Chabad at Texas Medical Center was founded in 1984. When Rabbi Lazer & Rochel Lazaroff assumed the directorship of Chabad at Texas Medical Center In 1992,they saw their primary obligation as: a. to service the spiritual needs of the Jewish families that live in the neighborhood, b. to service the spiritual needs of the Jewish students atRiceUniversityand Baylor College of Medicine.
It did not take them long to realize that there was a very important need that was not yet being met: Hundreds of Jewish patients traveled every year to theMedicalCenterfor treatment. The sheer logistics of being away from home is often overwhelming. Many need weeks or even months of outpatient care. Where does one stay? How do you take care of food needs? In many cases the patient’s spouse must stay home to look after their young children, so who will be there to act as caregiver to the patient, tending to her every need?
They also discovered similar needs even among many in-town patients. There are those who lack the advantage of support provided by a strong family nucleus inHoustonor the natural community networks.
Soon Chabad House found itself responding to the many requests for assistance, providing meals, temporary lodging arrangements and more. But as their involvement in this area increased, so did their realization that much more needed to be done.
In response to these pressing needs, a group of concerned people in the community got together and undertook the funding of a dedicated, year round apartment - Aishel House - to be available to families in need.
Ever since the founding of the Aishel House apartment, the care and comfort available to out of town families has been greatly enhanced. Families now have a comfortable place to stay, are provided with delicious hot kosher meals daily, and have all their other needs taken care of, all at no charge.
A team of dedicated volunteers play an important role in Aishel House’s activities. They shuttle patients and their families to and from airports, pick them up and drop them off for appointments, take them shopping and run any variety of small errands - all of which help to ease patients’ tremendous burden.
More Pressing Needs
Since the Aishel House apartment is always in use, there are dozens of families that are spending their last savings staying at hotels, savings already depleted by years of overwhelming medical related costs.
Summer 2003, finally saw the initiation of an exciting new project: the purchase of property for the construction of a hospitality and living center for these patients. Aishel House has already converted some of the apartments on the new propery for patient use.
The new Aishel House building at theTexasMedicalCenterwill help ease the burdens of many more families by offering many more comfortable apartments, each of which will feature a kitchen, a cozy bedroom, a living room area, and a private bathroom – a true home away from home. From library and multimedia center, to dining hall and garden retreat, Aishel House will provide patients and their families with all the comforts of home and community.