There's no doubt that religious holidays and festivals have looked and felt different ever since the pandemic hit. As it continues into this year, the Jewish spring festival, Passover, will follow suit.
Passover falls this week, between March 27 until Sunday, April 4. The holiday observes the freedom of Israelites from slavery, from Egypt. The Annual Passover Seder is a family event that is held in people's homes. But Mt. Sinai Congregation, a synagogue in Cheyenne, also hosts their Passover Seder for the community. But because of the pandemic, they've instead arranged virtual gatherings and events to celebrate the festival.
"In fact, one family is putting their Seder on Zoom and inviting anybody else who'd like to attend via Zoom," said Dave Lerner, who is the board president for Mt. Sinai Congregation. Participants will have to make meals on their own, "but certainly can join in the singing and the prayers via zoom. And there's no charge for that," said Lerner.
Lerner said that the pandemic has presented a silver lining for them.
"Because we moved our services online, all of a sudden, we have people who used to live in Cheyenne and moved away, joining our services. And we're able to keep in touch with these folks and they are able to maintain their connections with our community," said Lerner.
Because of this, Lerner plans to maintain these online services on a permanent basis even after the congregation opens to the public.
"So that even when we open up the building again, we will still have people who are able to join us via Zoom whether they're in town or whether they're thousands of miles away," he said.
Mt. Sinai Congregation's events will also include providing Seder plates for community members. More information can be found on the congregation's website.