The Seder night of 2002 was different than all other nights. On this night, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the dining room of the Park Hotel in Netanya, killing 30 people and wounding 160.
On this tragic Seder night, the Nava initiative to host a joint Seder for bereaved families was born. We believe that coming together in unity is a Jewish response of love and mutual responsibility. It proves more than anything else that Am Yisrael Chai - the Jewish people lives on, and that our spirit of freedom cannot be extinguished.
Over the years, the organization expanded the participation at the Seder to include various types of bereaved families who experienced the tragic death of one of their family members.
On the Seder night, families from all over the world come together and gather around the Seder table. Sitting opposite that empty chair is an emotionally difficult experience that feels almost impossible, especially during the period right after the tragedy has occurred. We understand the pain of those family members who lost someone dear to them, the pain of bereaved parents and siblings, the sinking feeling in the hearts of widows and orphans who feel the absence of their father, the leader of the Seder, so sharply on this night. The void is extremely difficult and the pain and longing are intense.
In 2004, the tradition of the joint Seder nights for bereaved families was launched. The Seder takes place at a hotel, and the accommodations include three days and two nights. A wide range of activities are offered by leading professionals in an embracing, understanding atmosphere. To date, about 3,600 bereaved family members have participated in these Seders.
The joint Seder is a powerful experience, because it enables these families to forget about stressful holiday preparations, knowing that Navah is taking full responsibility for the arrangements and content. When these families sit around the Seder table together, the result is a supportive group with whom they can share memories and feelings of longing, and feel strengthened by people who share similar life experiences. Often, the encounter between the families is the start of a new friendship that lasts for many years to come.
The Seder is meant for nuclear families who lost a family member as a result of a war, terrorist attack or tragedy of sudden death. Families who experienced such a loss during the past three years are invited to spend the holiday with us, and are subsidized by the organization.