In this post here on the blog the other day, I wrote about the various ways faith communities are quickly adapting to the sudden changes required to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Except for a few foolish religious leaders around the country who insist on continuing in-person worship services, convinced that God will save them, houses of worship around the country have gone online in countless ways or they have limited activities such as funerals, as I wrote about here this week in my Flatland column that posted Sunday morning.
One of the people pictured in that column was my friend (and co-author of one of my books) Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn. He's a pretty inventive and entrepreneurial guy. In fact, he's come up with an interesting idea that I want to share with you as an example of how faith communities are having to adapt new approaches to old rituals.
The full time of Passover starts at sunset on Tuesday evening, April 8, and runs through sunset of Thursday, April 16.
Traditional Seder meals will happen among Jewish people on April 8. But instead of whole congregations gathering in a synagogue, families and individuals will be stuck at home and some will be watching the ceremony of the meal unfold on social media, such as Facebook Live or Zoom.
But where will people get the right ingredients they need for the meal and where will they get the Haggadah text to follow along as the Passover story is told or re-enacted?
Rabbi Jacques has an answer: He and others in his congregation are making and offering to others Seder kits with the ceremonial foods and copies of the Haggadah text that his congregation, Temple Israel of Greater Kansas City, will be using for its meal.
A notice about this on the temple's website says that the kit will contain "matzos, bitter herb (horseradish, romaine lettuce leaf or radish), charoset, parsley and wine." People obtaining the kits will need to supply the necessary candles, salt water and hard-boiled egg.
Here's more from the website about this project:
"It will be delivered to your door by someone who will touch nothing else and, if you want to visit, will remain a safe 6 feet or more away. There’s no price tag on this kit – if you want to pay anything, do it as a donation to Temple Israel.
"If you want a Seder Kit, contact Rabbi Cukierkorn at 913-940-1011 or firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday, April 2. When ordering, please say how many people will be in your group."
See? People of faith can be imaginative and adaptable. There's still a bit of time to get the word out about this, so feel free to share this post on social media or e-mail a link to it to anyone you think could benefit by having on of these new Seder kits.
If this crisis continues to Christmas, I'll expect my pastor to offer Christmas dinner kits. What a good idea.
(The Seder plate you see in the photo above is not exactly what will be in the kit. Rather, it's a photo I found here.)