Celebrating Passover and Easter — Religiously or Culturally— While Sheltering-in-Place

As we move through the physical separation we’re experiencing due to the COVID-19 emergency, with resulting stay-at-home orders, cultural, family, and religious celebrations take on added importance for our community’s health and well-being.

I want to make sure people are aware that despite our current situation, Passover and Easter celebrations are still happening, albeit digitally.

Passover and Easter are important for many in our community, myself included. I hold many fond memories growing up, celebrating Passover with my family. Passover is a major holiday in the Jewish community where we celebrate the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. Growing up, we would do a family seder which I led. My dad — never a fan of long ritual meals — would always get impatient and ask me to go faster.

Another favorite tradition of mine is the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s Easter in the Park, which I’ve always looked forward to attending each year. They have everything from a kids’ Easter egg hunt to a more, shall we say, adult-focused Hunky Jesus/Foxy Mary contest.

This isn’t just about religious observance. It’s also about secular, cultural belonging and celebration.

It’s hard to process that this year, instead of gathering together with family and friends and at places of worship or public parks, we’ll all be sheltering-in-place. Though it won’t be the same, there are so many diverse holiday activities taking place virtually. I wanted to share some of the virtual get-togethers and celebrations that the San Francisco Interfaith Council helped our team compile.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I encourage you to do your own research to find a celebration that feels right for your spiritual or cultural practice.

Easter

Grace Cathedral’s Livestreamed Holy Week and Easter Sunday Services

St. Mary the Virgin’s Online Services for Holy Week and Easter Sunday

GLIDE Memorial Church’s Easter Sunday Service Facebook Livestream

Bethany United Methodist Church’s Facebook Livestream Services

Bethel AME Facebook Live

San Francisco Chinese Baptist Church Livestream in Chinese and English

St Mary’s Cathedral Livestreams for Holy Week and Easter Sunday

Mission Dolores Basilica Parish Livestream Holy Week and Easter Sunday Mass in English and Spanish

Plus, it wouldn’t be San Francisco if I didn’t include the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.’s Easter Sunday Hunky Jesus/Foxy Mary contest — virtual this year, of course

Passover

JCC SF’s Seder-in-Place

Sherith Israel’s Second Night Seder & Fundraiser for HaMotzi/Chicken Soupers

Congregation Emanu-El’s Second Night “Adult-Focused” Passover Seder

Temple Beth Israel Judea’s Zoom and Facebook Live Seder

Sha’ar Zahav’s Second Night Seder

The Kitchen SF All In Zoom Seder

Passover Q&A with Beth Sholom Rabbis

Congregation B’nai Emunah Zoom Seders

Chabad SF’s Virtual Seder, Seder-in-a-Box, and Chametz Selling

Coming Together

When times are tough, finding community and ritual is incredibly uplifting and helpful.

Even if these holidays aren’t events you celebrate, or you don’t identify with a religion, it’s never a bad time to reach out virtually to make connections or to seek support from a faith community (or non-faith community!) in San Francisco. We have some incredible faith leaders here who are available to help and provide support right now, even if you’re not a member of their community.

From a Hunky Jesus contest, to Passover-in-a-Box, to virtual mass and seders, there are a lot of great options for all different types of spiritual practice this week. I hope it’s a nourishing and meaningful week for all.

CA State Senator. Urbanist. Environmentalist. Advocate for transit, housing, clean energy, criminal justice reform, health, ending poverty. Democrat. 🏳️‍🌈

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