Socially Distant Seder: what would I need to group-chat Passover?
March 23, 2020 10:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of setting up a seder that would include me and my housemate, her family, my family, her SO, and some friends. Each group would seder in place, but we'd all get hooked up via FaceTime or Skype or Zoom or whatever would work best. What kind of configuration would allow for maximum socializing with minimum branching (e.g. location 1 can only see/talk to location 4)?

I figured, we both have laptops, we both have iPads, why not put them on the table in the other four seating positions and set them up in conferences? Has anyone ever tried a tele-conference (or webinar, or whatever) where some of the attendees were on one computer/pad/phone and some of the others were on another... what would be the best way to achieve this?
posted by tzikeh to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think the problem is that if you put the devices at the empty chairs, the cameras might not be able to pick up the two of you that are in the room. You would need to sit side by side with the four devices facing you.

Also, it create an awful echo if one device picks up the output from another and then feed it back into the system.

I think our Seder will be one laptop positioned to pick up the our little family so we can see each of the other groups. Zoom can certainly handle this although they have a 40 minute window on their free version. Although you could then just jump onto a new call (maybe someone else's free version?) after that.
posted by metahawk at 10:56 PM on March 23

I’m planning on hosting my family’s Seder by zoom — I’ll set up the meeting, invite the Pennsylvania, Colorado, Washington DC , Arkansas and Illinois folks, my dad will co-host and run the Seder (using a Haggadah distributed by email prior). We’ll do the pre-festive meal part, and then everyone will go eat their own food. Is the current plan.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:47 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

omg i just realized if we do this in my family well need a separate zoom for the folks who usually congregate down at the far end of the table to get drunk and marginally ignore the goings on anyways.

and, since my spouse can think of no more vile food, a whole jar of gefilte fish to myself!
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:36 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

I mailed everybody the same haggadah (or will drop off to local people who are interested in "coming") and we're going to use Zoom.

Hey Alma just posted a guide to hosting virtual seders you may find useful.

I'm going to video chat the cooking with my mom and potentially drop food off for the local folks.
posted by marfa, texas at 8:44 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]

We're planning on one laptop (with camera) at the end of the table, probably sitting up on a pile of books so as to get the angle right; and probably with a large monitor attached so we can see our guests more easily. Zoom works better than Hangouts in my experience.

I expect we'll do it together through the beginning of dinner. Depending how well the connection goes we might try doing some of the after dinner singing together. We'll probably start a little early to accommodate our East Coast timezone folks.

I will be distributing a list a week prior for my less-experienced guests so they can lay in the basics of what they're going to need to follow along, including the ritual foods. My Haggadah is already in a digital form. You can get a digital Haggadah, customized to your specs, at

Good luck!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:46 AM on March 24

We're also doing this via Zoom. Haggadahs are going to be emailed to everyone, and I was assuming one device per household; otherwise there would be also sorts of echoing. The only thing left to do is pick a moderator/leader to keep things in check. As it is, I see the whole thing dissolving into laughter and control grabbing and weird virtual backgrounds.

I am looking forward to it.

Chag sameach.
posted by AMyNameIs at 10:31 AM on March 24

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