Covid-19 and social distancing is going to mean that Passover will look very different this year. It is so sad to not be able get together for the holiday the way we usually do, but I am so thankful for the technology that will allow me to say the blessings with my family. As with anything new, there are bound to be some glitches. Here are my tips for your virtual seder.
Planning Your Virtual Seder
Schedule your seder. Find a time that works well for everyone and discuss how long you intend to stay “together”. While your intent might be to do the entire seder together, most little ones will have trouble focusing that long. It might be best to log off when it’s time to eat the meal and pop back on to sing songs at the end, but set these expectations ahead of time so no one feels abandoned when you decide to end the call.
It will be important for everyone to have access to the same haggadah. This year, many organizations are making downloadable pdf versions of the haggadot available for free.
Haggadot for Download:
You can also choose to use different haggadot. The Hebrew prayers will be the same and it will be interesting to hear different English portions from different people.
Test out your technology. Schedule a family hang-out a day or two ahead of time to make sure things will go smoothly on the day. Have everyone practice putting their calls on mute, changing views, etc.
Keeping Kids Engaged
Consider giving every family responsibility for leading one part of the seder. This will give our kids a chance to prepare and will work easier than having people take turns around the table the way we usually do around the table.
Make the search for the afikoman an activity that happens between two houses. You can hide it in your house and have grandparents give your kids hints as they FaceTime around the house or have their grandparents hide the afikoman and the kids give them directions on where to look.
Give one of your kids a phone for the Zoom call and have them do close ups on everything at the table as you talk about them during the seder.
In order to make your Zoom call feel less like a business call, try using a fun Passover background. The bright colors will help keep kids attention and it’ll give you more of a festive feel.
Upsides of a Virtual Seder When You Have Kids
Passover seders can be difficult when you have little kids. You’re torn between trying to participate in the seder, keeping the kids from interrupting the seder too much, and trying to keep them engaged. This year parents will get to take advantage of the mute button. It will give us a great opportunity to answer all of our kids questions and engage with them on their level without disrupting whoever is leading the seder.
Orthodox Rabbis Approve Virtual Seders – https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Zoom-Passover-Seder-rabbis-hit-back-at-critics-622494