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Taste of Home for Patients at TMC

Holiday cheer and good spirit with all the trimmings

The warmth and the joy of the approaching high holidays could be felt in the air at Aishel House at Texas Medical Center, as volunteers were busy preparing meals for Jewish patients at the Texas Medical Center.

Throughout the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, volunteers at Aishel House baked, cooked and delivered delicious homemade meals for patients at the various hospitals of the Texas Medical Center.

“Many times when a patient is hospitalized over the holidays it can be quite depressing. What we try to do is to bring a smile to their face,” says volunteer coordinator Rochel Lazaroff. “True we cannot take away their pain, but we want them to know that they are not forgotten and that someone is there for them. It tells them that our community understands that ‘Kol Yisroel Arievim Zeh Lazeh’ (all Jews are responsible for one another) is not just a pretty Talmudic adage but something that should be put into action.”

Much effort and care goes into the meal preparation, and when possible, patients are contacted to see if they have any specific preferences to ensure that their meal is one they can completely enjoy.

Nancy from Chicago, whose husband is receiving treatment at MD Anderson, said: “When they called, I tried to explain that my husband has a very complex restrictive diet, and that we would have to try to make do on our own. But they simply said ‘It’s not a problem, give us all the details and we will accommodate his diet.’ – and they did, cooking all these fabulous meals just for him while no doubt still preparing meals for dozens of others. We were absolutely moved.”

Over the holiday month over 100 home cooked meals were provided for patients and their families, benefiting native Houstonians as well as out-of-towners, from places as far away as South America and Israel to the Northeast and the Midwest. Each and every one was touched by the community’s helping hand.

No detail is missed at Aishel House when providing these services. Everything is done first class in the most generous way, and every effort is made to help the patients feel the holiday spirit – just as they would at home. On Rosh Hashana patients enjoyed freshly baked traditional round Challah with raisins along with apples and honey. On the eve of Yom Kippur – kreplach dumplings, and so on for each of the holiday meals.

“We see ourselves as the hands and heart of the entire Jewish community,” says Rachel Lazaroff. “We are simply the conduit that harnesses this tremendous goodwill that the Houston Jewish community is blessed with and channels it to assist those who need.”

If you know someone who is in need of these services or if you would like to volunteer call Rachel at 713-522-2004.

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