On September 5, Hudson Regional Hospital (HRH) hosted the “Annual Law Enforcement Meeting in Preparation for the High Holidays” organized by the NJ Jewish Business Alliance and NJ Chaplain’s Association. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the upcoming Yomim Noraim, continue to strengthen community and law enforcement relations, and communicate to law enforcement potential risks surrounding the High Holidays.
The meeting was well-attended and a success. Mark Smith, director of Homeland Security, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, commented: “It was a very informative meeting and worthwhile, as evidenced by the tremendous turnout of federal, state, county and municipal law-enforcement agencies. Rest assured, the HCSO is committed to working collaboratively with those agencies and the populations we serve to ensure a safe environment in which to live, work, worship and play.”
George Matyjewicz, Ph.D., director of community outreach at HRH, began the program by welcoming everybody and gave a brief overview of HRH’s goals, technology, staff, doctors and procedures offered, including state-of-the-art Mazor Robotics.
Then, HRH’s Rabbi Col. (ret.) Ira Kronenberg spoke about the holidays and some of the issues relevant to law enforcement. He brought his 36 years of military experience (including three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq) as a chaplain and what he learned and what they should know about the holidays. As a chaplain, Rabbi Kronenberg had to bring awareness of the Yomim Tovim to the Army officers and to bring an understanding of the Jewish soldiers’ needs. In addition, he had to counsel non-Jewish soldiers, so he was able to relate to the law enforcement attendees.
Next, Chaplain Yisroel Bursztyn, founder of NJCA, gave a detailed presentation of the Yomim Noraim and the interaction with law enforcement. Some traditions may cause concern among non-Jews. Some particular points he emphasized:
- Religious Jews are in shuls for six to eight hours each day on Rosh Hashanah and 12-14 hours on Yom Kippur. Religious Jews can’t carry anything, meaning no ID. Because of the extra crowds attending shul during these days, the opportunity for burglaries increases significantly.
- Increased shul attendance will also mean increased pedestrian traffic and may necessitate heightened security at shuls.
- Use of electricity is not permitted, and timers are set before the holiday. Lights may go on and off throughout the day or night.
- Shofar blowing, while usually in shul, can also be done at home for somebody not able to get to shul.
- Kapparos—the swinging of live chickens and praying for the redemption of our souls—has caused some concerns in the past (animal cruelty). Afterward, the chicken is given to the poor.
- Tashlich, where we pray near a body of water (ocean or lake), will bring increased pedestrian traffic in those areas.
- Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is where we have family gatherings in outdoor huts called sukkahs. And the last day of this festival (Simchat Torah) is where we have singing and dancing in shuls.
- During these days there is more family time, with an increase in visits to public parks and other attractions.
HRH is compliant with Chaplain Burszytn and is ready for traditions and foods. Visitation hours are geared to patients, not times. And a rabbi is available to blow the Shofar if needed.
Following this explanation of religious traditions, the NJJBA and NJCA then presented an award to Sergeant Nicky Burke for his excellent work in a household emergency during one of the holidays last year.
Greg Ehrie, Special Agent in Charge of FBI, Newark Division (that covers most of New Jersey), next spoke about terrorism and what the latest tools are that terrorists use. His talk was very informative. He informed the attendees of how different terrorism is now than it was on 9/11.
Hudson Regional Hospital has been working this year to accommodate the religious Jewish communities, and this event is what they hope to be the start of many more. Many of the attendees asked for a tour of the hospital, which will be organized after the Yomim Noraim, where they will see the new facilities and the robotic technologies. HRH is making a conscientious effort to upgrade the facilities, including the lobby, emergency room, and patient rooms. And more physicians are joining HRH as they learn about the goals and plans of the hospital directly from the owner and executive team.
For a tour of the new Hudson Regional Hospital or to meet the owner and executive staff, physicians should call George Matyjewicz at (201) 392-3436 or email GMatyjewicz@HudsonRegionalHospital.com.
Hudson Regional Hospital will continue to cater to the religious communities and bring in quality physicians, professionals, and services that are important to the communities served. Patients can inquire about our services or schedule appointments by contacting the hospital directly, either via telephone, at 201-392-3100, or email, at email@example.com.