This week, three major religious holidays coincide for the first time in more than 30 years: Ramadan, Easter and Passover.
And as more COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, more people are choosing to observe this holiday in person for the first time in two years.
“Our faith is based on God incarnate and therefore being able to physically come together in one place means the world to us,” Pastor Anne Jolly said with St. Gregory Episcopal Church at Deerfield. “After several years of being online only, being able to come together brings this special holiday to life in a way that is really important to us.”
For the past few years, the church has celebrated online, Jolly said. They also led through the communion and threw confetti at those passing by.
Imam Hassan Aly, with The Mecca Center in Willowbrook, said it was difficult not to have Ramadan in person, but the Center remained virtually united. And now, after two years of celebrating in person again, he said there was an opportunity to reflect and learn.
“We should now take a step back and look at how we lived before the pandemic, during the pandemic and after the pandemic,” Aly said. “Seeing a friend on the street or in a place of worship is not something we should take for granted.”
Rabbi Evan Moffic with Makom Solel by the lake in Highland Park said the pandemic has resulted in a huge increase in membership. While he once worried about the effects of COVID-19 on his community, there has been renewed interest.
“We had more attendees, more people calling me and seeking advice and people taking in the simple pleasures of community, learning about the family and friendship that a synagogue, a church and a mosque represent,” said Moffic.
As the three holidays align with each other, Aly said it is God who says communities “must start from scratch together”. Aly Mosque is hosting a banquet, with a rabbi and pastor to hear about their faith and how their communities have been affected by COVID-19.
“In many ways, we are entering the time of spring, the rebirth of nature,” Moffic said. “I really think this is a time of rebirth and renewal – hopefully turning a corner and reinvigorating our lives as a community.”