The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, a professional Rabbinical Organization with a membership of over 950 Orthodox Rabbis — notes with concern the recent decision by NYU Langone Health and NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn to prevent outside volunteers from entering patient rooms. For thousands of years, Jews have organized groups to visit sick individuals and offer them material and spiritual sustenance. These services are part of a long religious tradition that bring joy and comfort to the sick, no small matter in the healing process. Jewish patients expect these religious visits and are disappointed when they do not receive them. In the New York area, legendary Jewish volunteer organizations have worked tirelessly for decades in hospitals — including NYU’s hospitals — enhancing the patients’ experiences while medical professionals work tirelessly to heal them.
The RAA/Igud HaRabbonim recognizes the hospital’s valid concerns and strongly urges NYU to find accommodations for this religious practice that meets their security requirements without sacrificing patients’ spiritual needs. “NYU has a long and proud history of providing excellent care for patients’ medical and spiritual needs,” said Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive Vice President of the RAA/Igud HaRabbonim. He continued, “We hope they will work with the Jewish community to find a solution that allows this age-old tradition of kindness and brings joy to those who need it the most. It is not only patients whose needs must be met. Visiting family members are often exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed and unable to find necessary food, clothing and religious items. Volunteers with the sensitivity of a shared tradition can help these family members in their time of need. For the sake of the sick and their worried loved ones, we ask NYU to work with us in finding a solution.”