Religions and Spirituality

Sukkah at Overlook A Symbol of Medical Center's Commitment to Support Diversity

bde124984ac62df2c30e_image001-3.jpg
L-to-R CEO/Publisher of TAPinto.net Michael Shapiro, Overlook's Food Service Manager Michael Attanasio, Medical Imaging Coordinator Bertin Navarro & Overlook Medical Center Administrator Gerry Durney
71815ea6ac34ac3e65e6_image002-3.jpg
The courtyard between the Medical Arts Center building and the Child Care Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit provides a serene place to sit and reflect or eat a meal.
bde124984ac62df2c30e_image001-3.jpg

SUMMIT, NJ - Tucked away in a secluded courtyard, under the open sky, between two Medical Arts Center buildings at Overlook Medical Center is a sukkah.

To some it may look like a square tent with an odd roof and a picnic table inside, but it is much more. The sukkah is a visible symbol of the importance the medical center and its staff place on honoring the diversity of all who come to the facility.

Orthodox Rabbi Nathan Zemel, MD, who is a member of Overlook's Diversity Council, says the sukkah is there "for Jewish persons who observe the Biblical commandment which dates back to when the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt." They had been traversing the desert for 40 years and "were very dependent upon G-d. They had no water, no food, no change of clothes," and lived in sukkah made of whatever they found. Sukkot, sometimes called the Feast of the Tabernacles, is an eight day festival, which commemorates those 40 years, and the main commandment is to eat in the sukkah, although many observant Jews will actually build a sukkah and live in it for the entire eight days. "In moving out of our houses, we forego that security and depend upon the grace of G-d," Rabbi Zemel says. 

Sign Up for E-News

The sukkah at Overlook is there for patient family members and caregivers, patients and staff to use during Sukkot.  It is a kosher sukkah, located under an unobstructed sky, with a proper roof "that is more shade than sun," made of materials that are grown, not manufactured, he says. Inside there is a picnic table for all to use.

The Rabbi's work to make the sukkah kosher is not done yet.  Before Sukkot begins, at 5:55 p.m. on Oct. 16, he will go to South Jersey where he says, "I will buy a kosher four species -- one from a date palm tree, a citron, willow and myrtle. There's a lot of symbolism in these and they are put together" in a specified way and used in a waving ceremony each day of Sukkot, which ends on Oct. 23 this year.

Along with the sukkah, in the hospital close to the emergency room and just outside the cafeteria, there is a Kosher pantry filled with kosher items, says Overlook's Manager of Food Services Michael Atanasio. Rabbi Zemel, who is a chaplain at the hospital, stocks it. "Gerry Durney has been terrific," its location means "when an ambulance crew brings in a patient during the holidays" members who are keeping kosher may pick up a snack or a patient's family member can get something. "Otherwise, they may be in a pickle," says the self-described "hands-on Rabbi" who says he wants to make sure patients, families and others have their nutritional needs as well as their spiritual needs met.

There's even a combination lock on the pantry, because on Shabbat and other days during the year when "work is forbidden," the pantry can be accessed.  Work includes using any electrical equipment, such as electronic locks, elevator buttons and doors that open by using motion detectors, he says. To that end, Overlook provides a Shabbos elevator that stops at each floor on Shabbat, which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.  There is also "a side door that is a few feet off the side of the front door, where they don't activate electrical equipment in order for it to open," Rabbi Zemel says.  

He extends his "thanks to the administration -- Hospital President Alan Lieber and Administrator Gerry Durney -- for being very helpful ... and most accommodating." 

Diversity doesn't begin and end with consideration of religious needs. CEO and Publisher of TAPinto.net Michael Shapiro who attended the reveal of the sukkah, supports the diversity initiative. "Diversity is one of our communities' greatest strengths. It's so important for community partners to respect and cherish this diversity. Overlook is at the forefront of doing so and it's my hope other community partners follow in the rich tradition they have established."

There is also diversity in the menus offered to patients. Atanosio says Overlook "offers kosher meals on our menu and cafeteria" and those meals are also suitable for Muslims who are halal. Vegetarian options are also available.

In another area, for the past two years Overlook has been "certified as a LGBTQ organization," said Durney.  This year Medical Imaging Coordinator Bertin Navarro and Atanasio took the lead in getting certified.  

The certifying group "stepped up the requirements for recognition this year," said Durney, who credited the two men with their work to make sure the requirements were met and the application filed on time.  No results have been received yet, but the men feel confident.

Other initiatives being used include three-dimensional printed maps to help people find their way around the hospital, way-finding apps for those who are more technologically inclined, translation services with Cyracom devices in every department, and devices for people who are hearing impaired.  The hearing devices, which cost about $30, are also for sale for visitors in the gift shop.

Recently deployed are kiosks strategically located in the medical center and its MAC I and II. Visitors can find out how to get someplace and are able to email or text the directions to themselves or others, says Durney. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Hanover Park Wrestlers Place First at Districts

February 18, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- Congratulations to Hanover Park Wrestlers for taking first place in the districts. Eight hornets took first place;

Joey Olivieri 
Jake Bursese 
Dom Merola
Dom DiFrancescantonio 
Nicky Raimo
Mike rubin
Sean Conley
Matt Liberato 

Dan Jiminez placed second, Nick Zarra  and Sebastian Bassolino both placed third. Next up for ...

Travel Spotlight - Another Holiday, Another Encounter with Marine Life along Jersey Shore

February 19, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

Decades Rewind Returns to the Jersey Shore

Decades Rewind transports their audience to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!!

RED BANK, N.J.- Returning to the Count Basie Theatre, Friday, March 9th, 2018 Decades Rewind, the national touring concert, dance party and theatrical performance all wrapped up in one blockbuster, high energy show, celebrates the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and ...

Travels Spotlight - Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

TAPintoTravels is here to promote travel whether it is for work or pleasure.  Most of our reporting is fun and helpful.  However on rare occasions, we do have to report on heart breaking stories.  It is always hardest when it involves men with families that have been lost at sea.  Please consider assisting this family in need and keep them in your thoughts or ...

Travel to Belmar for Chance Glimpse of an Adorable Baby Seal

TAPintoTravels — All eyes will be on everyone’s favorite groundhog today, but it was a baby seal that stole the spotlight yesterday at the Belmar marina.

During the morning of February 1, borough public works employees were working at the marina’s boat ramp when they noticed the gray pup sitting on the jet-ski dock, said Ed Markey, who works in the department and also ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_aad5bb0a6b21207aa8dc_58dbe121e4b0d00ef04eec09

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

Free Rookie Rider Classes at CycleBar Livingston

Health & Wellness

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, February 28, 7:00 PM

Pinot's Palette, Morristown

Paint & Sip Fundraiser

Arts & Entertainment

Hanover Park's Willa Roberts Named One of Mayo Performing Arts Center Students of the Month

February 22, 2018

MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Students from Randolph, Morristown, Kinnelon, Madison, East Hanover and Chatham were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center's Music Students of the Month - Outstanding Orchestra Members -- prior to the Thursday, February 15 performance of by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the ...

Own a Lakefront Townhouse from the Mid- $400s

February 22, 2018

OWN A LAKEFRONT TOWNHOME FROM THE MID-$400s

 

Mariner’s Pointe Offers Modern Townhomes with Deeded Boat Slips within

Commuting Distance of NYC

 

HOPATCONG, NJ – The opportunity to own a brand new townhome right on the shores of Lake Hopatcong is attracting buyers to Mariner’s Pointe, where homes priced from the mid $400s are moving ...