JERUSALEM, Israel – Israelis and Jewish communities around the globe are preparing to celebrate Passover – when the Bible says God delivered the Jewish people from a plague of death and brought them out of slavery in Egypt.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a special address on Wednesday just hours before Passover began that this remembrance of God’s deliverance is what unites the Jewish people as they battle the “’corona plague’”.
“Suddenly, when we are faced with ‘social distancing’, closures and isolation at homes, we feel even more clearly the importance of the obligation to ‘tell the story to your children’, of passing on the story from generation to generation, from grandparents to children to grandchildren to great-grandchildren,” said Rivlin.
“This is our story, our anchor, what binds us together – even when we need to be apart.”
Rivlin reminded them that God hears the suffering of his people.
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“In describing the suffering of the people of Israel in Egypt, in the Book of Exodus, we read that ‘the Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.’ In these days, my dear ones, we are all praying, together or separately, young and old, secular and religious, for the better days ahead. We all ask ‘remember the covenant of our forefathers'”.
This year’s Passover celebrations in Israel will be much more isolated than the rest as everyone observes a state-mandated lockdown and curfew.
A general country-wide lockdown and ban on travel between cities began on Tuesday and ends on Friday morning. No one is allowed to leave their community except to buy food, medicine or other essential products
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night when Passover begins, Israelis must adhere to a strict curfew that will end Thursday morning. During this time, all stores will be closed and shopping is prohibited.
Until Sunday all public transportation, as well as international passenger flights, will be halted.
As of Wednesday morning, there are more than 9,404 COVID-19 cases in Israel and 71 deaths.