In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, we are proud to highlight our Jewish team members alongside our Jewish Bridges Business Resource Employee Group (BERG). The Jewish Bridges BERG creates a network of team members who are proud of Jewish tradition and passionate about cultural diversity.
We spoke with Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox, director of spiritual services, chaplaincy care and education at North Shore University Hospital, and one of the Jewish Bridges BERG co-chairs, to learn more about this amazing BERG.
What is the Jewish Bridges BERG?
The Jewish Bridges BERG is committed to providing resources to promote Jewish education, health care, business collaboration, social action, professional growth and community partnerships at Northwell Health. The Jewish Bridges BERG started in December 2019 and we have conducted amazing events to bring awareness to this BERG.
What are some events that were held?
Because our BERG is new, most of our events—except our first menorah ceremony—are held virtually. The first menorah ceremony, held at North Shore University Hospital, celebrated and recognized the American Jewish people in our country and brought awareness to our community. The second menorah ceremony, held at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was broadcast over Zoom.
In September 2020 we held a virtual event called “New Beginnings: A Fireside Chat,” where we discussed COVID-19, the safety and security of the Jewish community and the difficulty of spending holidays in a hospital setting.
In April 2021, we presented a Holocaust Remembrance Day lecture. Dr. Hedy Wald—a clinical professor of family medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School Pediatrics Leadership Program—shared her observations as a medical educator and daughter of a Holocaust survivor. She also spoke about her recent experience teaching medical students at the Witten/Herdecke Faculty of Health in Germany about medical ethics and morally resilient professional identity formation by reflecting on the role of medicine during the Holocaust.
What are some of the initiatives your team has planned for 2021?
For the rest of 2021, we will continue to hold our quarterly meetings and produce our five-year calendar of holidays and events. We also will be producing a Holocaust memorial video commemorating this 75th year since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of World War II in May 1945.
On June 17, we will be hosting “Let’s Talk about Racism: Confronting Hate and Antisemitism with Courage,” where we will reflect on current events, discuss effective techniques to speak as a victim or ally, and how to persevere through adversity as we work together to strengthen our communities to eliminate racism.
How does the BERG contribute to professional development within the organization?
The BERG is an opportunity to be a part of a small community and explore different cultures, as well as to create social connections with peers from different backgrounds and professional areas within Northwell. It is a great way to build relationships, define communication skills and learn about Jewish traditions.