Tuesday, September 27th | 2 Tishri 5783

March 26, 2021 2:11 pm

World Leaders Extend Warm Passover Wishes as Jewish Communities Prepare for Another Seder Under COVID-19

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Rabbi Yosef Rice packs handmade matzah into 425 Passover packages at the Palm Beach Synagogue Tuesday March 23, 2021 in Palm Beach. MEGHAN McCARTHY/Palm Beach Daily News

With Jewish communities around the globe preparing for the eight-day Passover holiday, which begins Saturday evening, world leaders extended their hopes for a safe and joyous celebration.

“At its heart, the Passover story is one of overcoming adversity and finding hope, of summoning the resilience and resolve to emerge from a long dark night to a brighter morning,” said US President Joe Biden in a statement. “As we close our Seders with the familiar refrain, “Next year in Jerusalem,” we will now offer an additional prayer: Next year in person. Next year, together.”

“Passover reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of injustice,” tweeted US Vice President Kamala Harris, whose husband Douglas Emhoff hosted the White House’s first-ever “virtual Seder” on Thursday evening. “It urges us to keep the faith in the face of uncertainty and speaks to fundamental truths we hold dear: We all deserve freedom and it’s our duty to fight for those who aren’t free,” she continued.

“What fun to be back at the holiday table with family and friends,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, where the declining spread of COVID-19 has allowed health authorities to permit Passover gatherings with up to 20 people indoors and 50 people outside. “Shabbat Shalom and Happy Passover to all citizens of Israel!” Netanyahu added.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had earlier posted photographs of the pre-Passover tradition to “sell” one’s chametz, or leavened food, to avoid owning the prohibited products during the holiday.

“May we know good and safe days, and good health for all Israelis. Chag #Pesach Sameach!” he tweeted.

“Passover usually involves gathering around the Seder table and reading from the Haggadah to remember the Israelites’ freedom from slavery,” wrote Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a Twitter message, posted with an accompanying video. “COVID-19 may change these traditions – but it can’t change the hope this holiday represents. Chag Pesach Sameach!”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also tweeted a video message, extending holiday wishes of his own. “While families, friends and neighbors can’t come together as they usually would, I know our fantastic Jewish community — known for its strength and resilience — will celebrate this Pesach safely,” he wrote.

In messages written in both Ukrainian and Hebrew, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is himself Jewish, marked the approaching holiday.

“Ukraine is a multinational country. Each nation adds its own tradition to our common culture, which makes it interesting and diverse,” he tweeted. “On Shabbat, Passover symbolizes freedom. I would like to congratulate the entire Jewish people and wish you all prosperity and peace. Happy Passover!”

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