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Pesach 5780 - Information and Resources

Shalom friends,
 
This year our annual Pesach preparations include a host of new realities, questions and complexities. Mah Nishtana halayla hazeh? This year, Pesach night will be different for all of us.
 
But even with everything happening, we can still have meaningful, safe, uplifting Pesach experiences! Below are some resources that I hope will be helpful in your preparations for a different but still powerful Pesach experience. If I have missed anything please let me know so we can include resources and guidance in future communications.
 
  1. Purchasing Food
  2. Kashering your Home
  3. Selling Chametz
  4. Maot Chitim
  5. How to Lead a Seder
  6. Dealing with Seder/Yom Tov and Isolation
  7. Fast of the First Born
  8. Biur Chametz  
  9. Financial Support

 

Before going into all the details, please know that an overriding principle in making all Jewish decisions is "Vechai bahem" - and you shall live by the mitzvot, "velo sheyamut bahen" and not die from them. Pikuach nefesh, saving a life, is docheh kol ha-Torah kulah - overrides the entire Torah when dealing with situations like these. This applies when making Pesach decisions on how we gather, shop, and prepare. It is halachikly imperative to follow the guidelines of the CDC on social distancing, gathering and travel for the safety and well being of all.
 
Additionally, if anyone has any concerns about any aspect of Pesach observance which may pose a threat, even if remote, to one’s safety, please contact me for individual halachik guidance. This includes but is not limited to concerns about isolation and mental health, kashering and safety, food, etc. You can schedule time to discuss any individual concerns with me easily by clicking here: https://calendly.com/event_types/26765420/edit?return_to=%2Fevent_types%2Fuser%2Fme or reach out to me via email, text or whatsapp.
 
 
1. Purchasing Food
 
Thank God our grocery stores are well stocked and the food supply system is strong.
 
Physically going grocery shopping is a challenge because going to the store poses a real risk to coronavirus exposure. 
At this time we strongly encourage everyone to shift to online ordering. Though it is not as simple as going to the grocery store yourself, especially for those of us who are less used to computer shopping, it is much safer. With the right resources and a little online effort, almost everything you need can be delivered to your home.
 
Our member Elliot Raff compiled a list of food stores and pharmacies in Skokie with information on their delivery status here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1il_za0wWeLxhEJ8EapIlIaSe5NlbcnJ563OigdfSdKs/edit?usp=sharing
 
We are also grateful to Skokie Chabad for putting together this thorough document which lists the many ways you can have food delivered to your home in Skokie. 
 
If you need assistance, either financial or with the computer to set up online shopping, please contact ravari@svaj.org and we will strive to find a volunteer to help you through the process.
 
In addition to online grocery shopping, there are several options for those who wish to have their seders catered. 
 
Skokie Chabad, in partnership with Zelda’s, is offering catered Seders for delivery. You can order here: https://www.skokiechabad.org/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/4689188/jewish/Seder-to-Go-2020.htm
 
We hope to have more information about other catering options available soon. 
 
 
2Kashering
 
Kashering for Pesach is not simple, and the circumstances this year will make it more difficult for some.
 
Here is a helpful guide for how to kasher your kitchen and home in line that reflects guidance I’ve shared in the past:
How to kasher your kitchen:
 
In addition, I will host a Zoom call to answer any questions you have. Please read the document above before and submit any questions you might have to ravari@svaj.org
 
Kashering Q&A: 3/29 @ 8:30pm - 10:00pm
 
 
3.  Selling chametz
 
 
While in other years we often conduct a customary kinyan in person, you do not need to physically present to complete this transaction.
 
 
4.  Maot Chitim
 
Please donate generously to Moat Chitim this year. All funds donated will go towards helping individuals make Pesach in this difficult moment. https://www.svaj.org/form/maot-chittim-2020.html
 
 
 
5. How to lead a seder
 
Some of us may be leading a seder for the first time this year. Here are two guides that you can use to help:
  1. Rabbanit Leah Sarna and our friends at Anshe Sholom have created this Minimalist Guide to Making Seder: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gk-5zX-QboqLRKh5PrKzMTntMnZdjIF5IClvgQro57A/edit International Rabbinic
  2. Fellowship - Concise Guide to Hosting a Seder: https://docs.google.com/document/d/188NcDqRa69qxvGmZwuSrwfh4yIR58McKuI9EggIgAAM/edit

​​​​​​I will host a zoom call offering guidance on how to lead a seder on April 5th from 8:30pm - 10:00pm - https://zoom.us/j/713951311

 
 
6. Dealing with Seder/Yom Tov and Isolation
 
This year, the three day yom tov may pose a challenge to members of our community. Please contact Ravari@svaj.org if there are any dangers to health, physical or mental, that the normal observance of a three day yom tov poses to you or your family members.
Here is a guide from Dr. Michelle Friedman on how to deal with social isolation over a three day Yom Tov. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZYbFPC3bDTqqds8RZC1CJ6U72SfdeKmoC3ZkqKGekxI/edit
 
 
 
7. Fast of the first born 
 
Anyone at risk should not fast this year, even if they cannot partake in a siyum. It is imperative that we maintain our strength. We hope to organize a siyum on zoom, details to be shared shortly.
 
 
 
8. Biur chametz
 
All remaining chametz in our possession should be destroyed on Wednesday morning following Shacharit until 11:47 am. In lieu of communual bi'ur chametz at shul, everyone should dispose of chametz at home.  This can be done by flushing it down the toilet, a sink disposal or a municipal dumpster.  The full declaration of chametz nullification is recited on Wednesday morning, while disposing of chametz. This declaration is printed in every Haggadah and can be found in the Koren or Artscroll Siddurim.
 
 

9. Financial Support

 

This may be a difficult year for many in preparing for the chag. Financial support is being organized by Jewish organizations. You can find an application for support here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfs0pMzFqAEotr02mFOYe9AahpF3-7dyBOOsRz08aXEPlgisw/viewform 
 
I am also available to discuss financial support in these difficult times.
 
 
I hope this is helpful. Again if there are topics or questions that were not covered here please reach out to me.
Though we are physically distant this year, I feel that we are closer than ever spiritually. May our Pesach preparations bring us even closer to one another and closer to the geulah that the world so needs.
 
Rav Ari
 
 
Thu, July 9 2020 17 Tammuz 5780