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Hosting a Virtual Seder During a Pandemic

Dear readers,

Hopefully, you are all in good health.

On April 02 there are 5,552 people registered in Belgium that are infected with the novel coronavirus who are receiving treatment in Belgian hospitals.
That there are only 1,143 deaths of the CoViD-19 virus at the moment is thanks to the exceptional precautions that the government has taken and which a large part of the population adheres to.

The coming week brings us, what in normal circumstances would be the busiest time for gatherings, in our effort to remember how God has liberated us, and to make sure that the younger generation would come aware how we always should remember how God Helps and Guides His People.

14 Nisan is normally the Day of The Memorial Meal.
This year that shall be different from all other years.

In Lockdown times, best not to meet too many people and to keep social distance, nowhere in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal shall there be an open public Memorial Meal or Pesach Seder.

While you might not be able to physically gather around the seder table this Passover, do not forget that you can come together online.

Check out our 10 tips for creating a meaningful and fun seder experience for your family and friends, near and far.

  1. Use the same Haggadah. 

    You could make and can use a Haggadah you could send out by e-mail beforehand and/or screen-share it with your guests, or encourage everyone to print their own copy.

  2. Designate an e-Moses.

    It can be very helpful to pick someone to lead the virtual seder. Make sure this person has experience successfully using Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc..

    He can play Moshe and let us remember how Moshe ditched his desert aesthetic and returned to the Egyptian palace to deliver God’s message, with the help of his brother and hype man, Aaron.

    Telling the exodus story he may not forget to bring forth how Moshe spoke about God commands and how God clapped back at the Egyptians. Children perhaps can have drawings made of the pathway formed between the walls of water and the Israelites who made it to the other side without harm.

  3. Make a “seating and speaking chart.”

    This year there can best not swapped places. Best is to have everybody all night using the same place at the table, and if possible having enough distance between each household member.

    But this year we should also account for the virtual seated next speaker. Figure out ahead of time who is going to read what. Throughout the seder, text the person you’d be sitting next to.  Be careful when all speakers are on there shall be too much echo and everything could become too chaotic. Therefore, let everybody stay muted and follow an order of speaking plus having put up an arm or (funny) sign requesting to speak.

  4. Maintain that there are no excuses for why people can’t attend.A danger of such critical times as these, is that people come a bit lazy or like to avoid their religious obligations.
    Unless, you know, they don’t have internet and/or a device to connect to it. Anyone can be part of your Passover experience.
  5. Have a practice run.The organiser best has several contacts beforehand with those who would take care of the surprises.Also, send instructions for accessing your virtual platform of choice ahead of time so nobody holds up the seder by not knowing their Wi-Fi or other password.For those who do not have their computer enough secured and therefore had best their camera taped, they have to be encouraged to take the stickers or tape off their cameras.
  6. Eat and drink with measure spread over the long time of gatheringAs usual at a seder have the different courses interrupted by animated talks, readings from Scripture and prayers.
  7. Work with what you have.

    With all the panic shopping, it can be intimidating to venture out to get everything you need. That’s OK. Get what you can and improvise the rest.
    Our people have survived greater quandaries with a little ingenuity and determination.If you can’t get matzah, cut some cardboard into squares or large circles (you can even put dots on them with a marker for texture, but do not consume—this is purely decorative). Swap out sriracha for horseradish. Use literally anything green. Squish trail mix into a charoset-like paste.Use a regular plate as a stand-in for a seder plate. It’s the thought that counts.
  8. Bring a little Purim to Passover.

    Never forget to make the long evening pleasant enough or entertaining enough to the children. Remember this night should be a night of remembering and giving it further to the next generation.Nobody would be against making some good fun and nobody would object to have people being dressed up as Moses, Aaron, Miriam, etc.Got kids? Great, they can be the frogs. Or the lice. It depends how stressed they’re making you.
    Got teens? Do the whole seder using Snapchat filters, then do a TikTok dance break in the middle of the seder for added social media cred. But only if, like, you know the choreo.
  9. A night different from all other nightsAlso do not forget that 14 Nisan is ‘super special’.Laugh a little hysterically and cry only a tad when you get to the Four Questions and someone has to ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
  10. A Liberation to celebrate

    Do your best, have fun and remember that though we are in isolation to protect ourselves, friends, families and fellow human beings everywhere, we are still free to be Jewish or Jeshuaist and celebrate our heritage and salvation by the Highest and Strongest!

