Warsaw, Poland: Celebrates Virtual Shabbat & Seder
The Lauder e-Learning School of Poland conducted two special online events for students and families, celebrating Shabbat and the Passover Seder.
Continue reading the first-hand accounts of each of these unique events, organized by the Lauder e-Learning School and Lauder Morasha School of Poland.
In connection with the activities protecting against the spread of the covid-19 virus, all students in Poland continue their education at home. Together with the Lauder-Morasha School Team community, we met on the ZOOM platform on Friday morning to celebrate and welcome the Shabbat together.
At the Lauder-Morasha School, such Sabbath meetings are a long tradition. During Friday breakfasts, a Jewish teacher always conducts short classes during which he or she talks about the parasha or the upcoming holidays, sings songs and blesses grape juice (kiddush) and challahs.
In our e-School we have never had the opportunity (except for Shabbatons) to prepare together for the arrival of the Queen of Shabbat. In the near future we will be at home and this is a great opportunity to be together before Shabbat.
During the meeting we sang songs thanks to the support of Mrs. Hania (current teacher of Jewish culture in the Lauder-Morasha Schools) – such as Shabbat Shalom, Ivdu et Hashem besimcha, Shalom Alechem, David Melech Israel and Od yavoi shaleom alenu.
Mrs. Ania (Jewish culture teacher) lit the Shabbat candles for us, and Mr. Chaim (Jewish Culture teacher) said Kiddush over the juice. There was time to wash our hands (which is very important at the moment!) To prepare for blessing of the challot baked by Mrs. Dorota (head of the e-School), which Mr. Baruch (the second head of e-School) did.
Mrs. Joanna (Jewish Culture teacher) talked about key ideas in the vayakhel and pekudei parshiot. She mentioned how, after calling Moses to bring gifts to the Mishkan of God, the Jews brought so much that the prophet had to stop them. We can also give others what we have – including our talents and special skills.
There was also a bit of gambling – Mrs. Ania led us (with the huge help of her daughter Hania) in the Hebrolotto lottery! Predicting winning letters was not easy, but Mrs. Hania scored three matches!
Mr. Chaim also took care of our scientific development – he conducted an experiment using candles. We were able to find out about the chemical processes taking place in this situation and how the pressure changes and causes the liquid to be sucked into the glass.
The meeting ended with a song and loud wishes: “Shabbat Shalom!”
Two days before the start of Pesach, we met to prepare for this wonderful holiday. This year’s first Seder dinner took place on Wednesday, April 8. Unfortunately, there are still measures in place to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus, so we spent this year’s holidays only among our household members. All the more it was nice to meet in a larger group to talk about the holiday of freedom.
Our teachers of Jewish culture and the Ciesielski family prepared a program in which we could find many elements of the traditional Seder, although in a somewhat limited form. There was no shortage of stories, singing, games, dvar torah, rebuses, and even physical games.
We know well that in Pesach there should be no chametz (sourdough) in our homes. We had a chance to run to the kitchen to find the one we still had, and then we symbolically got rid of him in virtual fire. Mr. Chaim reminded us of the order of the Seder order – with melody and showing each stage – now we will certainly not forget it anymore!
On our tables should be a seder plate, and Mr. Sławek told us all about it. He not only explained the meaning of symbolic dishes, but also advised how we can make such a plate ourselves. We also learned about modern symbolic additions, which some put on their plates, like olives for the symbol of peace or orange symbolizing excluded people.
“Ma nishtana” is probably the most famous Pesach song and it could not be missing at our meeting. We all sang it together, and the youngest (from among the teachers) – Mr. Sławek led us in singing. Pesach this year will definitely stand out and many of us will add a few new questions to the traditional four: “How is this night different from all other nights of the year?”
Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich was our special guest. We are grateful that he found some time to come to the meeting and say a few words in such a busy schedule full of preparations for Pesach. Rabbi Schudrich made no secret that this year’s Pesach would not be easy and we would miss the presence of other members of the community. He expressed warm wishes to all of us and shared a short dvar torah.
Mrs. Ania checked the efficiency of our thinking and memory, presenting us with visual quizzes for guessing. The answers contained Egyptian plagues and some of them were really tough to guess!
In our virtual seder, the time has come for Magid – the story of Leaving Egypt. Mrs. Joanna, with the help of a film produced by the PJ Library, told about the tragic fate of the Jews in Egypt and Moses, who together with Hashem led our nation out of captivity.
During our “mini seder” we couldn’t miss the matzos! Mr. Baruch showed us matzos and said the words from Haggadah: “ha lachma anya – this is the bread of slavery” to then break one of them into two parts, as we do during the Seder.
We hope to meet you in Jerusalem next year – everyone, together and in full health!