Shavua tov dear friends,
We are just days before First Night Seder and when we begin to sing, Mah nishtana ha Laila ha zeh, we will have a very different answer on our tongues than the usual responses! Most of us are used to sitting with family and friends, new and old, and enjoying favourite Seder foods with the often raucous commentary. This year we will each be at home – but together at the same time. If you would like to join our community Seder, please let us know by sending Kolot Mayim an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will put you on our list and send you a Zoom invitation to join us. We ae having to be careful with our protocols on Zoom, hence the added security measures. But do consider joining us: I will be leading the Seder and Gary Cohen and Amber Woods will be joining us with songs throughout our Seder.
On your table, as you wish, you can have your Seder plate, a small plate of crudites and gefilte fish to keep you going until the meal (which can be eaten after the Karpas blessing), a plate of matzah, 3 matzot under a matzah cover, wine, wine glass, salt water, parsley to dip in the salt water, chrain (horseradish) and of course, your Haggadah. Decorate with plagues!
On another more serious note, we being advised to continue to stay home except for the most essential shopping trips. We are also being encouraged to have some hard conversations with each other. Last week I put up a series of questions on my FaceBook page; I encourage everyone to go through this list and see if you are prepared in the grim eventuality of contracting COVID 19:
As I hold you all in my heart during these coming days, weeks and probably months, I have a few questions. COVID 19 is changing all of our preparation and funeral protocols across the nation. We also know that once contracted, COVID can move with terrifying swiftness.
Please know this is me trying to be prudent, and looking ahead to the best, whilst planning for the worst. ביז הונדערט און צוואַנציק; Biz hundert un tsvantsig, May you all live to 120.
• Does someone in your family have both e-mail and phone number for your rabbi/cleric and/or funeral home, in case of onset of severe illness or death?
• Have you sent your rabbi or significant person full contact information of persons responsible for managing your care and burial arrangements?
• Do you have some form of advance directive? Have you explained carefully to your significant person what extreme measures you wish to undertake, if the necessity should arise? See: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/planning-health-problems/most-information-health-care-providers
• Do these people caring for you have full contact information for your siblings, and other significant people in case they need to be contacted? Remember, until this crisis has subsided, all funerals will be virtual, except, in some communities, for a very limited number of immediate family members. Travel will be curtailed as well, with requirements for 14 day quarantine.
• Does your partner/executor/ know your full Jewish name and those of your parents? The Chevra Kadisha and rabbi will need this information.
• Have you prepared an information template with all information re SIN and Medical ##’s, parents full names, etc. If not, please request a copy through a private message to me, and I will e-mail you a copy of the template I formatted. Please complete it, ASAP, and let someone significant in your life know where it is located. Burial arrangements (or other) will be delayed until all information is received by funeral home.
• Do your loved ones know where all your legal and financial papers, bank and investment account #’s, etc. are stored? Have you printed out a page with passwords – for your computer, I-Pad, whatever device you use where may have stored all important information files.
• Is your will updated? Do your loved ones know who your executor/executrix is? If you need to make changes, think about who you might ask to witness those changes without breaking physical distancing protocols.
• Do your loved ones know what your end-of-life wishes are, re burial, funeral, etc.? Do you have a pre-planned contract with any of the funeral homes in town?
Again, you should live to 120, much love and good health to all who are reading this.