When Jewish Life Goes Viral

Chabad reacts to the affects of the covid-19 pandemic on Jewish life events.

by Ashira Weiss, Dvora Lakein, Liba Rimler

April 6, 2020

In this multimedia mini-series, we look at Chabad’s response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Jewish life events. In this, part five, Chabad representatives have drawn on their creativity to empower those leading their own solo Seder.


Episode 1: Home For Shabbat

As communities hunker down, Chabad sends Shabbat home. A look at the how Chabad is revising its boisterous Shabbat celebrations with Rabbi Chalom and Mairav Boudjnah, Chabad at San Diego State University and Rabbi Yitzi and Dina Creeger, Chabad at University of Cincinnati.

Video Interview with Rabbi Moshe Fuss, Chabad of Fremont, California.


Episode 2: What A Wedding!

Pandemic restrictions limit gatherings, but the wedding must go on. Rabbi Levi Wolff, Chabad of Bondi, Sydney, reflects. Rabbi Mendel and Shani Katzman, Chabad of Nebraska discuss the whys and hows with their newly married children Rabbi Yaacov and Shevi Behrman.

Video Interview with Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, Chabad of Flamingo, Ontario.


Episode 3: Baby Blues

It's a bris! Or is it? Is it possible to this mitzvah that dates back to our forefather Abraham while still protecting the life and health of a newborn, his family and community? Rabbi Yaakov Yosef and Chaya Raskin, Chabad of Huntington Village, Long Island and Rabbi Mendel and Chava Mushka Dubov, Chabad of Sussex County, New Jersey were blessed to face this conundrum. Rabbi Zalmy and Esther Rader, Chabad of the Town, Montreal felt they received a Divine message as their baby Tzivia was named by a group of seniors in South Africa.

Video Interview with Rabbi Mendel Silberstein, Chabad of Larchmont and Mamaroneck, Westchester.


Episode 4: A Quiet Goodbye

It’s the last rite of honor, but for many that right is no longer. A grandmother to hundreds, spanning four generations, dies at 94 and is buried in a quiet ceremony by strangers in hazmat suits. Her children sit shiva alone. Rabbi Levi Gurkov, Chabad of Oceanside, Long Island and Rabbi Sholom Ber Shmerling of Venice, Florida discuss how CDC protocol is causing Judaism’s sacred burial societies, to dramatically alter traditional practice.

Video Interview with Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, Chabad of Texas and Chabad of Uptown, Houston.


Episode 5: Solo Seder

The Seder is often a boisterous, multi-generational affair, for many families, an annual reunion of sorts. How do Chabad representatives empower and support those leading the Seder alone, at home, many for the first time? Manya Lazaroff, Chabad at Texas A&M university and Dvorah Gancz at Chabad of Suffern County, New York provide guidance and assistance, both spiritual and emotional. The Chabad Kids Network organized the world's largest virtual model Seder.

Video Interview with Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, Chabad of Bangkok, Thailand.

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