Coronavirus pandemic puts halt to traditions in faith community


FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Wednesday is the beginning of Passover and for many in the faith community. It marks the start of Holy Week, from Good Friday to Easter.

The holiday is often a time when families get together.

“Often people invite friends, at the synagogue here, the reformed Jewish community we have over 100 people every year,” said Rabbi Rick Winer of the Temple Beth Israel of Fresno.

But because of the Coronavirus pandemic, people are not able to gather. Faith leaders in the Valley are encouraging families to celebrate this year virtually. “Life is unquestionably different right now,” Winer said.


This year, Winer says those in the liberal Jewish community are taking to virtual platforms to celebrate Passover with family and friends, along with many others in different religions.

But he says it’s a challenge for those in the Orthodox Jewish community.”It’s going to be especially challenging for the Orthodox community this year who abide by these prohibitions that we don’t use electronic devices during the sabbath or festivals, for the liberal Jewish community like us in the reform community it is okay to do that,” Winer said.

For those in the Christian and Catholic community, celebrations come later this week with Holy Thursday and Good Friday and then Easter Sunday.

Typically there would be church services and families gathering at parks.

But now, “Many churches are offering live streaming and our masses are available on YouTube and so many people are watching on the screen,” said Father Gregory Beaumont of Holy Family Catholic Church in Kingsburg. 

In addition to that, Beaumont says he is also offering different times for walk-up confessions, while maintaining social distancing. “There’s quite of number of people coming from our community and other communities looking for a time of prayer,” he said.

But whether you meet virtually or not, Beaumont says right now is the time to lean on faith.”This year more than ever, the church is praying in the family, the church is praying at home,” he said.

Again, parks are closed and officials say this does not mean have people over to celebrate. They are urging everyone to stay at their own homes and celebrate virtually or call your friends and family instead.

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