As Pesach is just around the corner, a few matters for your consideration.
First, we will be offering "seder in a box" from Premier caterers here at B'nai Shalom this year. You have the choice of the ritual items only or a full meal. Haggadot will be provided, and a link to a Passover Seder Video that you can stream on your I-Pad in case you need help "leading" your seder. This is all part of our electronic supports during the Corona Virus Pandemic, encouraging both social distancing and ongoing observance of our traditions.
Second, I will be announcing this Shabbat that we will be allowing mourners' kaddish to be said during our live streaming minyanim. That means, should we still be physically closed for Pesach, we will have remote participation minyan with kaddish for Yizkor on the 8th day of Pesach. Please plan accordingly.
ALCOHOL SANITIZERS ON PESACH THIS YEAR:
Third, regarding the CDC advice to maintain a sterile environment, especially including frequent hand washing with soap and water and hand sanitizer. The scientific community is being quite clear: soap and water is best. In the absence of soap and water, hand sanitizer must be at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective. Most alcohol is made from grain, and traditionally forbidden to be owned or to derive any benefit from it during Pesach. The demand for Pikuach Nefesh - to save human lives - OVERRIDES that prohibition.
To save human life, you MAY (even MUST) use alcohol based hand sanitizers, even if they are KNOWN to be derived from grain. Halakhikly, it is possible to argue that the destruction of the grain into an inedible form of alcohol creates a d'var chadash which is not even akhilat kelev. Since it is inedible to a dog and unrecognizable as grain, the emergency situation provides room for leniency during this time of extreme need sha'ah dehak. Nevertheless, ALL SUCH PRODUCTS ARE BEST PURCHASED IN ADVANCE OF THE HOLIDAY, AND INCLUDED IN YOUR SALE OF CHAMETZ. In this way, you will be benefiting from the grain product of a non Jew, who themself is permitted to own it.
This is not a leniency that operates in an area with no corona virus, nor is it a precedent for the future.