Daily Israel Report

Jerusalem's 'Medical' Prep for Passover: Remove the Chametz!

The world's holiest Jewish city spent the entire week removing “chametz” to prepare for the holiday of Passover – even in the hospitals.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/5/2012, 10:40 PM

Chametz - a secret weapon on Passover
Chametz - a secret weapon on Passover
Israel news photo: Hana Levi Julian

Security guards at Jerusalem hospitals have had at least one more thing to be wary of this week, as Passover preparations reach the final stretch: chametz!

The world's holiest Jewish city has spent the entire week removing the leavening in preparation for the holiday celebrating the flight of the People of Israel from Egypt that ultimately gave birth to a new nation. The city's hospitals have been busy with preparations as well.

At Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, the entire complex has been scrubbed from top to bottom, with rabbinic supervision watching closely.

In restaurants and food courts at the mall attached to the hospital, similar procedures have taken place. At least two bakeries have already transformed their sugary wares into delectable “kosher for Passover” specialties that beckon to passersby. Several restaurants have come up with creative “kosher for Passover” menus as well.

All leavening has been removed from the hospital – not one speck of bread remains in the medical center. The institution's security guards ban visitors from bringing in any bag or parcel that contains any form of chametz – and they check bags to make sure.

This week, chametz is considered every bit as dangerous as any chafetz chashud (suspicious package) that might contain a bomb.

Any bag containing chametz is confiscated at the entrance. It is held on a special shelf until the visitor chooses to retrieve the package on his or her way out of the building, or if not, it is carefully disposed of at the end of the day.