A first night of Passover Zoom seder (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Tonight is the second night of Passover. Members of Congregation Beth El Binah will be practicing safe seder, and everyone is invited to watch.

The seder is when friends and family gather to read the Hagadah, which tells the story of the Exodus. Part of the ritual is to remember the 10 Plagues. This year, at my friends and family first night seder last night, we remembered several more — tornadoes, coronavirus, lack of national leadership.

Why are there two nights of seders? Many Jewish holidays celebrate two days, just to make sure we got it right.

What about food? Part of the seder is the meal. Certain foods are allowed, and certain ones aren’t. And, of course, no one exactly agrees what’s permitted and what isn’t. But  — two Jews, three opinions.

Leavened bread isn’t allowed, so we eat matzo — tasteless, unleavened bread made from just flour and water. Why? As the Israelites were escaping from Egypt, they didn’t have time to bake bread, so the Manischewitz family made boxes of square, tasteless crackers to take along on the trip. They were even securely wrapped in cellophane for that soggy crossing the Red Sea adventure.

Legumes: No legumes during Passover. Why not? Because it says so. No rice — unless you’re a Sephardic (Eastern) Jew. Then eat rice to go with the rest your Chinese food … wait. No. That’s on Christmas.

OK, so maybe I’m not telling the story exactly right. Beth El Binah’s always entertaining Cantor Don Croll will do a better job tonight. Beth El Binah members will join the seder via Zoom. Everyone else can watch via YouTube. Here’s the link. The seder begins at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Bring dinner. Everyone will eat together online.

Have a safe Passover. Happy Easter. Next year, at the same table. Next year, Easter in the park.

— David Taffet