'Seder in a Box' is part of an effort to help people who are alone, celebrate Passover

Apr 7, 2020

With Passover starting Wednesday night, the Jewish community in Rochester has worked to bring the joy and significance of that holiday to people who are living alone.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester and Jewish Family Service have been working with local Kosher caterer Eli Barashi, to come up with what they call “Seder in a Box.“ That’s basically a package with traditional Passover foods and symbolic foods and other items used in the Seder, a ritual meal that takes place at the beginning of the holiday.

Karen Elam is Director of Community Relations for the Jewish Federation. She said more than 300 of these meals will be delivered to a variety of people who couldn’t get out to shop for one reason, or another, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. “To people who are unable to either get to the grocery store, who are alone, who may be elderly, immuno-compromised, those with disabilities, those who don’t have family here, etc.”

Elam said that, “It’s very much about community, it’s very much about family, and so we’re really feeling acutely about those people that will not be able to be with anybody; individuals that will be on their own.”

The meals are being prepared by Barashi and the staff of his business, Inspired Catering, using the facilities at Congregation Beth Shalom.

Elam said the meals are being delivered at no cost to the recipients, with the effort being funded by a relief and recovery campaign. Volunteer drivers have been delivering the meals.

She also says that  local Jewish leaders are recording parts of the Seder ritual, which can be watched online. And there is even an effort to link up people who are holding Seders via Zoom or Facetime with people who are home alone.