Sacred Celebrations of Faith To Go Virtual Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home orders in place across the state, some of the world’s most sacred celebrations of faith will move online. Jewish seder meals will be conducted via Zoom, Christian Holy Week services will be live-streamed and many Muslims will break their daily Ramadan fasts alone. Jack Moline, Agudus Achim Congregation Rabbi Emeritus said, “Wednesday night I will conduct both the smallest and largest seder of my life. Generally, we have 30 or so people at our table. Tomorrow it will be two – just my wife and myself. But we will have 100 people participating by Zoom.”

Elijah’s Cup, candlesticks to be lit and matzah are part of the traditional Passover Seder dinner

According to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, “The Jewish observance of Passover takes place this year from April 8-16. Celebrating the escape of Jews from slavery in Egypt, rituals like the Passover seder, a special ceremony, and meals with family and friends will go virtual. Agudus Achim Congregation has been conducting virtual Shabbat services and a rabbi and cantor are holding services each day over Zoom.”

As per Alexandria Gazette Packet, “For Christians, Holy Week usually culminates with an Easter Sunday celebration that sees many churches overflowing with standing-room-only crowds. Easter this year falls on April 12 and many Alexandria churches, including St. Mary’s Basilica, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Alfred Street Baptist Church, are conducting live prayer services, Catholic Mass and bible studies online. Some churches, like Washington Street United Methodist Church, conduct live services online and also post recordings on YouTube.”

According to the Alexandria Gazette Packet, “At the end of the month, Ramadan will take place from April 25-May 25. The Muslim holiday involves fasting from sunrise to sunset each day for 30 days. Breaking the fast usually involves communal meals with extended family and friends. With the current ban of gatherings of more than 10 people, many mosques will stream daily prayers and lectures online.”

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