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For Many, Passover Seders Will Look Different This Year

Passover begins Wednesday evening. For many, the week-long Jewish observance is a time to gather and remember family traditions. Jewish Federation of Cincinnati CEO Shep Englander says this year will be much different.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to stay at home.

"For the first time during their lifetimes, they can't be physically together."

That means two things, he says. "The people who usually host are going to be in a smaller space... many fewer people, but also the people who are usually guests may be having to make a Passover seder for the first time in their lives by themselves."

The federation is offering tips and resources on its website, including ways to host a virtual seder.

Passover seders will taste different for many this year. Some foods are scarce and people aren't able to easily visit several stores to find their preferred or favorite items.

Englander says many congregations and several local caterers came forward early in the crisis to offer "Passover in a box" dinners. People could pre-order packaged seder meals and pick them up carry-out style during an assigned time.

While this year may be hard and lonely, he says the community will adapt, create new traditions, and draw strength from thousands of years of Jewish history.

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