For the past 18 months, volunteers from Congregation Emanuel have been visiting Jewish patients each Friday who are hospitalized at the three area hospitals. “The hospital visitations have been a blessing for both the patients and our volunteers, according to Sharon Zepel, coordinator of Shabbat Blessings. We are looking to train additional volunteers who would like to help out.”
The idea for Shabbat Blessings originated when Sharon was hospitalized in California last year.
“A lady stopped by my hospital room with a box consisting of a Challah, Kosher grape juice, battery operated candles and written prayers. Being away from home and unable to attend services, the “gift” really touched me and I instantly felt connected to my Judaism,” Sharon said. “Returning to Kingston, I thought about providing the same service here. After reaching out to Rabbi Yael, who was supportive I was put in contact with hospital representatives who also endorsed the project.”
Each Friday a call is made to the three area hospitals, Kingston, Benedictine and Northern Duchess. HIPPA laws are respected. The idea is not to pressure people to join our synagogue, but rather the goal of “Shabbat Blessings” is to provide comfort and a connection to Jewish patients who are hospitalized.
A short training will be provided so that volunteers feel comfortable when meeting patients. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Sharon at 619-587-2726.