Well, so much has changed since I first started at CSP. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we would gather together every week for Shabbat: the residents and guests of Rose Schnitzer Manor in Zidell Hall, and the residents of the CSP households and acute care in Cogan Chapel. I would visit the households every Shabbat at dinner to share blessings and prayers with residents who gathered at a “family” dinner table.
I remember the day the pandemic actually started affecting us on a day-to-day basis. It was a Sunday in early March, and I learned we were no longer allowing visitors into CSP. It was all very sudden and unexpected.
At the time, we were moving forward with Passover plans, writing invitations to family members, educating the staff, coordinating banquet meals, services and the Passover kitchen and housecleaning.
Suddenly we hit the brakes. We had to assess our new situation. No guests, no gatherings.
We had no idea how long the restrictions would last. So, we quickly began to adapt our Passover plans…
I was blessed to find a national group of chaplains who were discussing how to handle Passover during COVID-19. We brainstormed, collaborated and supported one another.
Thankfully, I also had the help of some amazing volunteers like Amy Shapiro, who has been leading Passover Seders and High Holiday services for 20 years. Amy along with her husband, Jeff Olenick, Barbara Slater and Eddy Shuldman (just to name a few!), really stepped up during this time of need. They all understood that we needed to quickly transition our in-person events to online. I was truly lucky to have the support of this wonderful group of people.
I was also grateful to Open Signals (the public access part of Comcast) who agreed to broadcast our Passover Seder program. That began a wonderful relationship and opportunity to continue to provide programming for the households that has extended throughout this whole quarantine.
And, together, we made it happen! We ordered decorated plastic Seder plates with haroset, egg, parsley, and saltwater, and arranged for a Haggadah and a vase with a flower for every room. All were delivered to our residents in time for the pre-recorded televised services led by familiar faces.