Support Our Future Leaders

The Media Line is known for producing truthful, unbiased journalism and we are teaching future journalists to do the same. Through our signature Press and Policy Student Program, The Media Line provides an innovative opportunity for students to globalize their educational experience by connecting to an active news bureau in the Middle East, studying journalism and public policy under the mentorship of veteran journalists while earning academic credit.

These students will reshape how the world sees and understands the Middle East and, in turn, how the Middle East impacts our world. Your contribution will provide the next generation with the skills they need to uphold the highest standards of journalism and, in turn, educate our global society with integrity and respect.

Thank you!

“The Press and Policy Student Program has elevated my global awareness, supported my journalistic efforts, and propelled me on the path of future success within the news industry.”
Press and Policy Student Program Participant
Carla Warren, University of Houston
Thank you and best wishes.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
Israelis Celebrate First ‘Normal’ Jewish Holiday in a Year
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men prepare matzah, a traditional unleavened bread, for the Passover holiday at a bakery in Rehovot, Israel, March 14, 2021. (Gil Cohen Magen/Xinhua via Getty)

Israelis Celebrate First ‘Normal’ Jewish Holiday in a Year

Passover 2020 kicked off 11 months under lockdown

“This is the first time I am celebrating the holidays with my grandchildren in over a year,” says Tamar Levi, who is visiting Eilat for the weeklong Passover festival. “This is the first time I’ll hear my oldest grandson recite the Four Questions in person.

“I started visiting my grandchildren in February; I hadn’t seen them in 11 months. To be able to be together feels almost as big of a miracle as God taking us out of Egypt,” Levi told The Media Line.

With the majority of the population vaccinated against the coronavirus and the lowest positivity testing rate, 1.3%, in nine months, Israelis will attend the Seder on Saturday night in a markedly different way than they did last year.

Passover is one of the three biblically ordained pilgrimage festivals, along with Shavuot and Sukkot, which commemorate the Israelites leaving bondage in Egypt for the Promised Land, with a 40-year interlude spent wandering the desert in between. Passover is marked by eating unleavened food for seven days, while some in the Diaspora observe it for eight days.

While large gatherings were banned last year during Purim, Passover 2020 was the first holiday under lockdown where Israelis felt the full impact of stay-at-home orders.

Passover last year, characterized by the Zoom Seder, touched off a year of Jewish holidays that were drastically altered as a result of the novel coronavirus.

Spending all night going to different homes on Shavuot was not an option this year and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services were extremely limited, with many staying home. There was no dancing with the Torah scroll on Simhat Torah and schoolchildren did not partake in tree planting trips during Tu B’Shvat, a longstanding tradition for Israelis. This Purim, in late February, cities such as Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, which have large Orthodox populations, were under lockdown.

Thus, the pandemic has spurred many Israelis to value Passover even more.

“I’m very [appreciative] that there’s not a lockdown like last year, as I couldn’t celebrate with my family,” Bracha, a Modern Orthodox American-Israeli professional living in Jerusalem, told The Media Line. “Celebrating with family is very joyous and we maintain beautiful traditions from over the years, so all in all, it’s a beautiful happy and holy vibe. This sharply contrasts with last year, so I have a lot of gratitude for the way things will be this year.”

Hadassah Herzog, a Jerusalemite rebbetzin whose husband served congregations in Philadelphia and Minneapolis, is also thankful that this Passover is different.

“Last year I was alone, and it’s good to be with family this year and I’m looking forward to it,” she told The Media Line. “While last year was not ideal, I made the best of it. I love to learn and it was interesting doing the Seder by myself.”

Avinoam Dotan, who lives near the Dead Sea, says COVID-19 has given him a new perspective about slavery and freedom, major motifs of the holiday.

“I think now we really understand what it means to be not free and bound,” he told The Media Line. “Last year I celebrated by myself, but as I celebrate with relatives this year, I appreciate that we have an independent state of our own.”

However, not everyone is happy about returning to a more normal Passover.

“I kind of enjoyed being able to mute people on Zoom at times during last year’s Seder,” Michael, a Tel Aviv resident who works in high-tech, told The Media Line. “You can’t do that in person.”

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.