March 28, 2010
A seder gets cut from retirement facility for Hollywood vets
While L.A. Jews are busy cleaning out their chametz, residents of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Woodland Hills Retirement Community are battling for their right to have a second Passover seder.
Sharon Waxman, editor of TheWrap.com, emailed this weekend with news of this disturbing story, which some are calling a denial of religious freedom. According to The Wrap, the MPTF has traditionally hosted two seders, one on campus, for long-term care residents with less mobility and another at a separate location open to all residents. But this year, MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher announced that there weren’t enough Jews in long-term care to warrant a second seder in that location and moved to consolidate to a single campus-wide event.
Some see this move as one in a long chain of events that indicate major changes afoot for the MPTF. For months, it has been said that the MPTF plans to close their hospital and nursing home due to a $10 million budget shortfall.
Tensions rose to a boiling point last January when former CEO David Tillman was forced to resign after a tax return revealed that he was receiving almost $1 million in compensation as the facility struggled with insolvency. Soon after, Beitcher replaced him and set in motion controversial plans to phase out the hospital and long-term care facility.
This would be a sad day for Charlie Chaplin, who helped found the MPTF in 1921 along with Hollywood luminaries Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. Long before the era of Obamacare, those stars saw a need to take care of industry brethren who fell on hard times. Since then, the MPTF has become an industry provider of healthcare, child care, residential living and long-term care for the elderly.
It’s understandable that the current economic climate is forcing the institution to make serious and hard changes—Jewish non-profits all over the country have had to scale back on essential services in order to continue operating. But cutting a small seder that brings joy and convenience to elderly Jews in the sunset of their lives? Come on.
Read more about the Passover scandal at TheWrap.com: