Wednesday marks the first day of Passover, one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. The evening is traditionally celebrated with loved ones at home or at a Synagogue with dozens of fellow believers, but because of coronavirus-related restrictions, some celebrations will be different this year. That's why one Carmel Valley Rabbi is showing his community how to celebrate during a pandemic.
“This is going to be the first time we ever do it at home,” said Rabbi Mendel Polichenco. “We usually do it at the synagogue, usually with over 100 people.”
Rabbi Polichenco has been a practicing Rabbi for about 26 years and was selected as the Rabbi of Chabad Carmel Valley in 2014.
“Until now, the synagogue was in one location, but now it’s in every living room,” said Rabbi Polichenco.
While many Jewish families celebrate the beginning of Passover at home anyway, some cannot be with their loved ones because of physical distancing orders.
“My wife and I made a video, ‘Do it yourself Seder’,” said Rabbi Polichenco. A Seder is a traditional dinner to observe the start of Passover, which commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery.
In the YouTube video, Rabbi Polichenco starts by explaining a traditional Jewish story and talks about the important of celebrating the holiday.
“Many of us have had our fondest memory from Seder night. This year is going to be different,” Rabbi Polichenco said.
He also delivered Seder to-go kits to hundreds of San Diegans. The kits include a replica silver cup, instructions, religious books and “everything people need at home” to celebrate the Seder.
This will make you really free and happy. And let’s hope all of humanity can learn the lessons from this very difficult time and come out stronger, happier and healthier,” said Rabbi Polichenco.
A second Seder is celebrated Thursday and the Passover holiday ends April 16.