Passover 2015. So where are you celebrating the Seder? For quite a few families, circumstances compel them to answer: “in the hospital”. Whether it is a prolonged or short hospitalization, and regardless of disease the adult or child is suffering from, the situation may dictate that the sick child cannot be released to spend the Seder at home. The good news is that it is indeed possible hold this important event in the hospital, and it has the potential to be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Another special project by Latet Tikva.
Aiming to release patients home for the Seder
Every year, all the hospitals in Israel make an earnest effort to allow hospitalized patients, young and old alike, to celebrate the Seder at home. This does not mean that it is possible to speed up treatment in order to complete it before the holiday – and in many cases the patient’s medical condition does not allow this – but when the situation allows, may hospitals release patients to their home, even for a few hours, so that can enjoy the Seder with their families.
However, in many cases, circumstances do not permit the patient’s release. But there is a solution: Israeli hospitals, in collaboration with Latet Tikva, hold the holiday celebrations in various departments, and these celebrations are attended by patients, their families and the professional staff – with the foremost attention focused on the Seder. The Seder itself can be conducted in the hospital dining room or even in the corridor, and can host varying numbers of people. The goal is to allow guests to enjoy the entire, complete experience, with the main features of this important and family-oriented holiday, also known as the “Festival of Freedom”.
To understand how we do this, and all the preparations prior to the Seder, following is a description of the process by which Latet Tikva and the hospital prepare a special Seder night for the families of the sick children.
Preparations begin long before the holiday
Average Israeli families prepare for Passover for weeks in their respective homes, including important tasks such as cleaning the house of chametz (leavened food), as well as a very thorough cleaning of each and every room in the house. It should be noted that in most parts of the various hospitals, work and tasks are performed to prepare for the holiday. This includes placing signs with explanations in various languages asking visitors to the hospital not to bring in food that is not kosher for Passover -weeks in advance of the Seder. Some of the hospitals offer cabinets and boxes where visitors can leave their chametz, before entering hospitals, and collect it later.
Another significant issue that hospitals have to deal with it is the matter of making utensils and dishes kosher for Passover. In this context, the most obvious choice is the acquisition of new sets, designated especially for Passover, prior to the holiday. This solution, in addition to solving the kosher issue, also creates a truly festive feeling among the guests. Hospitals allow people that plan to spend the Seder there to pre-order kosher dishes at various standards, such as Glatt Kosher or Badaz food, and these dishes are delivered to the departments on the Seder eve.
People who do wonderful, holy work
Organizing the Seder meals in a hospital is quite an undertaking, given the fact that the hospital personnel that are supposed to be in charge of organizing the event have, at any given moment, an enormous workload. Here is where Latet Tikva comes in. Members of the organization are in touch with various hospitals all year long, and appoint a special coordinator every year, supported by an entire team of volunteers that help the hospital prepare, plan and organize this festive evening. Some of these individuals even play a key part in the Seder itself: they organize the tables, help serve the food to the guests, and actively participate in the Seder itself.
Later, quite a few people present the Seder’s artistic program, all on a volunteer basis, of course.
Undoubtedly a unique experience
If you ask different people who have experienced a Passover Seder in a hospital, most likely everyone will remember it as a good experience, despite the unpleasant circumstances. In fact, in many cases people claim that it was one of the best Seders they have ever celebrated. The reason is clear: when Latet Tikva works to plant hope, joy and a feeling of togetherness among the families – in the most difficult of times – the result is an experience that is etched in the memories of everyone who took part in the Seder. The joint reading of the Haggadah, as well as the singing of songs together by dozens of families and their sick children, is an extremely powerful and very touching experience.
Latet Tikva – Turning a dream into reality on the Seder eve
Latet Tikva’s pre-packed food packages are delivered in special Room Service packaging. Every family is asked about their favorite foods, and special needs if any. At Latet Tikva, we think about every detail in order to create a perfect Seder experience.
We still have boys and girls with serious illnesses for which we have yet to obtain funding for their Seder meal. Come take part and help Latet Tikva’s Seder contribute to the celebration of the Seder by a sick child and his or her family