Passover is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. It celebrates the Israelites journey from Egypt to the Temple in Jerusalem. Jews across this world continue to celebrate this momentous holiday to honor these brave Jews successfully escaping Egypt in hopes of finally being free. Every year we celebrate Passover as a way to say thank you, but also to reflect on how we, as Jewish people, continue to fight against waves of antisemitism.
In 2020, Passover happens to occur during a pandemic. A majority of the world is social distancing to stop the spreading of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. Schools and businesses are closed all over the world, with many forced to stay at home. Traditionally, Passover is a rather social holiday. Friends and family come together to celebrate with a seder. However, to protect the lives of others, this is not possible.
Video conferencing has become increasingly popular and the best alternative to face-to-face interaction. Products such as Skype and Zoom continue to increase in popularity. Zoom has dominated the market for video conferencing, with several users soaring into the hundreds of millions. With that being said, the best solution to having a seder without families physically showing up to one’s house is through the use of video conferencing products such as Zoom. Zoom has been approved by several orthodox rabbi’s due to these circumstances and is allowed to be used during the seder.
With such great technology comes great responsibility. Here is how to lead and run a Passover seder on Zoom:
For free accounts, Zoom usually allows a host to have up to 40-minute meetings. However, as seders typically last for about 2-3 hours, a free account will not cut it. Having a pro account is necessary to ensure that meeting or the seder goes uninterrupted, a pro plan goes for $14.99 a month and allows for meetings up to 24 hours. Giving one plenty of time to lead and run a service.
Just because the Sedar is virtual does not mean that that food one eats is virtual; make sure to bring the necessary food, such as all the items on the seder plate, wine, and of course, matzah!
What’s an excellent video conference without good video and audio. I highly recommend, for the highest quality seder, to purchase a third-party accessory such as a USB Microphone or a 1080p webcam to optimize the viewing experience. However, if this is not possible, a working laptop will do.
With a pro account, Zoom can invite as many as 100 participants. So bring as many friends as family as one would like*. To invite them, you can share a link or send them an invitation. The invite link or an invitation can be found at the bottom of the meeting.
*For every person that joins, the host needs to accept their request to participate to ensure the privacy of the meeting. The more people that join, the more the host needs to manage the participants coming in and out.
If one follows these steps, one can ensure the best zoom seder possible!
Ori Gal is an Aleph from Central Region West that loves making movies to entertain people.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
Mateo reflects on his own Jewish thinking, and meaning of following Halachic ritual and standards.
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