How To Organize A Virtual Passover Seder
You can have your chocolate matzah and eat it too
The Passover seder involves a lot of preparation; getting the paper goods, making a menu, shopping for groceries, cooking the brisket, making sure your aunt has enough wine on the table, and getting the whole family together for a meal. Homes are usually packed with 15+ guests 6 inches apart from each other, but under the circumstances, this year will be a little different. Families can still follow their Passover traditions and be together, virtually. Here's how to organize a virtual seder.
Send out Zoom Invitations
Since we can't have gatherings of more than 10 people, your guest list will probably be cut in half. That doesn't mean you still can't see family and friends. Turn your place cards into Zoom invitations by scheduling a meeting on the app and emailing it to your guests.
For older relatives that are technologically challenged, guide them through the steps of setting up Zoom over the phone or sitting at their doorstep (social distancing is so important no matter how hard it is). Be patient! If they don't have a computer (or smartphone/iPad), they can do the seder over speaker phone.
Call your Kosher Caterer or Deli
If you've cooked for what feels like 40 days and 40 nights, maybe sit back on this one. Call your local caterer or deli for things like prepared brisket, potato kugel, stuffed cabbage, matzah balls, and gefilte fish. You're supporting local businesses and not even lifting one pan!
Share Your Recipes
Passover is about traditions, family, and the food (much like every Jewish holiday). If you cook your grandmother's famous tzimmes every year, you can still make them to share at the seder. To make it seem like everyone is together this Passover, email a menu or your favorite recipes to your Zoom seder. Everyone can enjoy the same food and cook it themselves, but if you refuse to share your secret recipe, you can drop off meals to relatives close by.
Your aunt refusing to share her secret to fluffy matzah balls.
Hand Out The Haggadahs
Singing the prayers, asking the coveted "Four Questions", (laughing with your cousins) and taking turns reading from the Haggadah is essential to any seder. However, this year will be a little different. To make sure everyone's on the literal same page, one person can scan their book and send PDF copies to their virtual guests. Most temples give books out each year, but if you can't go there Amazon has plenty (the long and short version). Haggadot.com also has a library of original Haggadahs you can download, and you can even create your own.
Try to assign every family (or Zoom Member) a prayer or have everyone take turns in an order so no one is talking over each other. Yes, we know that with Jewish families that is inevitable.
Hiding the Afikoman
It's customary for the younger kids to go on a treasure hunt for the "dessert" matzah towards the end of the seder. However, if all the kids can't search together, pick one host to hide the afikomen and play a game of "Hot and Cold". Have the kids direct you throughout the house and warn them if they're getting warmer or colder. Whoever finds it usually gets a gift - this Passover you can send a virtual afikomen present like an E-giftcard.
Kids asking for their $1 after finding the afikoman.
Passover will be very different this year not being surrounded by family. But with a few extra steps and modifications, you can still connect and celebrate together.