NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Saint Peter's University Hospital, acknowledging its proximity to several Orthodox Jewish communities, has hired a patient navigator to help patients practice their religion without interruption during their hospitalization or that of a loved one.

Rena Goldsmith Klein has been hired as the patient navigator in the Department of Medicine to provide a unique service to patients of the Jewish faith and serve as a liaison between Saint Peter’s and the greater Jewish community, according to a press release from the hospital.

Rena will assist with the scheduling of appointments, providing educational materials and offering connections to community resources, such as nearby kosher restaurants, specialty grocery stores and local synagogues.

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“We understand and respect each and every patient’s religious and cultural needs,” says Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, President and CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. “Through the establishment of a patient navigator, we can minister to our Jewish constituents, ensuring their ability to practice their faith for as long as they are in our care.”

Other services available at Saint Peter’s include the Bikur Cholim Hospitality Center which is located on the fourth floor of the hospital, just off the main elevator. The Center offers kosher food, snacks and coffee, as well as religious books and Jewish publications.

The term “bikur cholim” refers to the mitzvah, the Jewish religious commandment, to visit and extend aid to the sick.

“As a community hospital, Saint Peter’s is committed to inclusivity,” Rena. “My goal is to offer comfort and healing to those patients who strongly identify with their Jewish faith, allowing them to find refuge and support in the rituals and traditions of our heritage. This is especially important as they navigate the challenges of a personal or family illness.”

Additional services for those of the Jewish faith include:

  • Electric candles for Sabbath observance available through Pastoral Care
  • Inpatient Kosher menu offerings
  • Kosher Keurig coffee machine for outpatients, located in the Endoscopy Suite on the 2nd floor of the main hospital
  • Kosher food options in the hospital cafeteria, located on the first floor of the main hospital
  • Sleeping accommodations at Rutgers University Chabad House, located at 170 College Avenue

During Rosh Hashanah, shofar blowing can be arranged to take place in patient rooms. During the festival of Sukkoth, the hospital annually builds a sukkah onsite. Jewish chaplains are available for in-room visitation and family consultation through the hospital’s Pastoral Care Department, reachable at extension 8565.

Rena has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Barnard College and a Master of Arts in Public Health from Columbia University in New York City. To reach Rena or to learn more about Patient Navigator services, email rgoldsmithklein@saintpetersuh.com or call 732-745-8600, ext. 5756 or 732-236-4617.