa/Chicken bone for seder plate (if needed)
Passover is a festival of freedom. It commemorates the Exodus from slavery in Egypt, under the leadership of Moses, following the Ten Plagues.
The items on the Seder plate each represent something about that story. Here’s a very brief description of each of those objects. If you google, you will certainly find other interpretations of the symbolism of each of these objects.
- Shank bone (zeroa): a roasted bone that represents the Paschal (lamb) sacrifice made by the ancient Hebrews.
- Boiled/roasted egg: stands in place of a sacrificial offering performed in the days of the Second Temple
- Maror (bitter herb): Horseradish is commonly used, but any bitter herb will work. It refers tot he bitterness of slavery.
- Charoset: A sweet mixture of apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon, that represents the mortar the Hebrew slaves used to make bricks
- Karpas: A green vegetable, usually parsley, symbolizing the freshness of spring.
- Hazaret: A second bitter herb, with the same symbolism as Maror.
Other elements of the Seder that you might have heard about:
- 4 glasses of wine (or juice) are consumed by participants.
- Matzah, unleavened bread, is a big part of Passover. It reminds us of the haste with which the Jews left Egypt.
- The Afikomen is a piece broken off from the matzah during the Seder. Many families’ traditions call for it to be hidden. Then, the children look for it, and return it for a reward. There are other variations of this tradition. For instance, in some families, the children steal it and ransom it for a reward.
- The 4 questions: traditionally, the youngest child recites the “4 questions,” which cover the basics of why Passover is special and important.
Free Passover Recipes
After the telling of the Exodus story is over, and the Haggadah is (mostly) finished, dig into the festive meal.
Some traditional items are:
- Roasted chicken
- Matzah ball soup
- Potato kugel
- Apple cake
Find free Passover recipes at: