Tuesday, August 11, 2020

(Courtesy of St. Mary’s General Hospital) St. Mary’s General Hospital is right in the eruv of the second-largest Orthodox Jewish (“frum”) community in New Jersey—Passaic Park—and we take pride in providing services and facilities to meet the needs of patients and visitors from this community. Our team members have been working diligently to ensure that your stay with us is both a comfortable and positive one.


In addition to the mandatory staff education programs, the hospital also included a proprietary education program entitled “Understanding Judaism: The Professional’s Guide in a Hospital Environment.” Department/shift staff members were educated on how to treat patients within the frum community and how to address the four non-medical main areas of concern while a patient—tznius, kashrus, davening and Shabbos/Yom Tovim. 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 from whom to seek proper guidance.


The program was developed by George Matyjewicz, PhD, a Jew by choice, having converted in 2005, 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 Shabbos and Yom Tovim,” said Matyjewicz. “To which I added everyday material that our community lives with that staff need to know. As somebody who has lived in both worlds, it is easier for me to educate others. And I can call on our advisory board or any of our 30 shul rabbanim for assistance if necessary.”

Kosher Food

Nutrition Care Services offers a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of glatt kosher foods, which you can select from. 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).

Shabbos Candles

We understand your obligation for hadlakas neiros Shabbos—the lighting of Shabbos 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 Shabbos candles, which are available in your room or for visitors in the Shabbos Room, which Bikur Cholim also stocks with food.


St. Mary’s General works closely with Hatzolah of Passaic/Clifton to assure the safe and immediate transfer of Orthodox Jewish patients to and from the hospital, even on the Shabbos. Our medical staff are trained in respecting Shabbos rules and will work with patients and caregivers effectively to provide the highest level of medical care.

Shabbos Door

On Shabbos and Yom Tovim, patients and visitors may enter St. Mary’s General Hospital through a Shabbos 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 Shabbos and Yom Tovim.

Shabbos Room

St. Mary’s General provides a Shabbos Room to accommodate Orthodox family members during a patient’s stay that includes 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.

Special Requirements

Need help with tefillin? Need local accommodations for family? Need a local minyan for family? You drove your wife to the hospital at 2:00 a.m. on Shabbos to have the baby. Now what? These and any other halachic or special questions can be answered by our rabbi or community liaison or our community advisory board.

We want you to feel comfortable and safe during your stay at St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred, among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country. And we are providing safe care during COVID-19 and always. Visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For questions, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected].