Chaplaincy Newsletter Update

From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda)Blank, MS, BCC Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim 917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com May 21,2020 There is an old cliché’ behind every husband is his wife. My mantra is my wife is my co-pilot. To me my wife has always been my co-pilot and I attribute anything of value that I have done and continues to do to my Ashis Chayil. I am therefore dedicating this article to her. May Keila Lutza bas Tziporah have a refuah shelaima. She has been my guiding light, my inspiration in so many ways. Just this week she gave me the following and with her permission I am sharing this with you. “When things look blue it helps to remember that tomorrow is another day and will be a brighter day”. We all have our challengers and have mentioned many times about emunah and btachen. But, one of the real challenges is the internal fight of “I know whatever the Aibershta does is for the best”. Yet, emotionally, how can a person face the unknown or the “what will be”and still have that emunah and btachen. Yes, we daven and can cry out to the Aibershta our Hailika Tatte. But as I mentioned in previous articles it is wise to seek the advice and brachos from our mentors, our Gedolim and if need be a counselor whether it be a social worker or a psychologist and of course the support of those who are our loved ones. Through the years, I have been zoche to know Gedolim. worked and collaborated professionally with those in the health and mental health field. In addition to my chaplaincy and other positions, I spearheaded the Manhattan Coalition on Mental Health Issues of the Elderly and was the Executive Director of the Lower Manhattan Health Care Coalition. Perhaps one day, I will share with you why she encouraged me to pursue the reasons I spearheaded and co-chaired the Manhattan Coalition on Mental Health Issues of the Elderly. Recently, I gained much insight from Dr. Norman Blumenthal who is OHEL’s Director of Trauma and Crises Response. I attribute my achievements to the Aibershta, to my co-pilot who continuously inspires me with all her own btachen, emunah and maysim tovim, family, mentors, and many colleagues in the various fields through the years. My wife discourages me from tooting my own horn, so I surely am not going to share any of my other achievements, but to say she gave me as my co-pilot a meaningful flight plan which always includes Torah, Avodah,Gemilus ,Chasadim, kindness and caring for others. Do not look at what was not accomplished, be proud, look at what was accomplished and take it from there. She continues to imbue hope even when hope might seem dismal at times for we trust in the Ribono Shel Olam. “I trust in Your loving kindness, my heart will exult in Your deliverance, I will sing to the Holy One for He has dealt kindly with me”. Psalm 13. 6 It is not uncommon for a person who is experiencing pain or discomfort -physical or otherwise to cry out to the Aibershta “why, what is happening to me, what do you want from me”. It should not be looked at as a lack of faith. We should try to have feelings and understanding what he or she is going through. Are miracles possible, can things change for the better. We hope as chaplains and as rabbis to utilize appropriate words of hope, of meaning, with proper wisdom, compassion, respect, care, and knowledge together with the holy words of our prayers to bring comfort and hope to that person. May all cholim have a refuah shelaima and everyday be filled with much kindness, goodness and comfort. Sincerely, Yehuda Blank Please take the time to read the following important informational flyers from; OHEL Children Home and Family Services TTI= Testing and Training International CAHE= Center for Allied Health Education

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Chaplaincy Commission Update

Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com
April 30 ,2020

I am dedicating this week’s article to Rabbi Mordechai Katz zt”l and Rabbi Shlomo Elozor Wulliger zt”l, both well-known chaplains. Rabbi Motty Katz as most knew him by, was a chaplain at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, NYC. where he was always helping and being mashpiah upon people as was mentioned in a Yated Ne’eman (pg 77 30 Nisan 5780/April 24, 2020) article written by Rabbi Chaim Serebrowski. “He was known to be a walking, talking Kiddush H serving as an example to everyone in the hospital as to what a Yid Is. Doctors and nurses in the hospital are heartbroken over his petira. One of the hospital staff members even drew a heart around his picture in the hospital, to them, he represented G and he always had a kind word for all of them”. Rabbi Serebrowski went on to mention the encouragement and support Rabbi Katz gave to the patients and how he would be mispallel for them. I met Rabbi Katz on several occasions and whatever my request was on behalf of patients he always found time to fulfill those requests. He did so with a full and caring heart. He died at NYUMC after a long bout with the COVID 19 [...Click headline above for more...] 

