Passover celebrations again altered by COVID-19 pandemic

Passover was one of the first major religious events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and though vaccinations have ramped up, many are opting for virtual or scaled-down celebrations this year.

Video Transcript

MICHAEL PERCHICK: Passover Seders are typically celebrated with family and friends in homes, but this year's version will likely be on a much smaller scale due to safety concerns. Burton Horwitz was born into Beth Myers Synagogue, 83 years ago, and has played the role of host for decades.

BURTON HORWITZ: 50 something years of having this Seder, and we're not used to being alone.

- He says, 50 to 60 people usually come over. But like last year, this year Seder's will be primarily remote.

- We don't particularly care for it, but that's what we've got to do. Hopefully, next year, we'll get it back in the house.

- Through Thursday, about 20% of North Carolina adults have been fully vaccinated, allowing a few members of Horwitz's family to gather in person. The rest, however, will follow along on Zoom.

- And I look forward to getting my family and my friends back together, again, so that we can have this mass chaos Seder that we've always had.

- While technology has improved, making it easier to connect virtually, there are some things that can't be replaced.

ERIC SOLOMON: The sound of what it means to break the special matzah bread and what it means to open a door. It's not a virtual door.

- Still, Rabbi Eric Soloman at Beth Meyer are trying to look at the positives, including commiserating with family and friends cross-country or overseas.

- Our tradition takes very seriously that you should live by the commandments, and God forbid, not be hurt in any way by them. So we are very keen on preserving life and preserving health, so we are, of course, encouraging everyone to do that.

- Both men hope that by the high holy days in September, improving COVID-19 metrics and increasing vaccinations will allow them to observe in person. I'm Michael Perchick, ABC 11, Eyewitness News Michael.