St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway celebrated the opening of its new kosher respite room on Sunday, Oct. 28. The first floor space, run by the Lawrence-based Achiezer Community Resource Center, offers the familes of patients a quiet retreat where a selection of kosher foods is available 24/7.
The food is stocked by Gourmet Glatt, which also supplies a respite room at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre.
“When people end up in the hospital, whether on Shabbos or a regular day, no matter what, it’s never fun,” said Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, president of Achiezer. “But having this room available to the families is a beacon of hope, an oasis that people can escape into.”
“It is our honor to partner with St. John’s Hospital … a vibrant, strong and amazing hospital right here in the heart of the town,” he said.
“As the closest hospital that many families in the Rockaways and Five Towns have access to, it is extremely important that we are able to serve the unique needs of all our patients, including the Jewish community,” said Gerard Walsh, St. John’s chief executive officer. “We are committed to continuing to serve these needs as we make further positive changes throughout the hospital.”
In honor of the victims of the recent Pittsburgh massacre, Rabbi Bender opened the event by reciting tehilim, Psalm 23, in English.
The respite room was dedicated by Mark and Barbara Silber in memory of their parents, Abraham and Sara Silber and Solomon and Rachela Scheiner. Dr. Nathan Rothman, chief of ICU at St. John’s, hung the mezuzah.