Chief Rabbi: Zoom seders not allowed but tech can ‘enhance Pesach experience’
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Chief Rabbi: Zoom seders not allowed but tech can ‘enhance Pesach experience’

'Understandably, there are so many people searching for acceptable methods to unite people, to enable members of the family to connect for the Seder', Chief Rabbi Mirvis said

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has stopped short of recommending a video-conference Seder experience but has said technology can be used to connect families an hour or two beforehand.

“Understandably, there are so many people searching for acceptable methods to unite people, to enable members of the family to connect for the Seder,” said Mirvis, in a video posted to his Twitter account on Friday.

“The Seder is the ultimate family experience and we want to have it this year as always… We cannot use telephone, Skype or Zoom on Yom Tov but we can use modern technology to enhance our Pesach experience.

“This year as always we should carry out the Seder in its entirety after nightfall. In addition, there are parts of the Seder that can be read and enjoyed before Yom Tov commences.

“Let’s say one and a half or two hours before Yom Tov commences, we sit down at our tables, which will look glorious, and through Zoom let’s say, we will connect with our family in other homes.”

Mirvis said prayers, chanting and singing could then be done together, so that grandparents could join in and see and “share in a lovely way, interactively”.

Last week Senior Sephardi rabbis in Israel said the Seder itself could be enjoyed via video-conference as long as the technology was switched on beforehand.

Meanwhile Reform Judaism has embraced the use of technology during the lockdown, introducing RJ-TV, the movement’s own online broadcasting platform, with Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner live-streaming a second night Seder via Zoom.

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