Passover starts tomorrow at sundown. Here in Israel, the Government has imposed a mandatory lockdown starting at 3:00pm tomorrow until 7:00am Friday. Intercity travel is banned and residents of certain neighborhoods in Jerusalem (specifics to be announced) will be quarantined along with Bnei Brak. In addition, Israelis have been instructed not to leave home starting at 6:00pm Seder night until 07:00am Thursday. As PM Netanyahu said yesterday, “I know that this is very onerous but there is simply no choice. We will strictly enforce the lockdown. ”
Seder night will feel very different this year in Israel and everywhere. But, as Israel's President Reuven Rivlin says in his Passover message to Jewish communities across the globe, “No modern-day plague can break the chain that stretches back to the exodus from Egypt and binds our people together.”
Indeed, according to a recent white paper from the Reut Group, the current crisis may present our communities with unprecedented opportunities to revitalize Jewish life by radically changing our priorities, values and patterns of conduct.
Our Common Destiny, a joint initiative of Genesis Philanthropy Group and the State of Israel under the auspices of President Rivlin, is already working to leverage our increased sense of community by inviting Federations to contribute to a Declaration that lays out a set of ethics and values that will map our shared Jewish future.
Passover 2020…and into Yom Haatzmaut
Whether you’re an experienced pro or a first time host, JewishTogether.org has everything you need to create a meaningful and unique Passover experience this year, including JDC Entwine's Global Passover Toolkit with stories and recipes from across the globe.
Over Passover, consider brushing up on your Hebrew and join a Seder hosted by a Jewish Agency shaliach (emissary) in Brooklyn or meet the first woman to command an IDF naval vessel who now serves as a shlicha in Rhode Island. These incredible and dedicated professionals are finding loads of creative and caring ways to bring Israel home – literally – throughout these difficult days.
We hope you’ve already RSVPed to join THE global happening to celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday on April 29th at 2pm – 3pm EDT. If not, here's a link where you can do that now. We’ll keep adding new resources that you can access throughout the day to boost whatever local plans your Federation is making for Yom Haatzmaut. Vibe Israel’s Unboxing Israel, with hundreds of photos, videos, printables, links to stories and suggestions for how to more effectively tell and share Israel's story is our latest addition.
Overseas Partner Activities
Federations continue to fulfill our global mission and are providing critical assistance to Jewish communities around the globe throughout the crisis. Read three people’s stories that demonstrate just how the Jewish Agency is doing that on our behalf:
- 9-year-old Adiso Kahson made Aliyah to Israel from Ethiopia last week and is now in home isolation;
- 17-year-old Elisheva will be spending the seder without her parents at Ramat Hadassah Youth Village;
- Meet Holocaust survivor Etya Papugayev, a resident of The Jewish Agency's low-income independent living home, Amigour.
JDC-Israel just released these short videos and infographics on caring for the elderly during times of stress. They are reaching across Israeli society with English, Hebrew, Russian, Amharic, and Arabic versions. Elsewhere in Europe, Africa and Asia, JDC is responding to urgent needs and strengthening community.
COVID-19 is of course affecting Israel’s Arab communities as well. Arab-Israeli doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are serving on the frontlines, working alongside their Jewish counterparts in the fight against the virus, but they are also coping with social, religious, and economic challenges particular to their communities. For more information on efforts to assist the Israeli-Arab and Bedouin communities, join this series of webinars produced by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues.
Jewish Federations have been partners in the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) since it was created. In a recent encouraging development, the Government classified the Project as an “essential organization” and granted permission for vital educational programming to continue online. All staff who deliver services on behalf of ENP will remain employed during this period.
This year, we don’t have to wait to ask ourselves ‘Why Is This Night Different,’ as we read the Haggadah. That’s what makes the thought of gathering together – in whatever creative ways we choose – to drink our four cups of wine, recited our shared story, and get matzah crumbs stuck in the pages of our Haggadot, more special than ever.
Wishing you and yours a happy, sweet and most of all – HEALTHY – Passover!