The Shmooze

Calvary Hospital Boasts A Rescued World War II Torah

By Masha Leon

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“Most men need one woman to keep ‘em straight — I need four — and these are all nurses, Dr. Mark Kris, an honoree at the 31st Annual Calvary Hospital Gala, told the 400 black tie guests at The Pierre.

The lead physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering — IBM Watson Collaboration Attending Physician Memorial Hospital, recipient of the Annie Blount Stores Award said, “Those of you in healthcare know who is the ‘Crazy Glue’ — the nurses— and I stand here today to a great degree because of them.”

Frank Calamari, President & CEO Calvary Hospital, its Chairman of the Board Dr. “Thomas Fahey, Jr., and Calvary Fund Chairman of the Board and a past honoree Steven Golub — extolled Calvary’s unwavering tradition of loving care of its patients. A film video showcased the tender treatment of 93-year old Trina Kruger who had taken up ceramics while at Calvary. During dinner, her daughter, Sandy Reiburn, a past buyer in the garment arena, showed me a stunning one-of-a-kind pocketbook her mother had constructed of designer labels.

Karen Leon
Steven Golub

Barbara Nitzberg, Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations at Calvary, told me: “We have three Jewish chaplains at Calvary: Rabbi Rachmiel Rothberger, Rabbi Harold Stern, and Rabbi M.Ed. Shmuel Zuckerman.

During my post-gala chat with Rabbi Stern, he touted Calvary’s remarkable consideration for Jewish patients and their families. “We accommodate all streams, from Williamsburg to Vishnitz — all feel comfortable here. Before a Jewish patient is placed in a room we remove the crucifix. …We have a full “Bikur Cholim” Hospitality Suite built by the hospital and supplied 24/7 by [Muncie} Satmar. Across we have a place where families can stay over shabbos or Yom Tov. We have an arrangement with Albert Einstein Hospital…. we are part of a local Eruv of Mosholu Parkway… Out of some 200 patients, 13% of the population will be Jewish.”

“Here’s an interesting story,” added the rabbi. “ We have a Sefer Torah originally from Poland which we bring out to the patients at Simchat Torah. It was among many Torahs stolen by Hitler from towns that no longer exist and distributed around the world. Two years ago we brought it to a patient who was flat on his back. Rabbi Rabinowitz told the patient where the Torah came from and the patient suddenly sat up in bed! ‘I come from that town!’ he exclaimed. ‘I was bar mizvah’ed with that Torah!’ Then he read his parsha — of all places — at Calvary [under the aegis] of the Archdiocese.”

The only fully accredited acute care specialty hospital for advanced cancer patients in the United States that serves people of all faiths, traditions and regardless of ability to pay,” the journal program informs: “[Calvary] has been recognized for eight years with awards…for consistent rankings in the top one percent of the country’s hospitals.” In 2013 Calvary cared for more than 5,800 patients and families in their in-patient, outpatient, hospice, home care and Center for Curative and Palliative Wound Care. This summer Calvary will open the 10- bed Dawn Greene Hospice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.


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