Chaplaincy Commission Update

Rabbi Leonard ( Yehuda ) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/ Igud HaRabbonim
April 23, 2020

I have postponed my dedication to the Orthodox Jewish Chaplains and in general to all chaplains for their unbelievable care they have been giving patients, family members and medical staff in all sorts of venues. I hope to have that article in next week’s RAA newsletter though, HaRav Mordechai Willig shlita in a recent teleconference sponsored by the Rabbinical Council of America, shared his concerns and halachic opinions about chaplains putting themselves in dangerous situations. Yet, even though chaplains have made every effort to “be safe” there have been times, when these dedicated chaplains have extended themselves in ways above and beyond “the call to duty”. I am also going to dedicate another article to the devoted Jewish Navigators and how they have extended themselves in all kinds of circumstance helping so many during these challenging times. [...Click headline above for more...] 

Important Message from R. Dr. Glatt to Share With Your Kehillah

Our chaver, Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt, asked that we share this important note sent to the Young Israel of Woodmere. Please share it with your kehillah: With the upcoming Yom Tov rapidly approaching, Rabbi Billet asked me to put together some general guidelines for what to do if, rachmana leztlon, people get sick or are diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 over Yom Tov. We obviously are not intending to provide specific advice which only your physician should do. Indeed, if someone does get sick before Yom Tov starts, they should link up with their physician, urgent care center or a tele-health physician and decide several things: 1) Do you require prescription medications, and if so when should you start them? Not all COVID-19 patients require treatment, and treatments do have side effects. However, if treatment with oral agents is necessary, it might be better to start therapy earlier rather than later. Obtain the prescription and fill it before Yom Tov if appropriate, but it is absolutely allowed (even required) to fill it on Yom Tov or Shabbos, if indicated. 2) Find out what is the optimal way for you to get follow-up care should you need to do so on Yom Tov or Shabbos. Find out who and when to call before Yom Tov. If your condition deteriorates even mildly, one should not hesitate to call your provider sooner rather than later to be re-evaluated on Shabbos or Yom Tov. 3) If your condition worsens to the point where you are short of breath or have significant changes in breathing, mental status (e.g. lethargy, delirium or unresponsiveness), or chest pain, call hatzalah or 911 without hesitation. BH, most patients with COVID-19 do not actually require hospitalization. The trick is to identify as soon as possible those patients who unfortunately are progressing (worsening) and require more intensive care (medications, oxygen and / or going to the hospital). One of the best guides to COVID-19 illness worsening is a change in breathing. More rapid breathing at rest, shortness of breath on even mild exertion and / or not being able to fully “catch your breath” after movement are strong indicators that you need to be evaluated again by your provider asap. For those that have the capability, checking oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter (the little piece of equipment that is wrapped around a finger and gives a number) is an excellent way to follow and assess breathing status.”Normal” values will differ for everyone, but healthy people will “saturate” between 96% and 99%, whereas people with respiratory problems will have lower numbers (in the 92-96% range). As long as the number are stable for you, and not dropping, that is a good sign. If, however, the numbers are dropping, and certainly if they fall below 90-92%, one must get re-evaluated. I stress, if your condition worsens to the point where you are short of breath or have any other significant changes in breathing, mental state, or chest pain, call Hatzalah or 911 without hesitation. All of this is REQUIRED on Shabbos or Yom Tov because of “safeik sakanas nefashos” (possibility of risk to life). Even the possibility of loss of life overrides all Shabbos prohibitions. No one should have any halachic indecision in calling a provider for help if they are worried. Indeed, one is required to err on the side of being overly cautious. A person is called a “chosid shoteh” – a “righteous fool” – if one does not take risk to life seriously. Our Rabbis tell us it is better to desecrate one Shabbos and live to observe many more than to not desecrate the Shabbos and possibly die. Our practicing extreme social distancing has already begun to have a significant impact on COVID-19 cases. We MUST not lose our resolve or let down our guard even as the numbers hopefully improve over Pesach. If we are to prevent further loss of life, we must do everything we can to prevent any new cases of illness. May we all have a safe, healthy chag kasher ve’sameach. Aaron E. Glatt

Chaplaincy Commission Update

From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS,BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
April 2, 2020

SPECIAL MESSAGE OF CHIZUK FROM HAGAON HARAV REUVEN FEINSTEIN SHLITA
ROSH HAYESHIVA YESHIVA OF STATEN ISLAND
FOR OUR RABBONIM DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS MESSAGE [...Click headline above for more...] 

Chaplaincy Commission Update

Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com

March 26,2020

By now you have read the major announcement by 5 main orthodox organizations who have joined together – Agudath Israel of America, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, the Lakewood Vaad, the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America. What tremendous achdus !!! The hope is that the message is conveyed to our communities and taken seriously by those who still are not sure how devastating the Coronavirus COVID-19 can be. One thing is for sure, of how Klal Yisrael has used this challenge to bring achdus, chizuk, Torah learning, renewed strength in our tefilos and unbelievable opportunities of doing wonderful gemilus chasadim in many different ways. [...Click headline above for more...]