Due to strict coronavirus guidelines, Israelis this year will be barred from holding the Passover Seder Wednesday night with anyone not of the same household.
However, one particular Seder will be attended by hundreds of Israelis — with the blessing of the Health Ministry along with all relevant government authorities.
The festive dinner will take place at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv, which has become a temporary home for hundreds of Israelis who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus but are only experiencing mild symptoms.
Since only COVID-19 carriers will be attending the Seder, there is no risk of them infecting anyone else, with at least one mass-meal to take place during this year’s virus-plagued holiday.
A sterilized area has been prepared in the hotel to accommodate up to 500 guests, with dozens of round tables arranged with holiday decorations. Each guest will receive their own Haggadah holiday prayer book, a personal Seder plate along with a disposable food package that will include all of the essential Passover foods, the Israel Hayom news site reported.
The hotel’s Seder team, led by senior IDF officer Amir Friedman, told the daily that one of the Dan Panorama guests had been called on to read from the Haggadah throughout the evening.
“There was wonderful collaboration between the guests, the Home Front Command and the hotel management,” Friedman said.
Among the Seder participants will be 20-year-old Yehuda Friedman from the ultra-Orthodox town of Kiryat Yearim, who has been staying at hotel for the past two weeks.
“A Seder without the family is a very foreign phenomenon and will be a bit confusing. But from what I understand there will be good food, and I hope there will be a feeling of home,” he told Israel Hayom.
The Dan Panorama has made headlines in recent weeks for also being the sole place in the country where Israelis can get their party on.
Footage published on social media from the hotel in Tel Aviv indicated that many of the coronavirus patients are having a better time than their healthy compatriots, since the social distancing rules so strictly applied elsewhere are unnecessary in a place where all are already infected.
“We are making lemonade out of lemons,” said Amit Katzav, who has been at such a hotel for four days.
“It is approved by the management. We are trying to pass the time together in the best way we can,” she told Channel 12 in a report earlier this month.
She said there has been criticism of the parties, which are being held while people are dying and lives have been disrupted.
“We’re already here at the hotel, and I think we should take it the best way possible, try to smile and be optimistic. Being sad will not help,” she said.