Bridging the Gap| March 23, 2021
As we mark one year since the pandemic changed our lives, we asked you to introduce us to your COVID heroes
When Reb Sruly Matzliach arrived in Chicago in 2011 to head the Chicago Center’s Refoenu division, cultural sensitivities that are taken for granted in areas like New York were nonexistent in Chicago. When it came to things like preferring a male nurse for a male patient or the problems associated with electronically operated sinks on Shabbos, or other, more complex issues, the medical establishment was clueless about the frum community’s needs.
Reb Sruly changed all that. He built relationships with the medical community, eventually developing a bridge between the frum community and the medical establishment that everyone benefitted from.
When COVID arrived in Chicago, Reb Sruly was there, a warrior with his cellphone in one hand and his Hatzolah radio in the other. Every day brought a new emergency: He arranged hospital beds for those who needed them and found ventilators when there were none to be had. Reb Sruly was the one who made sure that procedures that couldn’t “wait two months until things were a little calmer” were performed. He managed to acquire PPE, masks, gloves, and K95 masks, even when they were scarce. Reb Sruly arranged for the Chicago Center to distribute free masks and hand sanitizer, and provide PCR testing with on-site results, as well as the COVID vaccine.
It’s hard to believe that the number-one testing and vaccination center in Chicago — serving all of Chicago — happens to be a frum facility, but knowing Reb Sruli, it isn’t surprising. Entire books could be written about all that he does in our little corner of the world, creating a kiddush Hashem in our city every single day.
— Avi Goldfeder, Chicago, Illinois
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 854)
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