Programs and Initiatives
In December 2019, a Jewish baby born prematurely was admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Nicklaus Children’s. The family was from Cuba and had no Jewish connections in Miami, so the nursing staff reached out to the Victor Center, which was able to bring the family weekly Shabbat Kits for several months. We got to know the family well and fortunately, the baby was eventually discharged. They still send us holiday greetings and pictures of their healthy, thriving child.
It is thanks to a grant from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation that the Victor Center is able to distribute weekly Shabbat Kits to Jewish patients and their families*. Each kit includes electric tea lights, grape juice and fresh challah to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath, as well as a book from PJ Library and information about the Victor Center, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and wider community services.
The program Bikur Cholim: A Jewish Patient Experience at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital represents the expansion of our Shabbat Kits program. “Bikur Cholim” is Hebrew for “visiting the sick” and refers to the mitzvah to aid those who are ill.
The program includes three initiatives designed to enhance the experience of Jewish patients and their families:
- Create a Bikur Cholim hospitality room offering kosher food, community resources and clergy assistance, as well as an area where Jewish families, physicians and staff can seek peace and comfort.
- Designate specific hospital elevators as Shabbat Elevators within the next 18 months, allowing Jewish patients, families and visitors to satisfy the Jewish law of abstaining from the use of electrical switches during Shabbat and special holidays.
- Provide Jewish cultural awareness training and resources to the entire hospital staff.
In addition, the Victor Center is working with the NCHS Department of Food and Nutrition to ensure a reliable source of kosher food for Jewish patients and families. And the Victor Center hosts interactive celebrations for Jewish and secular holidays, open to all Nicklaus Children’s patients and families.
*The Shabbat kit program has been modified to reduce traffic in patient areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Community Health Awareness Initiative (CHAI) helps college students become ambassadors trained to raise awareness about Jewish genetic diseases. With a full year of mentoring from Victor Center staff, student ambassadors are taught to build relationships with Jewish community leaders and medical professionals and advocate for genetic testing of those disorders prevalent in the Jewish community
Do you want to give back to your community? Make a difference with the Make a Mitzvah Program by creating a project, raising money for it, and sharing it with your friends and family on social media.
The Victor Center hosts special lectures, screening and educational events, both live and virtual.
Lectures & Lattes is a daily, 20-minute dose of medical knowledge from experts at Nicklaus Children’s. Currently offered to both private and public schools via Zoom, these chats happen immediately after carpool drop-off and include a Q&A.
Past community speaking engagements have covered:
- Our heritage, our health
- Kosher conception
- 12 steps to healthy pregnancy
- What’s hiding in our genes
- What’s Jewish about our Genes
- Annual Women’s Wellness Event
- Genes and cocktails
- Spit for wine
- Jewish genetic diseases: Get your inside story
- Ethics and Genetic Testing
- Game Time: Get into your genes and meet us in the outfield
- Screening Sunday: A Day at the ballpark
- Vodka Latke: Chanukah Events for Young Professionals
- The Art of Screening (museum venues)
Contact Deborah Wasserman at
to find out how we can tailor a program to fit your needs!
The Victor Center provides a variety of opportunities for private and individualized screening events, such as screening bridal parties, grandparent gift of screening initiatives, camp reunions, March of the Living graduates, college campus orientations, sorority and fraternity screenings and Hillel Shabbat programs. You can even create your own program that meets your screening and educational needs.
Contact Deborah Wasserman at
HFLA and the Making Miracle Babies Fertility Fund can help make your dream of a family a reality. Their interest free loans can ease the burden of genetic screening and other medical costs related to fertility.