Each year the McLean Therapeutic Recreation and Dining Services teams create a very special event in the craft room. They prepare a Seder. This year, fifteen residents and family members including a post-acute short term patient and his wife joined together for this special meal and celebration. Ellen Mandelberg volunteered to lead the service for the tenth year. She explains the significance of each element of the celebration. Of particular note was the orange on the Seder platter. Ellen noted that the orange remembers the first female Rabbi. The meal began with Gefilte fish and horseradish. The radish denoted the bitterness of history. Ellen told the group that they were “in for a very special treat as the dining team makes the best brisket. The dinner is run very democratically,” she added,” as everyone reads, and there is not a special role for men versus women. I encourage you all to share stories and special traditions from your family which will enrich the celebration for all of us. ” Two of the residents were guests of another resident and enjoying their first Seder. Ellen’s explanations for each phase of the celebration meant a great deal to them in particular.
Karen Hunter, Dining Room Supervisor, explained “We try to make this event special by using our special china and wine glasses plus special linen. We feel it is very important that, even as our residents’ health may decline, that they can participate in their food traditions and still be safe. Our kitchen ensures that this is the case with adaptive preparation when necessary. This year Ellen made the matza ball soup herself. Ellen also brought the wine, fish, and horseradish, and dessert. Mrs. Dicker's daughter made the traditional Charoset. It is a sweet, dark-colored, paste made of fruits and nuts eaten at the Passover Seder. Its color and texture are meant to recall the mud which the Israelites used to make adobe bricks when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt.
Karen Hunter was stopped in the hallway the next day and one of the family members told her “That was the best Seder ever for me.” Karen added, “I would agree that was indeed something special about last night.”
Ellen Mandelberg explains the significance of each item on the Seder platter as the celebration began at McLean.
Steven Wolf thoroughly enjoyed the Seder and sharing the Passover traditions with his fellow McLean residents.