Last week, over 30 hospital visitors and Jewish chaplains gathered at Stephens House and Gardens, East End Road Finchley, for the Jewish Visiting Conference, to learn about and discuss issues relating to supporting hospital patients.

For over a century, ‘Jewish Visiting’, (previously known as ‘Jewish Visitation’) a cross-communal project centrally managed by the United Synagogue, has coordinated regular visits in over 50 hospitals to those patients who identify themselves as Jewish.

Professor David Katz, of University College London, addressed participants on the fascinating interchange between Jewish Medical Ethics vs Medical Ethics for Jews which included a discussion on the topical issue of organ donation. The newly-appointed Senior Hospital chaplain, Rabbi Stanley Coten, spoke to the group as well as chatting informally with fellow hospital chaplains and visitors.

At the event, Sidony Holdsworth, Service Manager at the British Red Cross, led an informative session on the services provided by the Red Cross to facilitate the transition from hospital life to independent living for patients. This session provided them with important information on how and when to make referrals.

Rabbi Coten, newly appointed Senior Jewish Hospital Chaplain, said: “I was delighted to address and get a chance to meet the chaplains and lay visitors at the Jewish Visiting Conference. I was struck by their dedication to their role in helping people who feel very vulnerable while in hospital, often in unfamiliar surroundings. I am looking forward to supporting them in their work and harnessing their own wide experience so that as a group we can learn from each other to the greater benefit of the Jewish community.”