Jewish Organizations Fund Kosher Family Lounge

April 30, 2021

kosher family lounge rendering

As Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital expands to meet the needs of its community, donations from South Florida-based Jewish organizations will ensure a kosher family lounge and kitchen will be part of the pediatric facility’s future. The philanthropic contributions are part of the “Catch the Love” fundraising campaign that will underwrite a substantial portion of the estimated $170 million cost to expand the children’s hospital, where construction is currently underway.

Dorit and Ben J. Genet, Jewish Federation of Broward County, and Healing Hearts have combined to contribute $350,000 to create and name the kosher family lounge and kitchen that will be located on the 8th floor of the children’s hospital. It will feature food prep and storage space plus areas to relax and pray. “The Jewish Federation is excited to partner with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation to establish a place for the families of children under the medical care of JDCH. We support the important work that the hospital is doing to care for the needs of the children and join them in supporting the families,” said Bob Schneider, Jewish Federation board chair.

While patients who keep kosher have always been able to get meals that meet their dietary needs, the same hasn’t always been true for families that are sometimes at the hospital for extended periods of time. “The kosher lounge will be a healing space for a parent that just needs a breather while caring for a child that has been admitted to Joe DiMaggio,” said Rabbi Yochanon Klein, founder of Healing Hearts.

The lounge will be part of an eighth-floor expansion that will also include recreation space created with the hospital’s “Power of Play” theme in mind.

“Adding the kosher family lounge is in keeping with our mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of those we touch,” said Kevin Janser, senior vice president and chief development officer for Memorial Healthcare System. “It will provide a much-needed respite for those connected to the many observant Jewish patients treated each year at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.”

The Hollywood-based facility serves children and families in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, home region to one of the country’s largest Jewish populations. In a recent two-year period, it is estimated that as many as 7,000 patients who identified themselves as Jewish were treated at the children’s hospital.