Countless members of our community make up the more than 500,000 people each year who use the kosher hospitality rooms in twenty hospitals in Manhattan,
New Jersey, and the entire region. From major hospitals like Mt. Sinai, Columbia, Cornell, and Sloan Kettering, to hospitals like Good Sam in Rockland County and Catskill Regional — Harris Hospital, these kosher hospitality rooms are founded, maintained, and supplied by an organization called Chesed 24/7.
We are very proud to announce that our own Max Anteby has been named Chief Executive Officer of Chesed 24/7 and will be responsible for the overall operations and finance of this most highly respected organization. In explaining his motivation for assuming this very challenging role, Max said: “Aside from Sephardic Bikur Holim, I cannot think of any other organization that has helped so many people in their times of need. I am proud to be part of the staff and hundreds of volunteers who have been there to help millions of our people over the years.”
In addition to providing coffee, snacks, sandwiches,cooked food, and sefarim, the rooms become centers for tehillimand prayers, with minyanimoften coalescing and forming as conditions permit. Even weddings have taken place in these special rooms, as the bride and groom seek to include beloved relatives who have taken ill and otherwise could not participate. Serving the entire Jewish community, the rooms bring together Jews of different backgrounds and levels of religious observance. All Jews are welcome, as people from all over the world and the USA come to the major Manhattan hospitals for treatments. The rooms become a place where family members and caregivers can gain strength from one another in the especially challenging times of illness. These rooms provide space for family members to unwind, relax, and re-energize for what might be an extended stay for a family member or loved one.
The rooms are open literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year, including Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. On Pesach the rooms are cleaned and koshered and full-fledged sedersare open to one and all. On Rosh Hashanah every room has a shofar, and on Sukkot, lulavimand etrogimare available for everyone. The famous sukkah at Mt. Sinai is built every year by Chesed 24/7, and on Simhat Torah, patients, family, and friends join for hakafot, which are perhaps among the most emotionally meaningful celebrated anywhere. Shabbat and
holiday meals are provided as well, with complete facilities for refrigerating and warming meals. All of this is provided at no charge, despite the obvious challenges that this huge effort entails.
Members of our community have been intimately involved in supporting the work of Chesed 24/7. In 2015, Mrs. Debbie Gindi dedicated the kosher hospitality room at Cornell Medical in memory of her beloved husband, Jack Gindi, a”h, and in November of 2016 Mrs. Pauline Cohen and her daughters dedicated the room at Sloan Kettering. The “Circle of Friends,” which includes many prominent members of our community, dedicated the Chesed 24/7 kosher hospitality room at Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital in 2016. Thus our community, which has always been a leader in hesed, continues to lead the way in helping to provide a critical resource for all Jews.
In addition to the hospitality rooms, Chesedalso provides patient liaisons at Mt. Sinai, Columbia, and Cornell as well as serving more than 25,000 patient meals each year. Shabbat meals are accompanied by the famous Chesed 24/7 “Shabbat-in-a-Box,” which contains everything a female patient or family member needs to welcome in Shabbat. Hospitals have very strict rules about lighting any sort of fire on hospital premises. Shabbat candles are thus a problem – but, in addition to the grape juice, wine cup, table cloth, and head covering, the Shabbat-in-a-Box also includes two electric candles that fulfill the religious requirement, and bring much solace and comfort to patients who must be in the hospital on Shabbat to comfort a family member or even to welcome a new baby.
For further information or to make a donation, please
visit their website at chesed247.orgor contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.