Passover deliveries for 500


Last year, Chabad of Pacific Heights Rabbi Moshe Langer hosted more than 300 people on the first night of Passover, at a seder held at a coworking space in SoMa. This year, it was just him, his wife, Taliah, and their four children.

Langer, who grew up in a Chabad house in the Richmond District before becoming a rabbi himself, is used to celebrating Jewish holidays with scores, even hundreds of others — often people he has never met. But this year, due to shelter-in place orders, it felt like there was a “void.” You have got to invite a guest to your seder.”

So, instead of inviting guests to his home this year, Langer brought the seder to theirs. Through Chabad’s seder-in-a-box program, inspired by initiatives that bring holiday essentials to soldiers and Jewish prisoners, Langer and Chabad of San Francisco delivered matzah, wine, seder plate materials and full meals to about 500 people across the Bay Area. Theirs and similar efforts were covered by KPIX, the local CBS affiliate.


Contents of a "Seder in a Box" distributed by Chabad. (LEWIS BADEN)Contents of a “Seder in a Box” distributed by Chabad. (LEWIS BADEN)

Most meaningful, Langer said, was delivering the items to isolated seniors, many of them Russian emigres who were afraid to leave their homes because of the coronavirus. Those visits served two vital purposes:

“We gave them basic food in a time of crisis, and an opportunity to connect to their heritage,” he said.

At the Langer household, there certainly was a silver lining to the intimate family gathering. Langer said he, Taliah and the children read the haggadah together and had a discussion about the Four Questions.

“I think the kids really enjoyed it,” he said. “They got a lot more attention.”

— Gabe Stutman