Community Leaders Welcome New Jewish Hospital Rabbi and Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Endowed Chair

Community leaders, KentuckyOne Health leadership and board members joined together at a reception Thursday, November 14, to welcome formally Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky, vice president of mission for Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center and Ranen Omer-Sherman, PhD., University of Louisville Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies.

It was also an opportunity to celebrate the history of Jewish Hospital by presenting two new panels to the hospital’s history wall that presents highlights spanning over 100 years. During the evening, leaders also presented the “Eternal Light,” newly commissioned art for the chapel at Jewish Hospital.

The event, co-hosted by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE) and KentuckyOne Health, also highlighted the many gifts of community members and organizations that brought recent advancements to Jewish Hospital. Important events were added to the history wall and included:

• The latest advances in implantation of ventricular assist devices (VADs) thanks to the leadership of Dr. Mark Slaughter.
• The adult cardiac stem cell research in treatment of heart disease being conducted by Dr. Roberto Bolli and generously funded by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.
• Kentucky’s first double hand transplant performed at Jewish Hospital by surgeons from Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center and Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery as part of the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft program.
• Transplant surgeons, Dr. Michael Marvin and Dr. Mary Eng and the Trager Transplant Center at Jewish Hospital helped make medical history as part of the first international paired kidney donor exchange in America.
• Kentucky’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure—a groundbreaking procedure that is a lifesaving option for people in need of valve replacement who could not undergo open heart surgery.
• Jewish Hospital’s new hybrid operating room, which combines a full traditional operating room, with a full heart catherization lab, plus a high-end imaging system, which allows for ultrasound, 2D and 3D images during endovascular procedures and other procedures. The room is also equipped with leading edge robotic-supported imaging systems.
• The KentuckyOne Health merger and partnership with University of Louisville Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.
“Jewish Hospital has and continues to be blessed by the gifts of many kind people and organizations,” said Joe Gilene, president of Jewish Hospital and downtown Louisville market leader at KentuckyOne Health. “Whether it be gifts of comfort, such as the eternal light, financial gifts, or the gift of time, our staff, physicians and most importantly, our patients benefit from these acts of kindness.”

Ruth Brinkley, CEO, KentuckyOne Health also highlighted some of the innovations to come thanks to support from the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation. These innovations include the renovation of the Jewish Hospital emergency department, a $5.3 million investment; construction of a $1.2 million helipad; and $2.1 million in renovations for Jewish Hospitals cath and EP labs.

“The Foundation’s support is filling critical needs for our hospital and putting the latest lifesaving technology in the hands of our staff and physicians, all of which benefit our patients and their health outcomes,” said Brinkley.

“It was an evening that I will remember for a long time,” said Sandra Hammond, Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence board chair. “The past leadership of the former Jewish Hospital boards and the current leadership of the Jewish community gathered to celebrate the dedication of the eternal light in a beautiful setting. JHFE was proud to partner with KentuckyOne Health to sponsor the reception. The leadership of JHFE values our strong relationship with KentuckyOne and intend to work together to improve the quality of health care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

During the evening, Rabbi Dr. Siritsky led a brief dedication ceremony for the eternal light crafted by local artist Craig Kaviar. “Tonight, as we gather together, leaders from our hospital and our Jewish community, we celebrate, not only this beautiful artistic representation of the Eternal Light (in Hebrew, Ner Tamid), for our Jewish chapel at Jewish Hospital, but also the symbolic light and hope that is being ignited here today,” she said.

“What a blessing to have rabbis and cantors and representatives from all of our congregations, coming together in song and prayer,” she continued. “It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the flame burns brightly at our Jewish Hospital. The Eternal Light that we sanctify today represents the light that we pray will shine upon this hospital, and all of its patients, families, staff and community. It represents the spiritual light which guides our efforts to do tikkun olam (repair of the world) throughout Louisville and Kentucky – our commitment to bring wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.”

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