Passover Celebrations in the Time of Social Distancing

Typically, at this time of year, Boulder JFS volunteer para-chaplains and other local leaders would be hosting Passover Seders in nine senior communities in the Boulder area. While it wasn’t safe to do that this year, we couldn’t pass over the opportunity to bring the holiday to isolated older adults in retirement communities or their homes.

Passover distributionWith the help and generosity of many donors, volunteers, and the Boulder JCC, we provided Passover in a Bag to 81 homebound older adults. Many of the community members were referred by local synagogues. Thank you to the Boulder Jewish News for promoting and supporting the food drive. In the bag, everyone received matzah, macaroons, gefilte fish, a can of chicken soup, oranges, parsley, horseradish, charoset, grape juice, Passover candies, and haggaddot.

Passover food drive itemsWe greatly appreciate how many people answered our call for supplies and brought them to our drive-up donation site or had items delivered. A big thank-you to the Boulder JCC for allowing us to store items in the building, and for donating haggaddot and other items for the bags.

We received so many lovely notes and messages from the recipients, including:

“A big THANK YOU to Congregation Har HaShem and Boulder JFS for the Passover bag, especially the haggadah booklet. Mine is in storage with all my things in Florida.”

“The Passover presents delivered to my home in the mountains were a wonderful surprise. A special thank-you to the two girls who made the pilgrimage to my home. My wife and I very much appreciate it.”

“I don’t know who to thank for the wonderful Passover package I just received at my door. This is just wonderful! I will use this tomorrow when I do a Seder with my family on Zoom.”

“I just received the most wonderful Passover gifts at my door. I started crying because I am so moved by your kindness. Thank you so very much!”

“The Passover supplies gave me everything I needed for my family Zoom call. Thank you for thinking of me. It is beautiful, thoughtful, and a real gift in this horrible time of need.”

Evie Verderber, Boulder JFS Advisory Committee co-chair delivered bags to some of our clients and told us: “I delivered bags to four seniors and I was able to actually say ‘hi’ and wish three of them happy Passover. They looked in the bags and were so thankful to JFS for taking care of them. They did not expect to receive so many goodies for Passover. Their smiles were so heartwarming, and it was a great way of doing a wellness check. This act of kindness and taking care of Jewish older adults’ physical and spiritual needs during these hard times is the essence of JFS and our mission in the community. Though we couldn’t go to the senior living facilities for Seder celebrations this year, Boulder JFS rallied and still served our Jewish seniors. I am so humbled to be part of JFS.”

Boulder JCC shared, “Jewish Family Service is an incredible example of love, service, and commitment to our community. Always, but especially during this unprecedented time, we are inspired by the work of JFS. We are so proud to be able to support JFS with the Passover in a Box food drive. Thank you for all that you do for our community.”

Virtual Seder - spirituality with social distancingAnd one dedicated para-chaplain, Joseph Lukasik, was determined to help the residents at Balfour celebrate Passover by leading a virtual Seder. He shared, “The virtual seder at Balfour went off really well. They set it up in their theater/concert space, so they had plenty of room for social distancing. I arranged the Zoom meeting with all my Passover paraphernalia, and they projected me up on a large screen with a nice sound system. They even played Passover songs and other traditional melodies. After the Seder was over, staff at Balfour signed into the Zoom with an iPad and passed it around to the residents to say hello, and exchange smiles and blessings for good health!”

About Jewish Family Service

JFS Boulder helps individuals maintain a high quality of life through programs and services that keep them supported, connected, and engaged. Services include care management, counseling, companionship, emergency assistance, and holiday celebrations. JFS serves everyone regardless of race, faith, gender, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

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