Other Jewish Practices

There are a number of other Jewish practices which hospital staff may encounter when dealing with Jewish patients:

Many observant orthodox Jewish men wear a head-cover at all times. They also wear a special tasselled garment known as “Tzitzit”. Many married observant women also cover their hair.

On waking every morning many observant Jews wash each hand three times. They also wash their hands before a meal in which bread is eaten. This hand-washing should be done using a cup. The hands are also washed after using the toilet, although in this case a cup is not required.

In addition to the prayers mentioned above, a short blessing is said before and after partaking of food or drink. During these blessings patients may not be interrupted.

Shaving and Haircutting:
Some observant Jews grow beards throughout the year, and many of them also have special sidelocks. During three weeks preceding the fast of Tisha B’Av, during varying periods between the festivals of Pesach and Shavuot, and for the first 30 days after a bereavement, many observant Jews will not shave or have a haircut. Many observant Jews who do shave, will only do so with an electric shaver.

In Jewish law, boys are only obligated to observe Jewish practices after the age of 13, and girls after the age of 12. However, for educational purposes Jewish children are trained to observe the Jewish laws as soon as they can understand the particular concept involved (usually from about 5 or 6)

However, a non-kosher diet should not be given to a Jewish child of any age (even a baby) unless it is absolutely essential.

Jewish law has strict rules about modesty. A Jewish patient, particularly if they are observant, should, wherever possible, not be put in mixed sex ward.

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