There is so much I’m conscious we will not have this Seder night. Like most of us I’ve spent recent weeks scaling back and scaling back on my hopes and the reality of how we will celebrate.
But faced with an un-expanded table, a stripped back menu, and of course no guests, it’s extraordinary how a determination to make the holiday sing despite all this has emerged. Online resources turn up daily through my social media feeds, expanding exponentially the elements available to bring to our seder table. This opening up of other people’s family traditions, the wisdom of individuals, and the sharing and new creations of the work of institutions, is importing all sorts of new thinking to join our own ways of doing things.
This year we are losing so many of the people we hoped to have with us, and the chance to build new Seder memories with them. But in their place I feel part of a new much larger community as we prepare to welcome to our table ideas from those who have never before sat with us. Combined with the creativity of our own nuclear family who are planning games and insights, they will help our Seder sing in different ways.
This will not be the Seder night we planned last year, or even last month. But thanks to this global family I find we are part of, which is determined to join together through these shared challenges, Seder this year will still be a different night and we will find fresh ways to bring the story of the going out of Egypt to life.
Big thanks of course to the generosity and commitment of those who have taken this opportunity to open up their own customs and knowledge. And thanks too to my own teenagers’ indomitable enthusiasm for celebrating regardless of limitations. We may not be laying a table for 20, but everyone is hard at work to blend old and new into what I’m certain will be a unique and special lockdown Seder.