June 21, 2024
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June 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Having Your Baby—Mazel Tov!

(Courtesy of SMGH) Coming soon, the festival of lots—Purim, the day when Haman tried to destroy all the Jews. Adar a perfect month, thought Haman: Every other month on the Jewish calendar had some auspicious date to aid the Jewish people, but in Adar he saw that that Moshe Rabbeinu passed away on the 7th. Haman was so sure that this date would cause misfortune for the Jewish people that he made Adar the deadline for the decree. However, he didn’t know that Moshe was also born on the 7th, and that the joy of a birth is greater than the sadness of mourning!

And on the birth of your baby, we all give the bracha: “Mazel tov! May your son and all your children grow up with a life of Torah, Chuppah and maasim Tovim and may you see nachas from all of your children!” The baby was just born, and we are blessing him/her that he/she has a bar mitzvah, gets married and engages in acts of kindness.

“Understanding the importance of life, and the birth of a baby, St. Mary’s General Hospital has been very accommodating to our frum patients,” said George Matyjewicz, Ph.D., community liaison. “Our fully renovated Maternal-Child Health Center features a Level II Nursery specializing in the delivery and care of high-risk infants born as early as 32 weeks.” And safety is of key concern throughout all of Prime Healthcare hospitals. For the last four years in a row, St. Mary’s General has been the recipient of the Healthgrades™ Five-Star Award (2016–2019) for both vaginal delivery and C-section delivery. In addition, St. Mary’s General was awarded Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award (2018, 2019), making St. Mary’s General one of only six hospitals (out of 113) to receive this distinction in New Jersey.

But that’s not all. We spent many long hours educating the staff in a program entitled “Understanding Judaism: The Professional’s Guide in a Hospital Environment1,” designed to educate staff in dealing with the Orthodox Jewish communities. Department/shift staff members were educated on how to treat patients within the frum community and how to address the four nonmedical main areas of concern while a patient—tznius, kashrus, davening and Shabbat/Yom Tovim.

Sessions that were planned for 90 minutes always escalated into four to five hours, even with staff who came off 12-hour shifts all night! They wanted to fully understand what is niddah; why the husband wasn’t in the room with the patient; why the patient needs a double gown and a cap; why the patient gave money to the doula; why the patient had a prayer book while in labor; why guests can’t take the elevator or come into the front entrance on Shabbat and much more. Patients and their guests can now feel comfortable coming to St. Mary’s General knowing that staff is aware of their needs and restrictions. And if a staff member is in doubt, they know how to seek proper guidance.

Special Requirements

Language Barrier? St. Mary’s provides access to interpreters providing services in 170 different languages and available 24/7. Additionally, we can assist the hard of hearing or deaf, who can choose the type of communication, e.g., ASL, writing of notes, lip reading, etc.

Kosher Food. Nutrition Care Services offers a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of glatt kosher foods, which you can select from a menu. Additionally, Café Maria, located on the hospital’s second floor, provides delicious kosher meals for visitors delivered directly from Main Ingredient in Passaic, under the hashgacha of the Passaic-Clifton Kashrus (PCK).

Shabbat. We understand your obligation for the lighting of Shabbat candles. However, because of fire regulations, candles are not permitted in the hospital. We have made arrangements with Bikur Cholim of Passaic-Clifton for electric Shabbat candles, which are available in your room or for visitors in the Shabbat Room. The Shabbat Room has two twin beds, private bathroom, electric candelabra, siddurim, a table and chairs, a pantry stocked with drinks and snacks, a hot plate, a hot-water urn and a small refrigerator stocked with food supplied by Bikur Cholim. And your guests need not worry about visiting you on Shabbat, as they may enter St. Mary’s General Hospital through a Shabbat door to the right of the main entrance. Once inside, signs for the Sabbath Path are clearly displayed and will guide you throughout the building. There is also a dedicated “Sabbath Elevator” in the main lobby that automatically stops on every floor, running continuously throughout Shabbat and Yom Tovim.

If there are any halachic or special questions, they can be answered by our rabbi or community liaison or our community advisory board. And we can call on any of our 30 shul rabbanim for assistance if necessary.

“The past year, I have fielded questions from patients or family members about the accommodations for our tribe,” said Matyjewicz, the community liaison. “Guests asked where they could get kosher food, just as the food was being delivered to them. Or where can I find a minyan, or light candles? And I am happy to report that no question went unanswered! Where needed, I put the caller in touch with a specialist, whom I appraised of the concerns. I even take pride in extending a bracha to you when your baby is born! So, come on in to St. Mary’s General Hospital, and I will extend a bracha to you!”

St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred—among the top hospitals in America for health, quality, and patient safety! The hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care—to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has won more Patient Safety Excellence Awards for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, Ph.D., community liaison at [email protected].

1 Developed and copyrighted by George Matyjewicz, Ph.D., a Jew by choice, who converted in 2005, and who has been a senior staff member of hospitals for the past 15 years. The program utilizes material developed by the New Jersey Chaplain’s Association’s Cultural Sensitivity Training Program for Shabbat & Yom Tovim, to which he added everyday material that our community lives with that staff need to know.

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