SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Millions of people are changing their holiday plans with travel restrictions in place and families sheltering at home.
Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah is planning to hold virtual services for Passover. Rabbi Robert Haas said the synagogue usually hosts two seders for over 150 people every year. However, this holiday, he wants families to still feel connected, even if they have to spend Passover apart due to social distancing.
“We all know we’re going to be at home. Some alone, some with just our immediate family, but we have to understand,” said Rabbi Haas. “We’re still part of the house of worship, even if we can’t go to services. Even if we’re not doing the seder with them or going to whatever holiday dinner or breakfast.”
Seth Grenald is a board member at Mickve Israel. He told WSAV News 3 he travels home to Philadelphia every year to spend Passover with his family. This year, he will need to fill his own seder plate.
“Even when I was living in LA, I was flying in every year for Passover, I have cousins and stuff coming from all over the place, so we used to get like 40 or 50 people coming in for the second Seder,” said Grenald. “I’ll get some wine, get some matzah, and I have a jar of Manishevitz, and soup in the cabinet. I’ll maybe have some gefilte fish, too.”
Reverend Andrew Young at Mosaic Church of Savannah said he is planning on holding a drive-up service for families on Easter Sunday, so he can still look his parishioners in the eye and make sure they are doing okay. He said it’s just another unique way to connect with one another while maintaining six feet of separation.
“We just want to see everyone’s faces and we want to smile and be able to connect, and I’ll be able to see visually how people are doing,” said Reverend Young.
Every year, the church holds a big Easter egg hunt for the kids. Reverend Young said they may postpone it this year so that kids can still enjoy the festive event in June or July. He also said families can still serve their own communion in their homes, with the help of a clergy member or priest.
“The building is just the building,” said Reverend Young. “The church is really its people, and the replication of Christmas and Easter events and communion, all those things can be done in other places.”
He also said his church will host a “Love Feast” on Facebook Live on Sunday. Both religious leaders told News 3 this situation can be an opportunity for immediate families to grow stronger together.