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Local rabbi sees parallels between Passover, pandemic

Posted at 12:13 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 12:15:39-04

CLEVELAND — The first night Passover Seder looked a little different for families all over the country. This year, with stay at home orders enacted in several states, virtual Seders brought people together.

"Passover is a home-based holiday," said Rabbi Allison Vann. "And so, we have a dramatic experience at the table and we all come together."

Vann leads the Reform congregation at Suburban Temple Kol-Ami. She sees the parallels between Passover and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's a really poignant, bittersweet irony to celebrating Passover which has plagues," she said. " And within the story to where we're living through, in essence, a plague to living through the pandemic."

Passover lasts eight days. Leading up to the holiday, Vann said she's led her congregation to embrace the change as best they can.

"I think people are looking forward to shifting their daily routine," she said. "We're also counseling parents and families with young children to make that shift with food but also know what families can manage...change stuff in the house. Change the food. Do what's right for Passover. Make that demarcation to the Holy Time in the most realistic and holy way possible."

Vann said she sees an opportunity to make a new tradition for Passover this year.

"Don't say this is one and done. You might find something extraordinary that works forever," she said.

And while working through the Hagaddah and the Passover story, Vann said she looked past the stay at home order and past the pandemic.

"We will find our freedom and we will find what's next," she said. "(The Israelites) also live through the unknown and they were okay. We'll be okay too."

Passover lasts until April 16.

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