Leaders of six major Orthodox organizations released a joint statement on Monday asking Jews to limit preparations for Passover to only essentials as a further measure against the health threat presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We are accustomed to honoring Pesach to the fullest degree, including taking haircuts, purchasing new clothing and tableware, and preparing the fullest menu,” said the organizations, including Agudath Israel of America, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, the Lakewood (New Jersey) Vaad, the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America. “This year’s public health crisis mandates us to significantly limit all of the above.”
Jewish community members are asked to refrain from any “non-essential outside interactions,” including in-store shopping.”
The groups recommended that if there is a need for “truly essential” Passover purchases, “send one family member only—who is neither ill, vulnerable, nor of known exposure to COVID-19—as rarely and as briefly as possible.”
The organizations also said that all travel to other cities “must be canceled, whether to vacation venues or to family. Everyone must plan to celebrate Pesach where they are.”
Individuals living alone or those who are “absolutely unable” to prepare for Pesach may self-quarantine for 14 days, and then join with a local family that has been staying home and limiting their interactions outside the home, they said. The elderly and people considered “high risk” were encouraged to seek medical advice before considering that option.