HomeActivities of Mishan L'CholehParties for Hospital Patients

Parties for Hospital Patients

 

Mishan LaCholeh volunteers do everything in their power to bring the joy of the holidays to those places and people who are so far removed from it. Groups of volunteers visit the various wards in the hospitals, walk from room to room and bring light and joy to the patients with exciting holiday parties; parties which offer them the strength for the difficult days still ahead.  

 

"It can't be Purim now!" an eight-year-old girl stares up at her mother in shock. Really, what kind of Purim is it if the nurses wake her up just like every other morning to check her fever and oxygen saturation and blood pressure? If they serve the same breakfast on the same blue plastic tray with the distinct hospital smell, and if the doctors' rounds will begin in fifteen minutes, just like every other day?

 

What a Purim. And what a Chanuka. And what a Pesach. And what a Simchat Torah.

 

In the hospital, the days stand still and the yearly calendar becomes meaningless. The pulse of life beats differently in the hospital; heavier, sadder. In the outside world, families sit down to their holiday meals around elegantly set tables. In the outside world, costume-clad children dance through the streets. Yet inside the hospital? Inside the hospital only loneliness and pain and suffering are served, just like every other day.

 

 Mishan LaCholeh's volunteers provide hospital patients with moments of joy and elation in the true spirit of the holiday

All this is true until Mishan LaCholeh's volunteers enter the picture. They leave behind homes filled with a warm, festive atmosphere, and wave goodbye to their healthy families. Of their own accord, they enter the gates of this other world – the hospital. "Hannukah!" the jubilant sound fills the wards along with the fresh, jelly-filled donuts and the notes of the Maoz Tzur song. "Purim!" announce smiling clowns, bringing the joy of Purim with them into the ward and dispersing the clouds of gloom pressing over the white beds. A party for Tu-Bishvat! And another one for Shavuot! Happy music chases the pain and fears away for the moment. Thin children clap their hands in joy, joining in the singing.  

 

They prepare a bouquet of flowers for Shavuot, or receive a basket of fruits in honor of Tu Bishvat, a donut and a dreidel (top) on Hannukah and mishloach manot (basket of food/sweets) and hamentashen (special triangular jelly-filled Purim cookies) on Purim.

 

Very soon, the doctor or nurse or orderly will come again and whisk them away to another difficult examination. Yet in the meantime, Mishan LaCholeh provides them with happy, elated moments of holiday joy. Nobody is sending them home any time soon, and the parties at their schools are something they can only dream of longingly, and yet there are people who are making the effort to bring them a bit of that light into the wards too.

 

At Mishan LaCholeh, it is an old tradition already. Groups of volunteers visit all the hospitals in the Jerusalem area, including the most difficult and painful wards, and do all they can to bring the joy and happiness of the holiday to the patients. "It is the way we celebrate our holiday," they say simply, "bringing the holiday to others, too!"