Your 2021 guide to virtual Passover seders
While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and loosened restrictions on gatherings will allow some families, friends, and congregations to be together this Passover, the majority of us are preparing for yet another pandemic Passover.
Last year, Jewish communities around the country came together virtually to celebrate the holiday, the first of what would become a full year of virtual Jewish holidays.
This year, having had plenty of time to plan and master the art of Zoom gatherings, Jewish congregations and organizations have created a variety of ways to participate in a virtual seder.
To make things easier, the Forward has put together a list of a few virtual seders you’ll love.
1. City Winery’s Downtown Seder
In New York, City Winery will host its annual “Downtown Seder ,” a tradition that goes back to 1997. The night will feature more than twenty guests including comedians, musicians, and thought leaders including Al Franken, Marc Cohen, and Lewis Black. In addition, four NYC mayoral candidates for 2021, Andrew Yang, Scott Stringer, Ray MacGuire and Kathryn Garcia will do a blessing on one of the four glasses of wine. If you’re interested in “wandering the COVID desert for an ancient dinner party that transcends religion,” you can register for the virtual event taking place on March 25th, two days before Passover begins.
2. Lab/Shul’s Freedom Fast
Lab/Shul’s “Freedom Feast” offers a multifaith Passover seder led by Jewish Christian, Muslim, and Zen faith leaders. The seder will feature artists, elected officials, musicians, and activists to celebrate “a shared commitment to justice, liberation, and human dignity.” The interactive seder will also include live music and prayer with the goal of inspiring unity, healing, and hope. The virtual event will take place on Sunday March 28, the second night of Passover.
Lab/Shul is also offering a Passover Prep workshop for anyone looking to get organized before the holiday commences.
3. Buzzfeed’s Tasty Clubhouse Passover Seder
For a star-studded Passover event, you can join the first-ever Clubhouse Passover Seder, “Night of 1,000 Jewish Stars.” Co- hosted by Hot on the Mic’s Leah Lamarr, and media personality Nicole Behnam, the event will feature a diverse range of Jewish actors, comedians, musicians, influencers, Holocaust survivors, philanthropists, and Jewish allies. Previously announced special guests include Tiffany Haddish, Chloe Fineman, Jeff Garlin, Mayim Bialik, Michael Rappaport, Noa Tishby, Kosha Dillz, and the Black Jewish Alliance.
Not only will some of the world’s most famous rabbis lead the Passover prayers, but the night will also include a 21st century blockchain experience to represent the hiding of the afikomen. The event will benefit the non-profit organization, Value Culture, and raise funds for anti-hate, food security, and mental wellness. It will be co-broadcast on the Clubhouse platform and Buzzfeed Tasty’s YouTube channel.
4. Beyt Tikkun’s “Liberation Seder”
On the West Coast, Beyt Tikkun is hosting a virtual version of their community Liberation Seder. Beyt Tikkun is a San Francisco Bay Jewish Renewal Synagogue for Spiritual and Social Transformation, and their Passover seder emphasizes the Jewish value of tikkun olam. The seder will include singing, dancing, and focus and focus on creating a politically progressive, environmentally conscious, and healing celebration. The event will take place on March 28th, the second night of Passover.
5. JewBelong’s “Burning Man-ischewitz”
Back in New York, JewBelong will conduct their second virtual seder, “Burning Man-ischewitz”, on both the first and second nights of Passover. Hosted by Matt Broussard of Comedy Central, the seder will emphasize JewBelong’s central message of belonging and inclusion. This seder is perfect for Jews (and non-Jews) who might need a refresher or want to learn more about the rituals and traditions associated with the holiday.
“The world has too much other-ing and marginalizing right now,” JewBelong co-founder, Archie Gottesman, said. “We want everyone to feel the belonging in a holiday that is about freedom!”
6. The Well’s “Friendseder”
Perfect for those who enjoy Friendsgiving, this might be your virtual seder of choice. A project created by The Well, a Jewish community organization for young adults in Detroit, Friendseder is an “out-of-the-box seder experience” friends, families, or groups can order and share together. The experience comes in a variety of packages, and can include online resources, recipes, playlists, a haggadah, and a digital or physical Passover board game designed for young adults. The game can be played at any point during the week of Passover!
7. Mishkan Chicago’s Musical Seder
For all the music-lovers out there, Mishkan Chicago has you covered. “Revelation in the Wilderness: A Musical Seder” will be an evening of “soul-stirring music,” to guide reflection and exploration of the year we’ve experienced since last Passover, the beginning of the global pandemic. The seder will feature original music, and take place on the first night of Passover.
From everyone at the Forward, we wish you and your family a happy Passover.