When I think about what it means to live a Jewish life, I think of the word “halachah.” While this is translated as Jewish law, the word is related to the Hebrew verb “to walk.” The rabbis teach that what we do, and how we do it, matters deeply.
Fundamentally, halachah is a question of integrity. Do we journey through this world in such a way as to make G!d’s Presence visible? Integrity is one of our core values at KentuckyOne Health. We define it as “doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason.”
Halachah guides how we live in this world and whether or not it is “kosher.” The word “kosher” technically refers to our complex rules of eating and food preparation, which is grounded in the Torah. However, several years ago, Rabbi Arthur Waskow asked: What if this term came to also refer to “a broader sense of ‘good practice’ in everyday life that draws on the deep well-springs of Jewish wisdom and tradition about the relationships between human beings and the earth?”
Whether we call it halachah, kashrut or integrity, this is what G!d demands of all of us. Jewish Hospital has embraced this mandate, and is working to translate this Torah into action, every day. This core value connects our living Jewish values to the Catholic and academic heritages that are also a part of our proudly diverse KentuckyOne Health family. We share a commitment to service, which in Judaism we call “tikkun olam” – the healing of the world.
At Jewish Hospital, our commitment to kashrut is not only metaphorical. We are partnering with the Louisville Vaad Hakashruth to expand the Kosher certified food options available to the Louisville community. We are expanding our kosher meal offerings and will be serving these in our Chestnut Café, providing food, not only for patients who request it, but also for staff, family members and the general public.
This expansion of kosher food options, along with our extensive Judaica selections in our hospital gift shop and our celebration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays, are just a few of the many ways that Jewish Hospital has been working to renew and reaffirm its proud Jewish identity and heritage.
Jewish Hospital has always striven to be a safe and healing environment for all people, pioneering racially and religiously integrated care in this community, and embodying the justice principles that are at the core of our faith. Therefore, I am proud that, alongside the expanded kosher food options that we are beginning to provide, we are also able to be a leader in serving the religious diversity of all of our patients, staff and families, by ensuring that we have halal food available as well.
We know, only too well, how important it is to have our religious values and halachic needs respected. The Torah commands us, again and again, that we should remember our experience as strangers in Egypt, and that it should inform how we treat those around us.
Rabbi Hillel taught: “What is hateful to you, do not do to any other. This is the whole Torah.” As we renew and strengthen our Jewish identity at Jewish Hospital, it is very important to me that we do so in a way that respects all of G!d’s children.
May the peace, reverence and healing that we seek to create here be one that expands to our whole community and our whole world. May every act of tikkun bring peace from on high, until our whole world can experience peace and feel respected.