Some Canadian Jews drop virtual seders for second pandemic Passover

·1 min read

Some Canadian Jews are taking a pass on virtual Passover seders this weekend, saying there's no substitute for the garrulous family gatherings that typify the holiday tradition.

Hershel Kagan and Jerry Ritt say last Passover, they co-ordinated a cross-Canada video chat reunion to replicate the convivial feel of the seder, a ritualized meal that retells the ancient tale of the enslavement of Jews in Egypt.

But they say the give-and-take of the ceremony, which encourages group participation in readings, songs, symbolic foods and other customs, just doesn't translate over Zoom.

The Ottawa parents still have a full slate of festivities planned for their two children, but say it's hard to get into the spirit of Passover when you're preparing a multi-course meal for just a handful of people.

Noa Karmel in Calgary says her extended relatives "could not be bothered" to host a seder on Zoom this year, opting instead for a scaled-down meal with immediate family.

But Gail Milner in Edmonton says she's sticking with the virtual seder because being with family on Passover is a vital tradition that Jews have upheld through many hard times before.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press