CEDARHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Jewish people around the world will celebrate Passover this weekend.

Unlike last year, when large family gatherings were canceled, some are able to reunite to observe the traditional Passover meal this year, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.

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There is joy in a Cedarhurst, New York home as Passover approaches.

For the first time in two years, Shifra Klein, her husband and kids will sit down with grandparents for a family Seder – the festive meal that tells the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt.

Last Passover, the pandemic was raging and some celebrations went virtual.

“My parents had grandkids and children around for years, and then it’s just them two at home. It’s a very quiet, almost depressing experience,” said Klein.

“It was very lonely, and they would drive by the house and, from the porch, we would come out to the porch and I would throw them toys, and even food,” said Ita Korolitzky.

COVID VACCINE

Now, thanks to vaccinations, rituals can be shared.

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Cooking is a big part of Passover preparation. Klein is the editor of Fleishigs Magazine, serving up recipes for ratatouille gefilte fish and salami cups – delicious and symbolic.

“We don’t eat any leavened bread because the Jews didn’t have time for the bread to rise when they were escaping Egypt,” said Klein. “But there’s so much you can do… It’s a really delicious holiday.”

It’s a holiday that celebrates freedom and, this year, comes just as vaccinated family members feel safe to reunite.

“What Passover is all about. It’s about family and being together,” said Klein.

“Such a good feeling to have it all back,” Korolitzky said.

For those who cannot yet gather or can’t afford the festive meal, Jeremy and Elizabeth Kahn are sponsoring Passover Seder-to-go kits in the five towns so that no one feels alone.

“It’s just us and our children two years in a row. It gives you, you have everything you need and you don’t have to feel like you’re getting it right,” said Elizabeth Kahn.

“I think it brings a sense of community to everybody,” said Jeremy Kahn.

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Passover recalls the tears and bitterness of slavery and celebrates liberation. This year, it’s also a celebration of togetherness.

Carolyn Gusoff