Senior members of both the Jewish and Islamic communities witnessed the official opening by Mrs Pamela Chesters, Chair of the Trust, of a Jewish Shabbat Room and a new Muslim Prayer Room at the Royal Free Hospital on Tuesday (26/05/09). Amongst them were Lady Amelie Jakobovits, widow of the former Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Meir Salasnik, Senior Jewish Hospital Chaplain and Mr Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, Director of spiritual care provision in the NHS for the Muslim Council of Britain.
The jewish sabath room was furnished following a donation from the family of Betty Gedalla, who volunteered at the Royal Free for 32 years and died in December 2008.
Her sons Lawrence and Brian were at the opening ceremony. Brian said: `We wanted to put something into the hospital in her memory, and the Shabbat Room will be very important for Jewish people using the hospital.'
Rev Bernd Koshland, the Trust's Jewish chaplain, said: `The Royal Free serves a large Jewish population in North London. This new facility will help support people when they need it the most.'
The enlarged Muslim Prayer Room now includes both male and female washing facilities and was completed through the generous support of the Trust's Islamic Society.
Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, the director of Muslim Spiritualcare Provision in the NHS, said: "By opening an enlarged and exclusive Muslim Prayer Room for its patients and staff the Royal Free has set an example which other hospitals in North London should aspire to emulate".
Imam Rashid Ayyub the Trust's Muslim Chaplain said: `The expanded prayer room is welcome news for the large number of Muslim staff and patients. We are very grateful for the enormous support from the Chair, the Chief Executive and in particular Robert Mitchell, the senior chaplain.'
The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust has chaplains offering spiritual care and support to people throughout the organization and regularly visit patients and their families on the wards.