Seeking Short Stories About Mrs. Gitel Kahn A”H

As we approach the Sheloshim of Mrs. Gitel Kahn a”h (see short story, below), the family is requesting any stories that you might have in regard to her Bikur Cholim work over the course of over half-a-century.

Please email to [email protected] or call (347) 203 4712.
We Considered Her The Tzadeikus Hador

by Rabbi Yosef C. Golding

Her Hebrew name was Gitel, her secular name was Katherine…but many tens of thousands knew her simply as “Mrs. Kahn of Mount Sinai Hospital”.

Her home address was on West 87th Street, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but she “lived” in Mount Sinai Medical Center, on the Upper East Side. The term we know today as 24/7 could have been coined as an apt description of Mrs. Kahn and her selfless work for others.

At her Levaya, it was mentioned that she was involved in her bikur cholim work for 73 years; almost from the moment she touched upon the shores of the United States.

During her early years here in the USA, she, together with the Satmar Rebbetzin, were instrumental in the founding of the legendary Satmar Bikur Cholim.

I, personally, remember her wonderful husband, Reb Yisroel Aryeh (Leib) haKohen z”l, waiting for her in his car, patiently, outside the hospital until she finished her “rounds”. As a Kohen, he would not enter the hospital in case there would be any niftarim in the morgue.

My mother, Mrs. Chava Golding a”h, considered herself to be fortunate to be able to assist Mrs. Kahn in her bikur cholim work for many years. They became inseparable until my mother’s passing some 30 plus years ago.

Once, when my mother was very ill, and I was visiting her in the hospital, I advised Mrs. Kahn that I would wait for her to take her home. I knew it would be a while, as she had several other patients to attend to, but the z’chus of taking her home took precedence. Finally, well after visiting hours were over, she came into my mother’s room and said she was finally ready to go home. We took the elevator down to the lobby, exited toward the street, until she noticed a chassidish-looking family at the admittance desk. She waved me ahead, and immediately took charge of this new patient, telling me she’ll find another way to get home.

This was typical Mrs. Kahn.

For approximately 50 years, she walked through Central Park every single Shabbos, in order to continue her work, unabated; one of my daughters had the privilege of escorting her for many years.

This writer bears witness that he saw her in the back office at the hospital, pleading with the hospital’s financial administrator to change the charges incurred by a patient who couldn’t afford to pay the full amount. They respected her so much that they usually acceded to her requests.

When she walked the hospital hallways, there wasn’t a doctor or nurse who wouldn’t acknowledge her presence, with great respect. Hospital guards would nod their heads in respect, allowing her access to every nook and cranny in the hospital.

The greatest doctors of the generation were responsive to her requests; when Mrs. Kahn needed something done…there were no questions asked. It was their honor. And often, without the usual exorbitant charges.

Multiply these vignettes by tens of thousands (or more) and one begins to appreciate the enormity of her influence, and the scope of her accomplishments on behalf of Klal Yisroel. Her kind heart, combined with a listening ear and a treasure trove of seichel, enabled her to ameliorate the suffering of patients and their families, as well as saving countless lives throughout those 73 years.

And all this with an aura of unassuming tznius that is rarely found.

Please email to [email protected] or call (347) 203 4712.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.