New hospital resource for Shabbat observers

New hospital resource for Shabbat observers

Saddle River resident Ed Ruzinsky has been involved with Holy Name Hospital since 1990, when he was asked by the Jewish federation’s executive director Jim Young to serve on the hospital board.

"They were looking for more representation from the Jewish community," said Ruzinsky.

From left, Holy Name CEO Michael Maron; Rabbi Benjamin Shull, religious leader of Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake; and Enid and Ed Ruzinsky at the dedication of the hospital’s Sabbath Room. photo by jerry szubin

Now he remains involved "as a labor of love," said Ruzinsky, who recently dedicated the hospital’s new Shabbat room.

Ruzinsky, who served as chair of the hospital board from 199′ to1996, and then again from 1998 to 1999, pointed out that he endowed a room at Holy Name several years ago. It is that room that has become the Shabbat room.

"It’s really two rooms," he said. "There’s a bedroom and bathroom that looks like a hotel room," as well as an adjacent sitting room with cooking facilities. The microwave, he pointed out, was donated by Chopstix, a kosher Chinese restaurant in Teaneck. The room also includes a refrigerator/freezer.

The Shabbat space is for families whose loved ones are in the hospital on Friday night and who can’t travel on Shabbat. "We’ve had a Shabbat room for many years," said Deborah Ross, the hospital’s director of clinical information, who also serves as an "unofficial liaison between the Jewish community and the hospital."

Ross pointed out that for the past 10 years, the facility maintained a "bare bones" sabbath room in the hospital’s School of Nursing.

"There’s more demand now," she said, "since more people are coming from farther away." According to Ross, the new room is on the first floor of the main hospital building and is "easily accessible."

A member of Cong. Beth Aaron in Teaneck, Ross said the Shabbat bedroom will accommodate two people and will be maintained by the security staff and nursing supervisors. The sitting room has a sofa, table, and chairs.

"We’ll be approaching kosher food vendors to keep [the refrigerator] supplied," she said.

Ross noted that the hospital "always bends over backwards" to accommodate the needs of different cultural groups, "offering caring, not just care." She pointed out that several Jewish chaplains are on call and that holiday services are televised on the hospital channel. In addition, she said, volunteers visit the hospital to blow shofar for Jewish patients on Rosh HaShanah and to bring a lulav and etrog on Sukkot.

A bikkur cholim group, which performs the mitzvah of visiting the sick, "began here at least ‘5 years ago" for Shabbat, said Ross, noting that her husband, Michael, started the program and still coordinates the volunteer rotation. She also cited Teaneck resident Arlene Eis, who arranges volunteer visits on weekdays.

"One of our doctors has just begun a weekday mincha minyan," she added, pointing out that several library areas in the hospital contain books of Jewish interest, including prayer books.

"The hospital has been enormously responsive and receptive to the needs of ethnic communities" in the area, said Ruzinsky, pointing out that three years ago, Holy Name hosted a conference on Jewish genetic diseases, drawing some 300 people.

"This reinforced the partnership between the Jewish community and the hospital," he said, adding that in March, Jewish Family Service of Bergen County will sponsor a conference at the hospital that will center on security and feature a guest speaker from Israel.

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