Lincoln Jewish Communities Adapt to Passover in a Pandemic

April 8, 2020, 6:47 p.m. ·

A Passover Seder table setting (Wikimedia Commons)

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The week-long Jewish holiday Passover began Wednesday, and Nebraskans are celebrating a bit differently this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Passover observance begins with a Seder, a ritual feast that includes sharing the story of the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt.

Peter Mullin is Office Administrator for South Street Temple in Lincoln. He says the Jewish community in this area typically stays home for a Seder with family on the first night of Passover, but they always have a community Seder on the second night.

"We can do our services via Livestream from the sanctuary, but we would have food and all that in the sanctuary [for the Seder]," Mullin said. "So we basically canceled our second night Seder and hope to pick it up again next year."

Mullin says part of their membership lives in Kearney, and they’ve also cancelled the community Seder on Thursday night.

South Street Temple, as well as Tifereth Israel in Lincoln, delivered packages of food used in the Seder to members who are isolating at home.

"I think a lot of folks will be reflecting back to other times when the Passover was celebrated, was observed, throughout even the darkest times — throughout the Holocaust," Mullin said. "And that gives us a little perspective for where we are now."

Passover continues until next Thursday. Mullin says they’re already thinking about how COVID-19 might impact the High Holy Days in September.

"We may have to get a little more inventive and figure out other ways to get together and support each other."

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