OPINION: This year in a Covid-19 ward. Next year in Jerusalem

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OPINION: This year in a Covid-19 ward. Next year in Jerusalem

Rachel Gemara, a nurse at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, is working round the clock to care for coronavirus patients during Pesach

Rachel Gemara in her Covid-19 kit
Rachel Gemara in her Covid-19 kit

Pesach is a time of reflection. A time to look back and remember the times we spent together with family and friends around the Seder table.

My seder this year was nothing short of surreal and extraordinary.

I spent it in the ‘Chamal’ (operations room) looking on as the corona patients inside the unit had their very own unique Seder.

That afternoon, a nurse went in to set up a beautiful table for the patients that are well enough to sit and have a proper Seder.

We also arranged portable oxygen tanks for the patients that need constant oxygen supply so they can also take part.

The Rabbi leading the Seder is a new patient – he arrived the day before, I’m in awe as I watch him give Divrei Torah and excitedly engage the other patients throughout the Seder. To no surprise, I later found out he’s a prominent figure in Jewish education.

Celebrating passover on the ward

Even under unfortunate circumstances he has turned this experience into a positive one for everyone there.

It’s amazing to watch them help each other out, bringing the elderly patients in with wheel chairs and visiting the ones that are too ill to leave their rooms.

By the end of the Seder, they all get up to form a circle and dance and sing לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה (Next year in Jerusalem).

Many with tears in their eyes, they hug each other and shake hands.

The brotherhood is so strong I can feel it just by watching the screen.

I feel like I’m getting a glimpse of what the first Pesach must have been like.

Going through something unknown and unnerving, we were there for one another and got through it together, and these patients are doing just that right now.

To next year in Jerusalem, Gd bless

Rachel Gemara

Rachel Gemara is a nurse working in the Keter (crown) unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, Jerusalem.  Along with her colleagues, everyone a volunteer, she is working round the clock to care for patients of all ages who have been struck down with Coronavirus. 

Rachel, originally an Oncology nurse, has been sharing her experiences with emotive updates on Facebook.

This has been  adapted from a facebook post originally shared on 12 April 2020

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