Let us not forget to show our love to God by remembering what He has done and still does, and let us show our love to others by taking enough precautions to keep everybody safe and in good health. Even when we might be very isolated in our own cosy home, let us feel the union with brothers and sisters all over the world, and let our prayers be with them all.

Please pray:

I will seek to make this world a better place, for all people, today and tomorrow. To this, in their memory, I pledge myself. Ani ma’amin. Am Yisrael chai.

A Jewish community eating the symbolic Passover food during the Seder evening, the evening before the Passover festival (picture-alliance / dpa / Robert Fishman)

As you come to the end of the seder, remember that this uncertainty, while it already feels like 40 years of wandering in the desert, is temporary. The Israelites made it eventually. So will we.

Next year, in person!

For 2020:

Keep safe and well, having a lovely Passover seder.

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Preceding

CoViD-19 warnings

Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

Pandemic Anxiety Busters~

Mel Brooks saying “go home” to Max Brooks

Christian Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

7 Ways To Boost Your Immune System in Lockdown

Love in the Time of Corona

Recrafting our World

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Reminders

  1. The unseen enemy
  2. Under-reporting the total number of coronavirus cases
  3. Coronavirus on March 11 declared a global pandemic on March 31 affecting more than 177 countries
  4. No idea yet for 14 Nisan or April the 8th in 2020 Corona crisis time
  5. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  6. First time since Nazi time no public gathering
  7. Voor het eerst in jaren weer een Pesach in isolatie
  8. Even in Corona time You are called on to have the seder
  9. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  10. A night different from all other nights and days to remember
  11. Let’s Think About Redemption Differently
  12. At the Shabbat HaChodesh: readings about blood, liberation and purification
  13. Zeman Chereisenu – the time of our freedom
  14. Ki Tisa – Torah Portion
  15. Egypt, Moshe and Those who never felt they belonged there
  16. In Every Generation: The Return of Anti-Semitism – Pesah Day 1, 5779
  17. The Most special weekend of the year 2018
  18. Call to help others
  19. How should we worship God? #7 The Breaking of Bread
  20. How should we worship God? #8 Love one another

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Learning that stuff is just stuff

Lindsay Felderman confesses she is a person that likes to shop and buy new things.  Over the years she has accumulated a lot of stuff, from clothes to shoes to hats to Apple products to video games and more, like so many people have gone from one shop to an other or looked at the internet shops to find their liking.

Though many focus on gaining material wealth her eyes may have gone open by two life events that have happened/are happening now that are making her come to the realization more and more, that things are just things, and that what is more important is creating memories with people that you love.

What may be the changing elements that people come to see that they have to live more simply.

She writes:

if we haven’t used/seen/worn something in the past year, it’s out of here.  Going to charity or the garbage.  No need to keep so many physical items around.  I have learned over the years and the amount of times I have moved, that stuff is just stuff, but every time I settle down, it seems I collect more and more.  Well, not this time.  I am getting rid of the clutter and starting fresh. {The Meaning of Material Things}

Today lots of people have lost track of the necessities of real life making issues. Several youngsters are clinging to the idea of having the most recent newest thing brings happiness, and want to do everything to get the new hipe. They have no idea any more that material things are nothing without real people behind it that get their love from those around it.

For many people it takes a lot of time before they come to see what Lindsay came to see and feel when she and ‘her’

Samantha and I’s families met for the first time, Ever, in almost 3 whole years.

