Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, Is Like Valentine’s Day

Jewish Hospital is preparing to celebrate Tu B’Av for the very first time. This little known holiday, which falls on the evening of July 30 is often compared to Valentine’s Day, is a chance to celebrate love. The Babylonian Talmud (Taanit 30b) states that this is one of the happiest days of the calendar. This was the traditional start of the grape harvest, and women and girls used to go out into the vineyards, dressed in white, dancing and celebrating.

There are many rabbinic legends attributed to this holiday. The Talmud relates that, on this date, the members of the tribe of Benjamin were allowed to marry those from other tribes, and the daughters of Zelophehad advocated for a change in law so that female orphans were able to not only inherit, but to marry beyond their own tribe. These stories highlight the triumphant power of love, and led to the establishment of a broader Jewish celebration of love on the 15th (Tu) of the month of Av.

At Jewish Hospital, we have hearts that are filling our cafeteria, as part of our celebration of this special day. In Hebrew, the word “lev” translates to both heart and mind, and indeed, the Torah has always held that these are interrelated. Indeed, when it comes to cardiovascular health, it is clear that each impacts the other. The American Heart Association (AHA) focuses on raising resources to defeat not only heart disease but also stroke and other related cardiovascular diseases.

For Jewish Hospital, rated the number one heart hospital in the state, the opportunity to celebrate Tu B’Av is an opportunity to raise awareness around heart health as well as to celebrate its cutting edge cardiac care, including its recent 200th TAVR procedure, a transcatheter aortic-valve replacement, which is a revolutionary and minimally invasive heart procedure for patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Jewish Hospital, along with University of Louisville Hospital, the state’s first Joint-Commission certified comprehensive stroke center, have utilized Tu B’Av as an opportunity to partner with the AHA in anticipation of its upcoming heart walk.

The AHA’s campaign asks every person to think about their “why” – what personal story connects them to the need to improve heart health awareness. Given that heart disease and stroke are among the top five causes for mortality in the nation, and given that Kentucky leads the nation in this statistic, we have more “whys” than we would like. Every year, in Louisville, there are an estimated 750 cardiac arrests. Only 10 percent of those people survive.

At KentuckyOne Health, we are committed to improving heart health, in order to save lives and bring wellness to our community. In addition to our recently launched “Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease™”, in the past year, staff at Jewish Hospital provided education and screening about heart health and chest pain to approximately 600 residents of Louisville.

KentuckyOne Health also provided funding and support to the Start The Heart Foundation’s project to provide free training in hands-only CPR to ninth grade students in Jefferson County. In Jefferson County, only 25 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR. Research indicates that if a person receives bystander CPR, this can triple the chance of surviving the event. This is just one way that we hope to improve the outcomes for all of us.

Support for these heart healthy projects is just one of the many ways that KentuckyOne Health lives out its mission to provide wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved.

May this year’s Tu B’Av bring healing to the hearts and minds of us all.

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