Kosher pantry opens in Adventist White Oak

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Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington has opened a kosher pantry at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Silver Spring. Photo provided by Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center.

Observant Jewish patients at the new Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Silver Spring, and their visiting families, have access to Shabbat supplies and kosher goods. The nonprofit Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington last month began providing the goods, including challah rolls, electric Shabbat candles, siddurim, kippot and grape juice for the hospital’s kosher pantry.

More options, including cottage cheese and frozen meals, will be available starting on Sept. 24, according to Audrey Siegel, the Bikur Cholim’s executive director. The nonprofit assists sick Jews, including making sure they can keep kosher while they’re hospitalized, she said.


“[The pantry] is definitely going to make life easier for a lot of people,” she said. “[It has] things that are not easily or regularly available in the regular
cafeteria.”

Families who will be visiting patients can also call ahead to let the organization know they will be there, so volunteers can stock extra supplies in the pantry, she said.

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The hospital, which opened on Aug. 25, contacted Bikur Cholim when it began to design the building, according to Siegel. The organization met the architect so that the pantry could be designed with the needs of observant Jewish patients in mind.

The pantry is located near a Sabbath elevator. The pantry has a microwave, a full-sized refrigerator, a Sabbath hot water urn, a coffee machine and a sitting area.


The pantry will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no charge to use any of the goods it stocks. Volunteers will check the room weekly to restock it, Siegel said.
Bikur Cholim operates kosher pantries at four other area hospitals.

“[These pantries] are important because, like any service that supports families going through stressful times, [it] adds an extra level of comfort. It’s a little tiny island with a welcome, homey environment, inside a hospital,” she said.

Bikur Cholim purchases food and supplies for the pantries with monetary donations it receives. People can also donate supplies.

Siegel said the organization is in the early stages of planning a sixth pantry at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.

[email protected] Twitter: @SamScoopCooper

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