Leaders of the Santa Clarita Valley Jewish community have said their congregants are always excited to celebrate Passover, but also noted this year’s March 27 celebration will have particularly special meaning due to COVID-19.
Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami said Friday that Passover has always been a celebration of freedom; an annual event in which people young and old come together to reflect on the history of the Hebrew people and their liberation from Egyptian slavery.
However, Blazer said the Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which roughly translates to “narrow place” or “place of confinement,” and this year a number of his congregants and fellow Passover organizers have already noted and reflected on how this is one of many parallels between the story of Exodus and the pandemic restrictions of this past year.
“It doesn’t literally have to be Egypt … any time people are in a place of constriction, restraint confinement, they’re not in a good place,” said Blazer. “Last year, (Passover was) at the beginning of the pandemic, in the early stages, and there was a lot of unknown. Now we’re looking forward, to what comes after, what are the next steps, what’s the next phase for our community … we’re starting to see not only hope, but we’re also starting to get excited.”
Congregation Beth Shalom, Temple Beth Ami and Chabad of SCV have all announced their plans for in-person seder meals, Passover services, and, for those who still choose to remain homebound, digital offerings and food
“There’s a confidence growing now in the community since the vaccines have become more prevalent,” said Rabbi Jay Siegel of Congregation Beth Shalom. “Many of our congregants are older, and there is now more confidence in that substrata of the community than there has been all year … They’re just feeling safer.”
Services are scheduled throughout the weekend and individuals are being given the opportunity to donate food and plan their family’s celebration ahead of time.
For more information about how to attend a program or donate/receive a meal at home, visit each respective synagogue’s website for more information: