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Making Pesach: "And now, for something completely different!"
Dear community –
In an ordinary year at this time we would be beginning the huge shopping/cleaning/cooking initiative that Pesach has become. But this is not an ordinary year. Here are some guidelines for the next little while that I hope will be helpful.
At Home
As we clear out our hametz this year, we must not waste food.  Please don’t throw hametz away.  Please sell as much of it as you can - Shintee will be buying it, as he does every year. Once you’ve agreed to sell it, just put it out of sight. For example:
  • Put it in the garage in a container
  • Put it in a closet and lock or tape the closet shut
  • Put it in a closed/taped box in the freezer or fridge. Label it clearly so you don’t open it by mistake during Pesach (if you have small children they might enjoy making labels).
You can find the form for selling hametz here . Please print it out, scan it and return it to the shul by email – shirchadash@shirchadash.org . I will be making the sale on the morning of 8 April.
Please also consider making a donation to a food charity or pantry in the spirit of the mitzvah of Maot Hittin – food for the poor. 
Dishes.  This Pesach, it might be simpler to put our Pesach dishes out on our ( kashered ) counters and simply lock up our hametz dishes in our closets, rather than undertaking the full changeover.

Cleaning . Ordinary dirt is not hametz , so please don’t waste energy and products on it. Furthermore - it is halakhically valid to test whether something is hametz by offering it to a dog to eat. If they eat it, it was hametz (and now it’s gone). If they don’t - it isn’t, and you don’t need to worry about it. 
The key word for this year is – SIMPLIFY. We need to consider limiting our menus, doing without some of the labor-intensive foods we normally associate with this season and restricting our shopping to basics.

The Committee of Jewish Law and Standards has issued updated kashrut guidelines that take our current circumstances into account. You can find them here .

The headlines are:
Fresh foods are usually Kosher l’Pesach whether purchased before or during. The same is true of pure tea and coffee.
Many processed foods, including extra virgin olive oil, white sugar, salt, pepper, natural spices, frozen fruit, and filleted fish are Kosher L’Pesach without a hechsher if purchased before Pesach. Some other foods have been added specifically to take into account this year’s circumstances. 

For Pesach goods, please order online/use delivery whenever possible . We must not trek from shop to shop as we would usually do. If we cannot order online we need to limit ourselves to a single store. Please wash your hands before you go, sanitize your cart, space out in the store, touch only what you intend to buy and don’t linger. And then please wash your hands again when you come home.
Please support our local Kosher businesses – we need them to still be there after this is over.
Kosher Cajun supplies both food
and dry goods.
Andy Adelman of Casablanca
is catering for Pesach.
Dvash is not cooking for Pesach,
but hopes to be back afterwards.


My teacher Raphael Loewe fought in World War II. The Pesach he was in Tunis, his Seder constituted lying in his tent and reciting the Haggadah from memory - he was that kind of man.

We don’t have to go to those extremes, but Seder this year is going to be different. 
The bare minimum for making a Seder is:
  • 4 cups of wine or grape juice
  • Parsley or another leafy green – not much needed
  • Salt water
  • Matzah
  • Maror (horseradish, chicory or even romaine lettuce)
  • Charoset
  • The Seder plate (Kosher Cajun is supplying ready-stocked individual plates)
  • A haggadah
  • A cup for Elijah
  • A cup for Miriam if that is your custom
We are composing a set of Pesach playlists, all of which will be available on Shir Chadash’s Youtube channel. So far we have:
  • A jazz/blues journey through the Pesach story with Meryl Zimmerman and Hannah Krieger-Benson
  • A medley of songs and stories for children with Rabbi Silver
  • The traditional songs of Pesach with Elliot Finkelstein and Julie Finkelstein-Steinhaus
We will circulate Shabbat materials as well.

Please use some of your available time before Pesach to explore haggadot you might not have encountered before, and perhaps add some of those materials as additional voices at your own Seder. This is the place to begin: www.haggadot.com
There are some special prayers for the first day of Pesach that are going to be lost this year because we cannot convene for services. The prayer for dew - Tal - that is recited on the first day of Pesach is on pages 374-376 of Siddur Lev Shalem. As we read it this year, let us hear it in the voice of Ashley Shocket z”l who for so many years made it his own.

Since we cannot invite each other into our homes, please pick up the phone before Pesach and call one or two of our members with Pesach greetings. Phone calls are more important than ever at the moment.

I am working on a way for us to have some kind of Yizkor service - perhaps during Hol Hamoed since we cannot convene on Day 7 as usual.

Pesach this year goes straight into Shabbat. I will be making an Eruv Tavshilin on behalf of the community to permit us to cook for Shabbat on Yomtov.
And here is a prayer I composed recently. Please feel free to add it to your Seder. As we consider the heroism of our ancestors, let’s think also of our contemporary heroes.

Prayer for Medical Workers
Holy One
We ask your blessing for our doctors
for our nurses
for our EMTs
for all our medical workers
who stand between the living and the dying
as Aaron once stood.

Help them to know they are not alone
as they undertake the overwhelming, holy work
of deploying and organizing
of caring and healing and comforting.

Bring them strength and healing
Bring them fortitude and grace.

May the work of their hands be blessed
And we say,