She came to feel one of the most elementary things for building up a real ‘home’ and a real ‘family’ and got to see what

transpired that day was truly magical, it was so special,

that she will never forget

Each one of us only brought certain family members to the event for various reasons.  But each one of our family members meshed in a way that I couldn’t have planned myself.  Every one was laughing and joking, and conversations were flowing all over the place.  Every one truly wanted to learn about the other.  There was not one dull moment.  It was honestly the way that family should be.  No drama, no fighting, just pure love, honest and true love.  I know this is really mushy, but if you know anything about the history of Samantha and I, you will know that this was a moment we were not sure would ever come. {The Meaning of Material Things}

It is incredible how many broken families we can encounter today. At school we find classes where there is not one kid who still lives by both its parents. Divorce seems to be the key word of this contemporary society where not many want to take time to talk with each other and to make it worthwhile living with each other instead of living next to each other.

Lindsay Felderman got reminded that family is what you make of it, but also came to see how it is possible for others to be there for you and how valuable this is. This is the most precious treasure so many do not seem to find, though it is so close at their doorstep.

Much more people should be there for each other,  willing to share their love and time for each other, with comprehension and with patience. It is so important

That people who truly love you, will be there for you.  That they will love you no matter what, that they will take you in their arms and hug you because you are special and unique and just You.

But to come to such a position people do have to be wiling themselves to be just their own and not somebody who fits the common trend of homogeneous people, wearing those clothes that shops and fashion magazines dictate.

When a person is really just herself and is willing to give her self openly to somebody else and to share herself with others than the doors may go open to build a good relationship and to build real ‘family’.

It is unbelievable what that lady could gather in whatever time it took to collect more than

The purge18, 30 gallon trash bags, filled with clothes, shoes, hats, purses, and accessories galore.  … They were just taking up space in our closet for no other reason than to take up space.  That wasn’t all we gave away though, just the 1st round.  I would say by the end of it, we had close to 30 bags that we donated, and a bunch of boxes of DVDs and books as well.  It felt great to get rid of so much Stuff.  That is all it was, just stuff, taking up space. {Do What You Say}

She also recognises that this doesn’t even include the amount of crap she had collected by the years and dared (at last) to threw away. We do not know if it would have been wise to throw a way her school projects she did when she was a kid, even to her high school yearbook, because in our country (Belgium) a student has to keep the school material for ten years, because it can always asked a s a proof of studies and work done.

She went with the mantra that,

“I will always have the memories”.

but has forgotten that perhaps one day in history she perhaps would have children and later grandchildren and than she will not have anything to show and to share.
Naturally there is no need to continue to lug around physical items to remind oneself of those memories, as long as they are not destroyed. For the moment she thinks it is impossible that her memories can ever be destroyed, but then she forget that accidents and illnesses are possible to wash away any sort of memory and by then it can be useful to have some materials to bring back the memory. (The writer of this article your reading, speaks of experience, having had a memory loss after a very serious car-crash.)

Though lovely to hear Lindsay Felderman immediately felt lighter as she packed and got everything moved to her new place in one weekend.

But the point of this all,

she writes, is

I did what I said I was going to do.  I didn’t just talk the talk, I walked the walk.  I wrote about how material things aren’t the true meaning of life, that I was going to start to purge the majority of mine and I did it.

We are taught from a young age, that actions speak louder than words.  But many of us still grow up to be big talkers.  We talk about our dreams and what we could be doing.  But very few of us actually act on those dreams.  We let life get in the way, and we let our words speak louder than our actions instead of the other way around. {Do What You Say}

Today we do not find many youngsters with aspirations and when we encounter people who say they want to do this or that, we see that they are not really taking steps to do so. Not many want to do what they say, but it seem Lindsay took the courage to do so.

Can you do it as well?

She concludes

You gain more credibility in life when you just do what you say you are going to do.  Plus it feels better, you say something and you do it.  People around you begin to trust you, they believe that you will do the things you talk about.  When you only sit around and talk about it, you just become a talker, you become noise in their ear.  Much like the “wamp, wamp, wamp” noises that the adults in Charlie Brown made every time they were talking to the kids.  You don’t want to be that person.

Be someone who makes a difference, makes a change, follows your dreams and most importantly: do what you say. {Do What You Say}

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Preceding articles:

Mini-MAX-malism: A Bigger Approach to Less is More

Less… is still enough

Less for more

The Art of Doing Less – Your Time is Finite

Thought of the day: We want more, i want more, but why is that?

Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft

Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth

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