© Reuters. Still images taken from a hand-to-hand video show a family reunion in Maplewood, New Jersey
By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Esther Greenberg’s Passover sedative has its roots in centuries-old tradition, but it’s a modern medical breakthrough that brings together her hidden, vaccinated family at a meal this weekend after having been separated for a long time by COVID-19.
“Hugging is definitely on the menu,” Greenberg, 74, a grandmother like her husband Bob, 76, a retired pharmacist, has been fully vaccinated against the airborne virus. , has killed more than 543,000 people in the United States.
With more than 42% of all American seniors fully vaccinated for COVID-19, vaccinated Jewish grandparents forced to take a sedative at last year’s Passover are emerging to embrace loved ones. around the table sedative during a week-long celebration that begins on Saturday. The grandparents scrambled to arrange the Passover meetings after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their wishes of protection for the limited gatherings during the holiday this month.
Greenberg, a retired office manager on Long Island, a suburb of Woodbury, said: “I can’t wait to hug and kiss everyone I haven’t had since last year.
“We’ll actually get to see the family – we’re not going to do it on Zoom. For me, it’s worth everything,” said Greenberg, who last year, under her online tutelage. said the 10-year-old. Grandson held a family sedan on Zoom.
Passover is the first major American holiday since the CDC advised this month that vaccinated people can hold small, maskless gatherings with those who have not yet been vaccinated. strains from a household. It marks a hopeful sign of near-normal capacity after the past year. With Easter still a week away and the summer break coming, this will also be a test to see if people can act responsibly since gatherings still pose some risks.
The Passover was a Jewish spring holiday commemorating the biblical story of the Jewish exodus from Egyptian slavery, in which God instructed the Jews to mark the door. of them so that the Angel of Death will “surpass” them. It is organized by at least one woman, usually led by a matriarch or family head, who gathers family and friends around the woman’s table to enjoy a party. .
After a Zoom seder last year, Fay Ellis will participate on Saturday with her family vaccinated around the seder desk at her niece’s home in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
“Last year, we modified the traditional sedan finish, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ to ‘Last year at table.’ Now, that wish will come true, ”said Ellis, 64, the editor of a medical journal.
She will drive from Maplewood, New Jersey, home to her 96-year-old mother, a former Hebrew school teacher who has limited internet skills and cannot log into the family’s online sedan. last year because of her independent life. The apartment is locked.
“The first matzoh will make you cry,” says Ellis.
“The first time in a year being able to gather with our biological family together at a table will make this car more emotionally resonant than ever,” she said.
Even as vaccinations are on the rise, some remain wary of the unmasked indoor gatherings of vaccinated people at a time when the United States continues to record more than 56,000 new infections. average per day. (https://tmsnrt.rs/3d3vAbN)
UCLA epidemiologist Anne Rimoin said: “It’s not a zero-risk scenario – remember there is a small chance they can pass the virus on to others,” says epidemiologist Anne. UCLA’s Rimoin says her family members – including those who have been vaccinated – in the Los Angeles area will have a Zoom sedan for the second year in a row.
“Vacation is about showing love and care for your family, and the best thing you can do for your family is to keep them safe,” Rimoin said. “This is not something to be taken lightly.”
In Phoenix, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, whose job includes assisting asylum seekers on the Mexican border, said he believes vaccinating himself, his wife and his aging parents means. is they can have a small, safe car in person but without the usual crowd. they invited from Valley Beit Midrash, his Phoenix nonprofit.
During a holiday recounting stories of God descending from plague in an attempt to free Jews from slavery, Yanklowitz said the pandemic could be used as a teaching tool to increase awareness and compassion. hidden for victims of “modern plague – COVID, poverty, homelessness, despair of immigrants, racial injustice.”
Back in New York, Greenberg said COVID-19 had sharpened her views on priorities in life.
“This is the most important thing in my life: seeing my family together,” Greenberg said, her explosive voice quieter than before the upcoming vacation.
“We’re all eating at the same table and everyone is telling me how delicious the bi matzoh soup is. I didn’t have it last year. I didn’t have that.”