Compassion and courage are the cornerstones of Laniado Hospital
WHAT ARE your founding principles? What are the key, unwaving values with which you lead your life? Laniado is the main hospital in the Netanya region, serving more than 100,000 patients each year. Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe, who started Laniado, wanted a set of principles to guide the hospital in every situation. The central pillar of these is mutual respect for all humanity and the sanctity of all life. For this reason, Laniado UK has broad appeal, attracting support from Jews, non-Jews, religious, secular, Ashkenazim and Sephardim.
In bringing healing and comfort to the sick, the founder wanted doctors and nurses to understand that they were fulfilling one of the greatest mitzvot of the Torah — and that medical staff have the obligation to care for all a patient’s needs, not just physical but also spiritual and emotional. To get this message across, the Rebbe came up with the “founding principles” — the same ones by which the hospital is run to this day. They begin with the instruction that all should be treated, regardless of race or creed. The Rebbe felt that, after he had witnessed and been subject to so much persecution, part of his life mission was to put some tolerance and love back into the world.
“Every effort shall be made to employ doctors and para-medical staff who have excelled in their professional fields,” he said “and who possess character traits permeated with love for their fellow man, as the Torah teaches ‘and you shall love your neighbour as yourself’.”
The Rebbe felt it was of utmost importance to observe the commandments on man’s relationships with his fellow man. So “the hospital must be careful not to cause unnecessary burdens on employees or any individual involved with the hospital” and “the hospital atmosphere should be permeated with the spirit of peacefulness, tranquillity, love and devotion”.
A simple story highlights the Rebbe’s concern and love for peo- ple, which still pervades the hospital. When Laniado was built, the Rebbe was asked about the budget for needles. “Which one hurts the patient less?” the Rebbe inquired. On that basis, thinner, more expensive needles were purchased. This puts our financial struggles in perspective. The charitable commitments of yesterday may seem out of reach today. But our commitments will reap great rewards — by saving lives. The founding principles of this hospital provide an inspiring lesson to us all. Even in challenging conditions, we must do our best to treat our fellow man with love, respect and dignity.
Comforting the sick is one of the greatest mitzvot