Saint Elizabeth’s reaches out

Robert Weisman, Boston Globe, July 5, 2012 Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, the Boston area’s largest Catholic hospital, is reaching out to a population that’s been expanding around its Brighton neighborhood: Orthodox Jews. In a bid to attract more business from the Orthodox community in Brighton and nearby Brookline and Newton, the hospital last week dedicated the region’s first Bikur Cholim room, a space where observant Jews can visit family members who are patients during Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath running from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The room provides Hebrew prayer books and stocks kosher foods. “It makes sense for us to serve a community that’s right in our backyard,” said John Polanowicz, a Stanford MBA who took over 15 months ago as president of the 291-bed Saint Elizabeth’s. “Our interest was to let them know that we’re aware of their religious needs and preferences and we’re working hard to accommodate that.”