For Shira Dicker, a longtime environmental activist, coronavirus has unexpectedly helped her stay true to her saving-the-planet principles this Passover.
The publicist/event planner from the Upper West Side had planned to spend the first seder sitting on the Santa Monica beach with her family, eating a meal on bamboo dishes and dipping her toes in the Pacific Ocean. That would have meant a heavy carbon footprint cross-country airline flight, plus a car ride to the beach.
Instead, her trip to Southern California cancelled by the outbreak, she will co-conduct an eco seder with her author/journalism professor husband, Ari Goldman, and their son and daughter-in-law in the couple’s Morningside Heights apartment.
Despite the venue change, Dicker and Goldman will lead what she calls an Earth Seder. Dicker calls an ecologically friendly holiday part of a trend of politically inspired seder themes. Hers will be in the spirit of “The Promise of the Land: A Passover Haggadah,” a new book by Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, that will serve as the night’s text.
“I’m following Ellen’s directive about conscious shopping,” which means biodegradable dishes and other seder items, and locally sourced produce, Dicker says; she conducted a “The Promise of an Earth Seder” workshop at the recent LimmudFest NY, demonstrating how to organize a seder faithful to Jewish tradition and environmental consciousness.
We now have a global wave of individuals and communities doing virtual Earth Seders, organized by Ellen on Zoom. Rabbi Bernstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The music at her seder will also reflect the environmental focus. “We will be putting up a request on Facebook about songs to sing at the various Earth Seders that will be happening virtually and at Passover tables everywhere.”
Dicker finds no contradiction between an Earth Seder and a traditional one. “Due to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, another meaning of Earth Seder is that everyone on Earth is experiencing a radically reconfigured, socially isolated seder this year. We are together in our isolation,” she said. “We are connected more than we know.”