How to have a socially distant Passover or Easter during the coronavirus lockdown

How to have a socially distant Passover or Easter during the coronavirus lockdown

Social distancing on a regular day is difficult.

And during the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays, which are marked by religious gatherings and big family meals, health experts urge congregants to stay vigilant by staying home during the coronavirus lockdown — and getting creative with technology.

“We know it’s a special holiday season, but this disease doesn’t care about religion,” says Dr. Briana D. Furch, a physician-scientist who specializes in infectious disease and public health. “It also doesn’t care about social status or ethnicity. It wants to be in your nasal passages and respiratory tract.”

To stop the spread of COVID-19, Furch advises people to stay at home, not let new people into their houses to celebrate and skip religious services in person.

“People may cough or sneeze, and the virus can last for up to three hours in the air. Transmission is as simple as that. To decrease it, stay home, FaceTime your family and contact your church, temple or mosque to find out how they are using technology for services.

“This is the ultimate definition of apart together.”

Here are some of the novel ways families are keeping tradition and dropping the social interaction.

Though Passover begins Wednesday, Brooklyn-born 99-year-old Marley Koslowe got an early start with a Zoom video chat Seder this past Sunday with nearly one hundred family members.

“I could not believe what I was witnessing,” she tells The Post. “It was such a beautiful sense of family feeling.”

Now in Miami, she’s no stranger to video chats with her 59 grand- and great grandchildren. So when it came to having a virtual seder, she felt optimistic.

Though Passover begins Wednesday, Brooklyn-born 99-year-old Marley Koslowe got an early start with a Zoom video chat Seder this past Sunday with nearly one hundred family members.

“I could not believe what I was witnessing,” she tells The Post. “It was such a beautiful sense of family feeling.”

Now in Miami, she’s no stranger to video chats with her 59 grand- and great grandchildren. So when it came to having a virtual seder, she felt optimistic.

“The most amazing thing was that as it started to move along, you felt a connection, like we were all there together,” she says. “Seeing it visibly was a very major thing, and hearing the singing of the children was the best.”

Her family tuned in from New York, New Jersey, Miami and Israel. Her son-in-law, Rabbi Bini Krauss, a principal at SAR High School in The Bronx, says that while he did’t want to diminish the significance of Coronavirus, he also felt that this moment meant a great deal to Koslowe and the rest of the family.

“She said it was one of the best moments of her entire life,” Krauss says.

Koslowe will turn 100 in June and says she has a positive outlook about the future.

“Let’s all feel that the worst is behind us, and the good is coming,” she said. “We have to look forward to better times. The Seder is here, and we’re all here, and here we are.”

Bunny in the Window

Every Easter, Jeanie Letts’ three children participate in a neighborhood Easter egg hunt followed by brunch with the Easter bunny at her parents’ golf club. Now stuck in her Manchester, NJ, home with her children and husband, Letts, a cop, found a way to marry tradition with germ-free social distancing for the holiday, which falls on April 12 this year.

“My friend told me that her friend is dressing up as the Easter bunny, and coming to the window to dance for the kids, wave to them and hide eggs on the front lawn,” Letts, 40 tells The Post. “I jumped right on it.”

She landed a coveted 9:45 a.m. Sunday spot, paid $20 and is going to surprise her kids, ages 10, 8 and 5.

“It’s extremely important to give them something special. They are missing out on all of the fun stuff they normally do in school in the lead-up to the holidays.”

Telecom tradition

At the start of Passover, Becca Sheinin’s Passover seder will have bitter herbs, the Haggadah and a sturdy internet connection.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old Carroll Gardens resident, her husband Ronnie and 14-month-old daughter Miri will tune into Zoom to join about 40 relatives from Virginia, Washington DC, Chicago and her native Cincinnati.

“When I think of Passover, I think of getting together with family, singing songs and celebrating our traditions,” Sheinen tells The Post. “My cousin Billy in DC organized it and he’s assigned people their parts in the ceremony. I think we’ll look back and we’ll be thankful that we were able to maintain some normalcy.”

Sheinin, a designer behind label Becca Jill, says a seder normally lasts for two hours, but she predicts an abbreviated ritual.

“It’s going to be more informal and I can’t imagine us lasting more than a half-hour,” says Sheinin who is looking forward to social interaction.

“It’s nice to finally have something on my calendar.”

DIY Easter

The mall Easter bunny is social distancing, but that didn’t stop Toms River, NJ, resident Marc Buttacavoli from giving his kids their annual photo with the fictitious hare. The dentist stepped in with a little help from his wife, Marybeth, whose own mother is a retired home-economics teacher and has a creative touch. She dressed her hubby in a “ridiculous” pink floral bow, whiskers and bunny ears.

“When we came up with this idea a week ago, we cracked up. What else are we going to do? We just have to keep laughing,” says Marc. “It’s important to maintain some sort of normalcy.”

On Easter Sunday, they will enlist toys and technology to stay connected. They’ll stream morning mass then have a brunch on FaceTime with Marc’s extended family. Dinner will be with Marybeth’s parents, siblings and their children over Zoom.

But their daughter Anna, 6, wanted a fuller house. She asked to print out large photos of every family member and put them on stuffed animals to be arranged around the table.

“My daughter is quite literal, so I think we will actually have a kids table for the stuffed animals. She has requested high chairs for the baby cousins,” says Marybeth.

“It will be more calm than usual,” Marc says. “There will be no running from mass to brunch and then to dinner. The other aspect is that we’re probably going to have this holiday with people we wouldn’t normally see. My brother who lives in California will be at brunch, even if it is virtual.”

And they have a goofy memento to show for their quarantine celebration. “The picture is definitely going to stay on the mantel long after Easter.”

Brothers in faith

If anyone will be experiencing a physical void on Easter Sunday, it will be religious leaders. Father Sirianni, the pastor at St. Helena Catholic Church in Edison, NJ, will be missing his usual big Italian Easter feasts that include his 88-year-old mother and nieces, nephews and three brothers.

“Normally, my brother Michael is a chef and he prepares the antipasti, pasta, lamb, chicken and all of the trimmings — and of course the Italian pastries and wine,” the 60-year-old priest says.

Instead, he’ll be expanding his tastebuds while dining with his priest roommates, Father Joseph, a 72-year-old native of Poland and Father Keith, a 42-year-old Polish-American.

“They are going to a Polish store in Linden and they’ll surprise me.”

As for his religious duties, he’ll be streaming mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Saturday and Easter Sunday with only a deacon, a camera person and a parishioner on hand to do the readings.

“But I know it’s not empty,” says Sirianni. “I am bringing people’s intentions there with me. You can tell us to be alone, but we’re not lonely.”

via https://nypost.com/

The post How to have a socially distant Passover or Easter during the coronavirus lockdown appeared first on Blog - DannaBananas.com.

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