January 21, 2022

New ways to mark Passover

Local Jewish groups offer options for celebrating amid pandemic

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Carol Levine, president of Temple Brith Sholom in Cortland, stands inside the synagogue Monday. The temple and other Jewish organizations are planning COVID-friendly Passover celebrations.

Religious traditions, celebrations in particular, had to change when the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, including those at Temple Brith Sholom in Cortland, said Carol Levine, the president of the temple.

A year later, with the pandemic still around, the local Jewish organizations are offering modified, COVID-19 friendly ways to celebrate Passover like a grab-and-go and virtual seder.

Passover celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew slaves from the Egyptian pharaoh.

Part of Passover is the seder, a meal that includes traditional foods like matzo, an unleavened bread; and haroset, made of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine, and lamb shank. In celebrating the holiday — which begins at sundown March 27 and ends April 4 — the temple will offer grab-and-go meals for the seder at the temple’s parking lot, Levine said.

People can choose one of two options for their dinner, pay online and pick up the meal in person at 2:30 p.m. at the temple’s parking lot at 117 Madison St.

Paying by check is also available at pick up.

To celebrate

  • To order a meal from Temple Brith Sholom, visit www.templebrithsholomcortland.org.
  • To attend SUNY Cortland Hillel’s Passover Seder at 6 p.m. March 27, use link: sunycortland.webex.com/ meet/nance.wilson. Questions can be sent to Nance Wilson at nance. wilson@cortland.edu

“I think it’s a wonderful idea because we’ve never done it before,” Levine said. “This way we’re offering something unique and it makes it very easy for people in the Cortland area” to celebrate.

The temple also will have Zoom virtual services on the first two nights though a time hasn’t been determined yet, Levine said.

SUNY Cortland’s Hillel student group will also be offering a kosher seder dinner to go for college students and community members as well, said faculty adviser Nance Wilson.

People will be able to pick up the meals at the college’s Cornish Hall, Room 1315, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., according to a flyer posted on the group’s Instagram page.

A virtual seder dinner will be at 6 p.m. via Webex.

“We’re going to be together and share the special foods and tell the story” of Passover, Wilson said.

While maybe not as good as having the dinner in person, Wilson said being online can be a benefit by having everyone’s name listed as a way to meet new people.

More importantly, it will allow for people to get together — even if through a screen — to share and celebrate the holiday.

“The importance is us being together to support one another,” she said. “We can still do that online.”