LONDON, England (JTA) — Why was my seder different from all other seder nights?
Because this year, we digitally connected family members split between London and Manchester, with a laptop and live web camera, for both the service and the meal.
Normally my family reunites in one city for Passover, but this year my cousin Ben Forman and his wife Gemela had welcomed the arrival of their baby boy only eight days earlier. With an 18-month toddler also at home, the members of my Manchester-based family decided to stay up north and have their own low-key seder.
Through the digital link-up, the youngest family members in both cities sang the Ma Nishtanah together.
My cousin Ben was the creator of our cyber-seder, using two carefully positioned laptops to connect the family.
“A couple of years ago we were split at seder and it was a really depressing seder night,” Ben said. “I thought using Skype was the closest way to get together without actually being together. I pre-arranged for there to be two laptops with web cameras to enable two-way video. It was really comforting to see everyone. We even sang two songs together."
Who knows where we will be for next year’s seder nights — perhaps even in Jerusalem. But wherever we are in the world, I now know that we can all be together for seder.