Three Essentials for Surviving Passover in a Pandemic

by Joe Levin-Manning / March 23, 2021

It’s wild to me to think that this time last year, I was scrambling to figure out what I could do for Passover. Not just simply what I was going to do for seder, but even food to eat throughout the rest of the holiday. Here I am, a year later. Today, I’m not thinking of if I should do something, but rather what could be done to make it exciting virtually. As I have been brainstorming, I’ve come to realize there are three things that I’ll be doing to mark the holiday this year.

1) Music!

  • Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with music and that has been one of the things to get me through the pandemic. Whether it be YouTube or Spotify, I have discovered new artists and a song for every occasion. I believe that every person, event, or holiday has a soundtrack. The rabbit holes I’ve fallen done this past year has led me to this mini-playlist for Passover.
    1. Six13 – A Lion King Passover: Disney has been a recurring theme for me this past year. I’ve probably watched Frozen 2 four or five times for example, including once in Spanish for fun!
    2. The Maccabeats – Justin Bieber Passover Mashup – Let My People Go, Story, Why Do We Lean: I, like many others, have taken a renewed interest in fitness classes. Through my cardio dance and Zumba, I’ve discovered a new appreciation for Justin Bieber so this just seemed fitting. ?
    3. When You Believe: I mean, what Passover playlist would be complete without this song. And yes, it is the Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey version because how could I not?
    4. Let It Go: Passover Edition: I didn’t come across any songs from Frozen 2, but I do love this song as well. In addition to loving the rewritten lyrics, there were a clip with Ben and Jerry’s that really spoke to my soul as I may or may not have ordered 12 pints of Talenti online…
    5. The Maccabeats – Dayenu: Who doesn’t need more Dayenu during Passover? This version is very calming to me. A nice way to pause and take a break during what can be a hectic time of the year.
    6. Google Translate Sings: “The Plagues” from The Prince of Egypt: For the Star Wars fans out there, here is a nod to you. I love to sing along to pretty much any and every song that I hear, even if I don’t know the words. I feel like this is much more clever and funnier than any mistake that I’ve ever made, so enjoy.
    7. When You Believe (Movie Version): Because I love this song so much that it deserved to be on here twice.


2. Beverage Subscriptions

  • Another thing that has gotten me through the pandemic and is conveniently also relevant for Passover are beverage subscriptions! Throughout my time living in DC thus far there have been three places/services that I’ve used to have drinks shipped to me, and not just wine!
    • Anxo: An absolutely fantastic place in DC that could serve as a one-stop shop for some. First, they have several memberships you can choose from (I do their cider one) but a lot of ad hoc things to order as well. Their wine and beer selections are pretty expansive so I’d definitely recommend checking them out. The thing that turned me on to them was how during the election a portion of the sales for a drink pack went to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight. Since then, I’ve been quite amused and touched with how they also create cocktails based on various political hot topics, like the Madame Vice President around inauguration in honor of Kamala Harris. Two gems that sealed the deal for me. They have a kosher cider called District Kosher and they are offering a Passover Pack by partnering with Rx Chicken. Passover friendly lunch…delivered with a drink. (no drinking and driving please.)

    • Bad Saint: Bad Saint is definitely known for having quality food, which can now be delivered for all those who haven’t been in person, but did you know they also have a Beverage Club? One a month, they will create a box for you with three beverages in it. So far I’ve gotten some Croatian wine, unfiltered cider, and sake to name a few. It’s great for those that are adventurous and don’t mind a surprise as you have no idea what you’re getting until it gets delivered or you pick it up. A nice touch is that they include a Filipino snack every time. (Super allergen friendly! I’m allergic to a lot and they haven’t forgotten!)
    • Grape Intentions is here rounding out this list. They are an organization that is based right here in the DC area. They have lots of exceptional customization options and, if you’re like me and like to try a new wine each time, they are great. Every month the wine options change and so you get to try a wide variety. If that wasn’t enough, there are three more things that I really like about them. 1) There are three price points to choose from, whether that be because of price or palette. 2) They give you the option to get deliveries monthly or every other month, which for those that want to take your time you don’t have to remember to go back and skip a month. 3) A portion of every order goes to one of their charity partners you get to choose from. If you’re going to drink, why not drink for a cause?

3. People to Celebrate With

  • My favorite thing about Passover is everyone gathering around the table and partaking in the rituals and remembrance as a group. That is the thing that I missed last year compared to Seders past. At the last in person Seder I hosted there were just under twenty people, nearly half of whom were strangers to me. While I definitely had not planned to have nearly twenty people in my house we were able to squeeze around the combined table, sitting pretty much on top of each other, and share the holiday together. For the last several years I’ve used the New American Haggadah because I find it amusing to read the passages written by Lemony Snicket, appropriately dubbed the Playground option. Some of us started off as strangers, but we all ended the night as a community. The final, and dare I say, most important thing needed for Passover is people to celebrate it with. Whether this be your family (chosen or biological), your COVID pod, or even strangers you accidentally followed on Instagram, take the time and share a moment with someone. Don’t worry about the rituals, food, or even wine. Just appreciate the other person for who they are and be appreciated for who you are.

When we left Egypt, we left as a people free to exist and appreciate our lives. That is my hope for all of you and how I’m going to celebrate this year. Happy Passover!

About the Author: Joe Levin-Manning is a passionate individual who can be always be found trying to build community in the DC area. When not organizing events for Capital Qvellers, Joe can often be found singing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC on stage or after rehearsal singing karaoke. An avid traveller, amateur cook and baker, Joe loves to find new ways to connect with others and bring them together. 





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