Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Pesach seder and the children who won't be there

With Pesach at hand, most of us are eagerly cleaning house and planning the family seder, anticipating the love and togetherness with which it envelops us.

But apparently some of our neighbors believe that joy is not deserved by all. I learned this from yet another ad-filled brochure clogging our mailbox this week. La'inyan, which describes itself as "A Consumer Magazine for the Hareidi Community", sported this full page advertisement (see photo on the right). It exhorts parents of children with disabilities to exclude them from their family seder and offload them onto strangers - the better to enjoy their seders.

I must confess, the concept is so alien to me that my husband had to explain what the ad was promoting.  Once I got it, my jaw dropped after which I felt the overwhelming urge to puke.

The child in the illustration is not even severely impaired, not that it should be relevant. He looks like a very adorable boy with mild Down's Syndrome. What would motivate a parent to banish this child from the family seder? And what, other than greed and heartlessness, would motivate somebody to convince parents that they ought to do that?

The discarded child is given the endearing name Chayimke and the father holding him is described as "Free of Kushiyot". That's the term used in the Passover Haggadah to refer to the Four Questions - but here intended to connote "free of hassles".

This Seder-for-the-dumped-children is described in the advert as "the World's Most Special Seder", using the term that generally refers to children with disabilities,

So, to sum it up: For the bargain price of 220 shekels, you can enjoy your seder free of the love of your child with Down Syndrome and, if this repugnant ad convinces you, free of any guilt as well.

Oh, and here's the icing on the cake:
The general public is invited to participate in this "Special Seder" by donating to it! A toll free phone number is provided toward that end.

I'm already planning the outfit I'll dress our Chaya in for the seder. I want our children and grandchildren to admire her beauty and for her to enjoy the joyful sounds of her extended family

I suppose the readers of La'inyan would consider that crazy.


  1. There are no words to say how disgusting this is. I cannot understand the reasoning behind this or how these people can be considered role models.

  2. Nor can I. I also wonder, where's the bar for allowing their children to join the family seder: Does a C- in reading land a child at the "special seder"?