Most doctors in Israel are Jews, but even to them, Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) patients are an anomaly. There are so many different Jewish laws that the Haredi populations abide by (who are often more stringent than other Jewish groups), and so many different Jewish laws followed differently by so many different groups, it is difficult to know where to begin in addressing cross-cultural issues that arise in health care.
Helping health care professionals adapt their approach to Haredi populations’ needs, which in turn makes their health care more effective, has been an integral part of our efforts in the Cultural Competency in Health Care program. (See here, here and here for previous examples on the blog.) However, until now, our assistance has been per HMO (Clalit), per holiday, per project (calendar, videos, national network). Now we, together with Rabbi Zvi Porat of the ALYN Hospital, will be able to help everyone, across the board.
In May we opened up a consultation service for health care professionals on issues pertaining to Jewish law, in full cooperation with Rabbi Porat, who is himself Ultra-Orthodox and who works with the ALYN Rehabilitative Hospital in this type of capacity. As part of his work there, Rabbi Porat is in continuous contact with Haredi Rabbis of different communities in order to clarify and resolve issues and questions. Professionals who have questions can send them to a dedicated e-mail, and we, in conjunction with Rabbi Porat, will be in touch with them to help to resolve issues. This service is currently free of charge.
Until now, ALYN has been the only health care institution – or any type of institution in the fields of welfare, education, or health – in all of Israel to offer this type of service. We’re proud to be trailblazing yet another aspect of cultural competency, which we hope will further understanding between different communities not only in the health care context, but in other areas of life as well.