Thanks, Wrap, but your article on the abandonment of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s nursing home’s seder only scratches the surface on what is really going on.
Denying the nursing home residents, of whom there are only 57 left, easy access to the local seder that they are accustomed to is tantamount to denial of their right to worship.
This has come as no surprise to me, as Bob Beitcher’s regime continues to fuel the demise of the long-term care facility and foster an environment that disregards patient rights, turns a deaf ear to quality of care, and seemingly encourages HIPAA violations.
Beitcher’s statement, "There’s nothing like taking a holy Jewish holiday and turning it into a political football, and I congratulate [the families] on doing that," is nothing short of ludicrous, as it was his intention that this be a political football.
In an email sent to Bob requesting that a seder be provided that can be easily accessed by our most infirm and elderly residents, Bob’s response included: "We will also not tolerate any family member who chooses to inject personal politics on such a holy unified event."
There was never any mention that the sanctity of the Passover seder would be marred by outbursts, politicking or grandstanding. In an obvious baiting of the situation, Bob was the first to inject any notion of political controversy; in doing so, he tainted the overall tone of this hastily cobbled together Seder.
Well done Bob! You’ve not only created this political football, but you’ve carried it for a touchdown.The original letter requesting the seder was sent to Ken Scherer. Recognizing the political worth of this event, a lateral pass was intercepted by Beitcher and returned to the concerned families wrapped in sarcasm and bile.
Beitcher further stated, "With respect to family participation, we have never turned away visiting family members and/or friends from campus events."
Another outright, blatant and either deliberate lie or a statement sprung forth from ignorance that I can testify to personally. If they are afraid of the truth being exposed, they have done an admirable job in holding those who speak it at bay.
The truth is that traditionally, a seder was hosted by the MPTF in the activity room for the nursing home residents and their family members who chose to join in. To say that it was moved because of the dwindling number of Jewish residents who would participate strikes a hopeful note that at this time next year there will be even fewer Jews, and even fewer Jews the year after.
I have news for you, Bob, or anyone who thinks you need a baseline number of breathing Yids — if there is one observant Jew who wants to participate in a Passover seder, you not only allow it, you enable it.
To many of them this could be their last seder, so why put impediments in their way to experience it? Why limit the service to only those who are "physically able" to participate? In their zeal to cleanse the campus of the most elderly and handicapped residences, Beitcher is now denying them what could be their "final meal," and one that is so relevant given the hostile atmosphere that we find ourselves in.
What’s the big deal?
The families have offered to foot the bill for the food. We have been proactive in working with the fund in earnest to provide a meaningful and accessible Passover for the nursing home residents. Why take the chance of shipping these fragile folk across the campus when it is so easy to just say, "Of course you can have a seder in the activity room, haven’t we always done it that way?" Instead of claiming the dwindling number of Jews who are able to participate have caused us to "combine seders."
Shame on you, Bob.
You are robbing these old folk of the only tangible thing they have left: their sense of dignity. You are schlepping them to unfamiliar surroundings where attendants stand by to change diapers and wipe the drool away while the Haftorah is read and Dayanu is sung. Even for those who cannot speak or understand, you are robbing their family of the solace of knowing their loved one can still be a part of a Jewish tradition without jumping through the hoops that you are setting forth.
Your belief that these people, my mother and the others who are there, have no value, is so painfully obvious.
And before you chastise me or others with "Where have you been on past seders?," think again. We have been reawakened to the basic ideals of humanity as we fight for the rights of the elderly.
That lingering smell in the Saban Center after your seder isn’t the leftover gefilte fish. It’s the stench of a hollow ceremony led by a corrupt regime who has turned away their own from participating.