(Wynnewood, PA) – Lankenau Medical Center (LMC), part of Main Line Health, recently held a dedication of its Shabbat Suite, which was attended by community members, hospital administrators, physicians and staff. Lankenau Medical Center is located within a populous Jewish community in the western suburbs where the need is great for Jewish families to be able to observe Shabbat, religious holidays and Jewish religious law while their loved ones are in the hospital.
The suite was designed to help patients’ families adhere to specific activities that Orthodox and other observant Jews refrain from during the Sabbath, which includes driving and cooking. The suite has two sleeping rooms, each with a private bathroom, which allows family members to stay near their loved one in the hospital on the Sabbath, which starts at sundown on Friday and ends at nightfall on Saturday. The new suite also has a kosher pantry and kitchen accommodations. Both the sleeping accommodations and kosher pantry are also available during religious holidays and during other patient stays.
“The dedication of this special suite would not have been possible without the efforts of Lankenau physician leadership and our partners in the Jewish community whose coordinated efforts have created a special place for patient families to observe Shabbat while their loved ones are hospitalized,” said Phil Robinson, President, Lankenau Medical Center. “The Shabbat Suite is one example of our commitment to delivering a personalized experience to all who entrust their care here.”
The Bikur Cholim Reception Area was dedicated in memory of David E. Epstein, MD, an esteemed former Lankenau Medical Center physician who passed away in 2010. In a drive spearheaded by Rebetzin Choni Levene of Lower Merion Synagogue, where Dr. Epstein and his wife Cheryl worshipped, its members donated close to $50,000, and his family made a special gift of $25,000 in his memory. Stephen M. Gollomp, MD, Lankenau Medical Center Neurology, and his wife Randie, dedicated the Prayer Room in memory of his parents, Renee and Bernard Gollomp. Over 25 Lankenau physicians committed to gifts of $1,800 or more in support of the Shabbat Suite.
Those involved in leading the effort include Elliot B. Friedman, MD, Lankenau Medical Center Pulmonary Diseases; Dr. Gollomp; Barry D. Mann, MD, MLH Chief Academic Officer; William D. Surkis, MD, Lankenau Medical Center Internal Medicine; and Eric Bondarsky, MD, Lankenau Medical Center Medicine Resident.
The Bikur Cholim (Society for Visiting the Sick) is stocking the pantry with kosher food and other items that families may need. The food is donated, and family members are able to access the locked suite by using a keypad with instructions in Hebrew. Lankenau Medical Center provides kosher food for patients who request it, and kosher food is available in the cafeteria during the day. The pantry offers another option for families.
The Shabbat Suite is just one of the initiatives at Lankenau Medical Center to respect and honor the rich diversity tapestry that comprises the community. The current meditation room is being refurbished to provide an ecumenical space for all faiths. It will include cabinets with articles of religious faiths, including crucifixes, rosary beads and prayer rugs. The room is available to patients, family members and employees.
(From left) Rabbi Avraham Shmidman, Lower Merion Synagogue delivered the invocation; Stephen M. Gollomp, MD, who with his wife, Randie, dedicated the Prayer Room in memory of his parents, Renee and Bernard Gollomp; Phil Robinson, Lankenau President; Rabbi Abraham Levene, Rabbi Emeritus of Lower Merion Synagogue, who paid tribute to David E. Epstein, MD, in whose memory the Bikur Cholim Reception Area was dedicated; Daniel Epstein, son of Dr. Epstein. Note: Dr. Epstein’s widow, Cheryl, spoke on behalf of the family.
(From left) Standing before the plaque in her husband’s memory, Cheryl R. Epstein, widow of Dr. David Epstein and special donor to the dedication of the Bikur Cholim Reception Area in his memory; Tamar Epstein, daughter of David and Cheryl; and Suri Rabinovici, mother of Cheryl R. Epstein.
(Third from left) Phil Robinson, LMC President, and (fourth from left) Rabbi Avraham Shmiodman of Lower Merion Synagogue, celebrate the Shabbat Suite dedication with LMC physicians who led the campaign among their colleagues to secure commitments of $1,800 and over (from left) Dr. Eric Bondarsky, Dr. Stephen M. Gollomp, Dr. Eliot B. Friedman and Dr. William D. Surkis. Not pictured is Dr. Barry Mann, who was also active with the campaign.