This year, Jewish Hospital was blessed with multiple opportunities to celebrate Chanukah. On December 3, we received a visit from a group of students from Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad. As they learned about Chanukah and its celebration of light and miracles, they came to visit our hospital where healthcare workers make miracles happen every day, and in the process, they ignited light and hope in our staff.
They made beautiful art projects, including a beautiful hospital-appropriate flameless menorah, with the words: “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Like the miracles of Hanukkah, you shine Light into the dark.”
They were greeted by Jewish Hospital senior leaders, including President Joe Gilene, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg and Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Shawn O’Connor and myself. We visited several nursing units, and the students personally shared their gifts with the staff, who were deeply touched by this warm embrace from the Jewish community.
In addition to these wonderful Chanukah decorations made with love by the children of our community, Jewish Hospital lit a new menorah downtown in the center of Abraham Flexner Way, that was generously donated by Janet Lynch in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H Greenstein and Mr. and Mrs. S. Arnold Lynch. For its Chanukah reception, as well as the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Major Annual Gifts Dinner, a beautiful menorah was kindled that was generously given to Jewish Hospital by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.
We also proudly displayed a menorah that highlighted some of the many miracles that occurred this past year, including the opening at Jewish Hospital of a neurosurgical hybrid OR (operating room) with intraoperative CT technology, the opening of the Jack M. and Janis B. Klempner Family Helipad, KentuckyOne Health’s recognition for outstanding organ and tissue donation practices, as well as our being the first in Louisville to use GPS technology to correct heart rhythm problems. We are grateful for yet another “first” in our long and proud history of “firsts!”
One exciting first was our Chanukah party, co-hosted by the Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Foundation, as well as the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and the Louisville Vaad Hakashruth. We were grateful to have clergy and choirs from The Temple, Adath Jeshurun, Knesseth Israel and Temple Shalom present, as well as the opportunity to thank Janet Lynch for her generous donation of two beautiful stained glass windows for the chapel, in loving memory of her parents.
At Jewish Medical Center East, the traditional lighting of the Fox Family Chanukah Menorah was done to honor the memory of Hilda Fox, head nurse at Jewish Hospital for many years prior to her death on the fourth night of Chanukah in 1956. For 61 years, this has been a tradition with the Fox Family. Today, the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren of the family carry on their Chanukah tradition by gathering together, along with myself, President Shelley Neal Shaughnessy and Director of Operations June Waiz, among others.
The Festival of Lights that we call Chanukah commemorates the story of how a little bit of oil – only enough for one day – lasted instead for eight days, thanks to the dedication and faith of the Maccabees. It is a reminder that miracles are possible when we come together in a spirit of collaboration and faith, and that a flicker of light and hope can overcome even the darkest bouts of despair.
This year, Jewish Hospital proudly brought this metaphor to life in a new way, joining together with the Louisville Jewish Community to celebrate the miracles that are possible when we come together.