Temple Emmanuel of Chelsea congregants enjoyed an interactive, virtual Passover Seder with Rabbi Oksana Chapman leading the group in observance of the Jewish holiday.
With their Hagaddah prayer books in hand, Temple members and families asked the traditional Four Questions, recounted the Ten Plagues, broke unleavened bread (matzoh), and joined Chapman in prayers and Passover songs.
In recent years under the energetic direction of Temple President Sara Lee Callahan, members have gathered at the temple for the Seder, the traditional Passover dinner held on the first two nights of the holiday.
With Gov. Baker’s stay-at-home advisory still in effect due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Temple members were situated in their homes as Rabbi Chapman presided over the Seder from her residence.
Earl Vigoda, website designer for the temple, said members have participated in two virtual Shabbat services in addition to the Seder.
“We’re embracing technology using video conferencing to bring the Temple together during this time when people are staying home,” said Vigoda, who set up the conference and moderated the Seder. “Special occasions like these also give members the opportunity to socialize with others, which is so vitally important at this time.”
President Callahan and her husband, Attorney Michael Callahan, and close to 50 members took part in the virtual event.
“We’re going to have Shabbat services every Friday night,” said Vigoda, a star first baseman on Chelsea Little League’s greatest All-Star team, the 1971 Chelsea Nationals.
Members praised Vigoda for his technological expertise that has allowed the Temple to hold virtual services. A 1977 Chelsea High graduate, Vigoda majored in computer information systems at Bryant University and worked in that field during his successful career.
Interestingly, Earl’s mother, Phyllis, and sister, Marla, president of the Chelsea High School Class of 1981, “attended” the virtual Seder.
Members of the community can sign up for the Temple Emmanuel newsletter on the website: templeemmanaelofchelsea.org for the schedule of services.