At noon EST on April 6th 2020 (Nisan 12, 5780) the Beit Din of Ani Judaism assembled via conference call to make a decision on the upcoming times of the Passover Seder. This article will serve as a guide to what was decided for all congregations under the banner of Ani Judaism.
The appointed time for the Seder is set on the evening of the 14th of Nisan each year, which this year falls on the evening of Wednesday the 8th 2020. There is a second passover that starts on the evening of May 7th 2020, which is known as Pesach Sheni. This is reserved for those who are deemed unclean. Some have asked if the seder should be moved to Pesach Sheni on the 14th of the month of Iyar for this year. Below is our decision voted on by a 53 to 15 majority.
It has been decided that for this year (5780) and this year only, congregations are forbidden to have mass gatherings for the seder on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. These gatherings for a mass seder are put into place mainly for beginners and first year participants in the Pesach Seder. For, the sick, the elderly, or the first time participants, as well as individuals who are unmarried, they can wait for Pesach Sheni for the seder.
In our sect as well as most sects of Judaism the seder is mainly done in the home with one's family, not at the congregation. One who's a family and who is learned in the order of the Seder is obligated to do their seder at home if they are a family of 2 or more on the evening of 14th of Nisan. Yet, one its not to invite other congregants or extended family for this year. It is forbidden to do so for this year. We hope to not hear congregants are not.
Those with a strong internet connection will be sent a virtual seder from many of the rabbis of Ani Judaism. Some will be live streaming through platforms like Zoom, ECamm, Skype, Streamyard and BeLive. These will be for different time zone and different languages. Not every rabbi of Ani Judaism is required to do this as most do not have the technical know-how so it is not a requirement of our rabbis. But, a beginner is allowed to celebrate the Passover on the 14th if their rabbi has deemed they are ready to keep the mitzvah of Pesach virtually. If one attends a virtual seder on the 14th of Nisan they can also attend one with friends, extended family or their congregation on the 14th of Iyar if it is deemed safe at that time by the government in your country.
We will however be eating matzah, as a community on the 15th of Nisan for the 7 day period as prescribed. If a person does Pesach Sheni on the 14th of Iyar they are not required to also eat matzah that week as well unless they did so because of being unclean during the first Pesach on the 14th of Nisan.
The Seduah of Moshiach, as well as the Omer count and Shavuos will remain unchanged and the same rules for Pesach will also apply to the Seduah of Moshiach on the last day of Pesach. There is not a second Seduah of Moshaich in the Baal Shem Tov's timing so that is not moved to the month of Iyar. The Omer count as well as Shavuos also doesn't have an Omer sheni or Shavuos Sheni. So therefore the rules of Pesach Sheni do not apply.
Be well, and many blessings,
Christopher Fredrickson (Rabbi Eved Banah)
The North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism