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Virtual Seder? Easter Online? New Yorkers Say Let's Try it

JANMARIS PEREZ, HOST: With Holy Week and Passover upon us, it’s an important week for many religious communities in New York and around the world. But this year, like many other aspects of our daily lives, the traditional Passover Seder and Easter celebrations have gone online. Emily Pisacreta talks with New Yorkers about what it’s like to celebrate around the computer.

EMILY PISACRETA, BYLINE: Why is this Seder different from all other Seders? This year, for many Jewish families in New York, there was another guest at the table: the computer screen.

Robin Aufses (OWF-sess) usually has a big 20 person Seder in Long Island. Like other years, she cooked everything in advance.

ROBIN AUFSES: I had already cooked three briskets, a giant potato kugel, baked my cakes. Everything was in the freezer…

By the time Passover came around, she knew it wasn’t all going to get eaten. But she and her husband set her computer up on a stack of books at the dining room table, shared the link for the evening’s haggadah, and kicked off their first virtual Seder on Zoom.

AUFSES: I sent out two icebreaker questions. I’m a teacher so I can’t help myself.

PISACRETA: Rebecca Fabbro comes from a large extended Italian-American family. They’re planning to Zoom on Sunday for Easter, hoping it’ll cheer up her grandmother, who’s stuck in a nursing home where visitors are banned. Fabbro says their Easter dinners are usually festive, with lots of food. But this year, she thinks it’ll be quieter, and maybe even a little somber...and she says, that’s OK.

REBECCA FABBRO: When you look at the Bible and you look at the early celebrations of Easter they weren’t giant church celebrations. They were very private celebrations.

PISACRETA: Whether it’s Easter, Passover, or another holiday? The hope is the same. Next year, in person. Emily Pisacreta, Columbia Radio News.


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