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Dear Friends,
 
As everybody surely already knows, Pesach is coming in just two weeks. In normal years, we would all be doing what we always do as the holiday approaches: shopping, organizing our seder meals, getting ready to make our homes ready for the holiday, looking for that box we stored all the Haggadahs in last year, buying cases of wine and pounds of macaroons and other treats, etc. It’s during these days that we would normally begin anticipating the arrival of family members, or arranging suitcases for our own ventures. 

But this year is nothing like anything that any of us has experienced before—and the fluidity of the situation is only making it more taxing by depriving us even of the sense that we can say with certainty where things will be in fourteen days and thus obliging us not only to make plans for an unprecedented situation but to guess what that future will look like when we finally get there. 

How will we fulfill the obligation to imagine ourselves as Israelite slaves who escaped Egypt while we remain confined to our own present-day mitzrayim, subjected to a present-day plague?  As we sit with our immediate families around the seder table, I ask that we fixate on the fact that the Hagaddah is an aspirational story that remains unfinished.  It’s designed to inspire and instigate hope in a people whose national narrative is only partially written.  Remember, after we’ve eaten our fill and our eyes are heavy from four cups of wine….after we’ve told the first installation of 3000 years of Jewish stories of slavery to salvation…we sing “Next Year in Jerusalem.”  In years past, we may not have felt the song’s message.  It’s not geographical in the least!  It reminds that redemption is yet to come…that hope must remain our compass as we all envision better days…as we all dream of salvation. 

As I write you, my eyes are literally welling with tears as I think of my own seders, our chairs reduced in number from 30 to 5, and having to explain to my children this year’s answer to “Why is this Night different from all other Nights…”   YET, I will allow the closing lyric of the seder to fill our hearts and dictate our moods.  “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM.”      
 
All that being said, we have made the following provisional plans.
1.    I will execute the sale of chametz for the entire community on Erev Pesach, Wednesday, April 8, at 10:30 AM. To be on board, please send an email to rabbiadam@bnaiaviv.org indicating your willingness for me to act on your behalf. Include the addresses of all premises you wish to be included. That’s all there is to it!
2.    As I always do, I will conduct a maot chittin charity campaign in conjunction with the sale of chametz. Unlike previous years where Discretionary Fund donations from Chametz sales were utilized for a variety of congregants’ needs, all of this year’s donations will be used to support those struggling to maintain basic function, such as food and supplies.  If you would like to participate, please send a check to me at the synagogue and I’ll make sure your gift ends up in the right hands.
3.    The Fast of the Firstborn falls on Erev Pesach, as it always does. Firstborns who wish to be freed of the obligation to fast are invited to log on to a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, April 8 at 930AM for me to conduct the siyyum ceremony that celebrates the conclusion of a tractate of Talmud/Mishna or other acceptable text and releases the firstborn from the obligation to fast.
4.    The seder meals are on Wednesday evening, April 8, and Thursday evening, April 9. I am well aware that many people’s regular patterns have been upended and that at least some from our B’nai Aviv family are unexpectedly this year faced with the obligation to conduct a seder on their own. To assist seder leaders in getting ready, I will dedicate some of my Wednesday Torah Talk classes to explaining what is crucial and what not, how to stimulate discussion while remaining within the traditional text, how to engage children, and how to understand the whole of the seder experience by understanding its parts.
5.    To access and/or download the Rabbinical Assembly’s 2020 Pesach Guide, which presents a full guide to Pesach observance, click here. If anything is unclear, just ask and I’ll do my best to clarify. Of course, if you have any questions not addressed in the Guide, just ask me and I’ll either tell you the answer or set myself to finding it out for you. 
As we seem constantly to be saying these days, we are in wholly uncharted waters as we make our way through this crisis. But Pesach is our national festival of liberation from bondage, so I invite you all to join me in the prayer that the days of our festival will prove decisive in the national effort to liberate ourselves from the throes of this virus and to bring good health to the infected and to the sick, and to us all.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rabbi Adam Watstein
 

Link to Passover Haggadah                        

From Food Art (one of our Caterers)

Pesach is around the corner and we know that many families take this time to go away to programs and resorts. This year, we will have be spending the seder at home, in an intimate setting without much fanfare- but still requiring a lot of work and preparation.  
Below is the link to our new and updated site which includes beautiful packages for everyone as well as a delectable a la cart menu. Its as easy as adding to cart and enjoying the freedom of letting us cook for you.
 http://pesachatyourdoor.com/

Tue, March 31 2020 6 Nisan 5780