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My dear Congregation Emanuel Family,

 
Is it only two weeks since we were together since we prayed and ate, elbow bumped and shared wine?  How the world has changed in such a short time.
 
This is a long email – you may want to pour yourself something to drink and get comfortable.
 
As I write this Wednesday night and Thursday (self-editing), I have not left the house in over 72 hours.  I am praying with a minyan and teaching via Zoom, emailing my 26 Hebrew school students, face-timing with my daughters and grandson and leaving packages outside of my In-laws’ home, trying to keep them safe.
 
This will be a very different Passover for all Jews, all over the world.  We are used to joining together, to share the story of our national liberation and our formation as a people (and not a few matzah balls).  This year we will be forced into smaller groups, more intimate company, and for some of us, leading a seder for the first time.
 
That’s why we’re sending this email.  Exigent circumstances call for creative, novel solutions.  This is not a time to stand by established ways of acting when we all need to behave differently than we ever have before.  I have a proposal or more of a virtual invitation.  At least for now, this is a one time offer – I’m not ready to completely abandon the way I’ve practiced Judaism my whole adult time, but this is a sincere, heartfelt invitation.
 
I’d like to invite you, in whatever size group you have in your home, from 1-10 (more than that probably shouldn’t be together) to join us at our family Seder on Wednesday night, April 8, 2020.  I’m aiming for a 7:00 p.m. start (so you can make your plans).  With the usual tangents and occasional irreverence, our Seder takes about 75 minutes from the beginning of kiddush to the beginning of the meal.  You will likely be joined online by my in-laws, I expect my grandson to make at least an appearance, you might meet our dog Waldo and other members of our family (friends who are like family).  We will use my Zoom account and I will send a Zoom invitation through the congregational email closer to the time. You will need to have a computer with a camera and a microphone, a tablet or a smartphone to join us.
 
I am not offering to cook or deliver to you.  You’ll likely have to get your own wine.  I do not want this terrible virus to divide us further, to keep us from observing our rituals, to keep Z’man Cheirutainu, the season of our freedom to be anything less than joyful.
 
Beverly, the officers and I have may have a few kinks to work out.  I’ll probably offer a dry run of the tech for everyone to try and log on a few days before to work any bugs out – our 25 years together have made us a congregation, and while I’ve never been with you for Passover before, I want to be here, even if physically at a distance, for you now.
 
That’s my offer/invitation.  I will not be insulted if you make your own plans.  I will not be concerned if you join someone else’s virtual Seder.  I just wanted to make the offer and let you know that this is something I want to do to bring us together this Passover.
 
Warmly,

Steve

Steve Kerbel, Principal
Steven Kerbel Educational Consulting
301-335-6278
“The Reward for the Mitzvah is the Mitzvah Itself” Mishnah Avot 4

 

There is some Kosher for Pesach wine, grape juice, and matzoh for sale. Please contact Beverly for further information: 336.655.5035.