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Apr 18, 2004 04:20 PM

Any ideas for a shabbat spent at the hospital?

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Hi everyone,

I hope everybody had a great Pesach! I have a huge favor to ask, my friend is going for a surgery and will be staying at the hospital for a full month.

Now, the hospital is 2 hours walk from the closest Jcommunity. I need ideas on what to do to make his Shabbat more enjoyable while he is at the hospital.

I know we are supposed to talk only about food on the forum, however if you have particular ideas not related to food, please feel free to send me an email.

Food wise, I am sure the hospital will be able to warm up the food that I am planning to prepare for him. I dont see any problems other than the wrapping. If you can think of any other hallachic issues, please feel free to mention it to me.

I am thinking of possibly making small pastillas, soups, Cholent / Tefinah, deserts

Any ideas, recipes? I need plenty as he will be spending a minimum of 4 shabbos at the hospital, Thanks a bunch!


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  1. Although the hospital is not located near a J-community, there may be a Bikur Cholim organization that can help you out with accomodations. Try contacting on of the organizations listed in the link below:


    4 Replies
    1. re: Beerhound

      Getting in touch with Bikur Cholim is an excellent idea. I am not very familiar with them, but it seems like they would be able to help us, for sure.

      Thanks, I will contact them in my town.

      Emet :)

      1. re: Emet

        I was in the hospital over Chanukah and wasn't allowed to light candles, but my parents brought me an electric Menorah. Maybe there are electric-type candles that can be brought in? Just a thought...

        1. re: Aviva

          Can you tell us the name of the Hospital and where it is located? Perhaps we could try to help you further if we knew were it was.

          1. re: DiscoStu

            Well, we are both from Montreal and the hospital is in the French outskirt of town.

            I am in touch with the Jcommunity, and I only really need ideas of how to make his shabbos more enjoyable for the time he will be there. ( minimum of 4 weeks)

            My friend is thinking of just having cold food for his shabbos, but I know he will be lonely, and cold food just wont make things better.

            I am currently building up menus for 4 shabbos.
            Including Fish, appetizers, meat, desserts. If you have any interesting recipes that could be used, would be greatly appreciated.



    2. A few quick ideas...

      1) Give him a little Shabbos kit
      -Candles and matches - even if the candles cannot be lit, they will provide a more Shabbos-like atmosphere
      -Grape juice/wine
      -Challah - if a hot plate or blech can be used, but it on there for 15 minutes before eating and it will have a nice smell in the room
      -Is it possible to make cholent/use a crock pot in the room? If so, do it.
      -Give him a book on Shabbos stories (heart-warming, up beat type stuff)

      2) It might be good to bone up on what non-Jews can do for Jews on Shabbas (i.e. Shabbos goys can do some things, but not others). Maybe he would like a book on the topic?

      3) Give him a cd or tape with some of his favorite songs (maybe a Chazan doing some Shabbos tunes). This could be used on Friday afternoon to get in the Shabbos spirit.

      Good luck!

      2 Replies
      1. re: texasmensch

        Hi Texasmensch

        Thanks for the ideas.

        A shabbos kit will be a must for sure, and books for shabbos is an excellent idea.

        I will read up as much as I can regarding Shemirat Shabbat in reference to hospital/and work done by a non-jew.

        I doubt a blech or crockpot can be used for safety reason (just like the candles) However, I am hoping that the hospital staff will be able to warm up the food before serving it. I mean they'd have to do it on a regular basis for him anyway,

        Any idea of comfort food to serve?

        Thanks a lot!


        1. re: Emet

          Comfort foods -

          Good question. I would focus on something that he is less likely to get in the hospital. For example, he may very well get cookies. But a cake is less likely.

          If you make a cake, make a big one and make sure the hospital staff know they are also welcome to a piece (bribery works!).

          You could always make cholent the day or two before and then have them heat it up like they would anything else.

      2. I have to believe the hospital has a Chaplain, or similar office, and that the Chaplain has encountered this sort of problem before. They may even have a rabbi you can contact.

        In the last 2 years of her life, my mother, a"h, spent considerable time in the hospital, where she got a lot of attention from the hospital's rabbi/chaplain and from Satmar Bikur Cholim. Of course, that was in Manhattan, and it sounds like your friend will be nowhere near there.

        Also, perhaps there is a local (or not so local) chabad you can contact. They are often very resourceful.

        And most importantly, a refuah shlema to your friend.

        2 Replies
        1. re: uncle moishy

          Amen and thank you.

          I am in touch already with the lubavitch community to see what we can do togther and I will also get in touch with the Rabbi from our Jewish hospital. I know that kosher meals will be delivered to him, but I just want to make his shabbos special while he is at the hospital.

          1. re: Emet

            which hospital and in which city will he be in. it would help people guide you better. the satmar bikur cholim in nyc is great. i know they have apartments (you will have to share with other people who have loved ones in the hospital). if you are not in nyc you may be near some hidden jewish community where they may be able to help you out.