Monday, January 25, 2021

(Courtesy of St. Mary’s General Hospital) “I have to be in the hospital on Rosh Hashanah! How am I going to hear shofar? Will the staff know what I need halachically? Can I get kosher food? Will visitors be allowed? Will visitors be able to daven in a minyan?”

“Relax,” says George Matyjewicz, PhD, founder & executive director of Our Kehila1 and community liaison at St. Mary’s General Hospital. “Tell your doctor you need to go to St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, where all of these concerns are resolved by the hospital and the kehila. All you now have to concern yourself with is what kosher food should you order! Let’s look at how this will all work.”


Each year Our Kehila organizes men who will blow the shofar (Baalei Tokea) for the homebound, which this year will be many. Last year they had 25 men available and this year it will be more. They will come to the hospital to blow for you, and the staff is aware of this requirement.

Staff Education


The staff at St. Mary’s General have all been educated by George Matyjewicz in a program entitled “Understanding Judaism—The Professional’s Guide in a Hospital Environment,” based on material prepared by the New Jersey Chaplain’s Association and other sources. Education covered issues that a professional will encounter when dealing with the frum community and showed actual real-world examples of what patients and visitors encountered in a hospital on Shabbos and Yom Tov.

Most importantly, staff know that if a patient asks a question and they do not know the answer they are to contact the community liaison or the rabbi at the hospital, which they have done on a number of occasions.

Kosher Food

The dietary staff are aware of the kosher food requirements and will accommodate your needs. They have pre-packaged kosher food available and are also serviced by The Main Ingredient, a local kosher restaurant that will prepare and deliver kosher meals, selected by you from a menu. The restaurant is under the Passaic-Clifton kashrut rabbinical supervision.


Visitors coming to the hospital on Shabbos or Yom Tov can enter through the special Shabbos door located to the right of the main entrance, which will bypass all electronics. They can follow the Shabbos path or take the Shabbos elevator to your room. And they can stay overnight in the Bikur Cholim-supplied Shabbos room. With over 30 shuls in the community all within two-and-a-half miles of the hospital, your guests are sure to find a minyan. If urgent, we can round up 10 men who will walk to the hospital for a minyan for you.

So, relax and l'shanah tovah tikatevu ve techatemu (לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תִכָּתֵבוּ וְתֵּחָתֵמוּ)—may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz at [email protected]


St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! A center of excellence for maternal-child care, 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 more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients 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.