Jewish Hospital story compared to Chanukah miracle

Rabbi Nadia Siritsky

The story of Jewish Hospital and its partner, Frazier Rehab Institute, is one of transforming dreams into reality.
It is the story of hope realized and dreams fulfilled, even when everyone else says it is impossible.
The Frazier story started in 1929, when Amelia Brown Frazier was in a car accident, and she had to travel to New York City to receive care, because it was not available here in Louisville.
Similarly, the reality of cutting-edge world-class care, accessible to all people – provided by all people – regardless of religion, race or national origin, seemed impossible for Jewish Louisvillians 150 years ago.
And yet, here we are in 2018. Jewish Hospital and Frazier Rehab continue to provide the most advanced medical care and rehabilitative services in the region, giving hope to thousands of patients.
In recent months, we have seen some poorly informed naysayers question Jewish Hospital’s path forward. But giving up is not the Jewish way. We are the people whose national anthem is Hatikvah (The Hope). Once again, we are being asked to prove how a little leap of hope and faith can lead to outcomes that exceed our expectations.
This story of Jewish Hospital reminds me of how a little bit of oil, barely enough to light the Temple in Jerusalem for one day, lasted for eight days, just long enough for more oil to be made. It is this miracle that will be on display in December, in the center of the Abraham Flexner Way Circle, with a large chanukiah, built to honor the family of Janet Lynch, granddaughter of the first female president of Jewish Hospital, who also refused to take “no” for an answer, leading the way for Jewish Hospital to be the first racially integrated hospital in Louisville, while expanding our ICUs and our ability to ensure the most advanced cardiac care available.
This coming month, as the light of the chanukiah shines throughout our campus, it is my prayer that our patients, their families, our staff – the whole community – will see its light and remember how the impossible is possible, if we just have faith.
This reminds me of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, with whom I was blessed to study in Jerusalem, and one of his deeper spiritual lessons:
“When the lowest person in the world was a child, he was dreaming about being the holiest, most glorious person in the world. But something happened. Someone destroyed his dreams, and he gave up on the world.
“It is so easy to lose our dreams. Why? Because nobody really encourages them. If someone can bring me back to the dreams I once had, he is my best friend in the world.
“This is what Chanukah does. This is why Chanukah is the greatest, deepest holiday in the world. On Chanukah, God gives us back our dreams.”
The story of this season, not only for us as Jews, but for our Christian brothers and sisters, is the story of how the impossible is possible, if we can just hold on to faith.
For each of us, in our own lives, let us take this time to reflect upon our own dreams and hopes. Have some of them been trampled upon by the harsh realities of life? What dreams have we given up on? What dreams have we lost courage to fight for?
This Chanukah, let us kindle light and reignite our commitment to make our dreams come true. Let us kindle light and reignite the dreams of those around us. This Chanukah, let us face whatever darkness we encounter with a pledge to be light.

(Rabbi Nadia Siritsky is vice president of mission at KentuckyOne Health.)

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