Aventura, FL (January 8, 2010) - On Tuesday, December 8th, 2009, more than 350 guests attended the Anti-Defamation League’s 2009 Community of Respect Awards Ceremony at the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center to honor role models who have promoted tolerance, understanding, and, most importantly, respect for people of all backgrounds within our community. Heather J. Rohan, FACHE, the Chief Executive Officer of Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, was honored with the 2009 Community of Respect Award for her efforts to create a safe hospital environment that meets the religious, ethnic, and cultural needs of its patients and employees. Those efforts include welcoming the new Gesher Tzedaka Jewish Family Room, which provides kosher amenities and religious books for the comfort of Jewish patients and families, partnering with the Anti-Defamation League to host a series of classes at the hospital that teach why “Hate Hurts”, and inviting Mr. Victor Cynamon, holocaust survivor, to visit with the staff and share his story of survival.
The event was co-chaired by the Honorable Billy Joel, Norman Leopold, Esq., and the Honorable Bob Diamond. Mr. Joel gave the welcome remarks followed by an invocation and the Hamotzi, conducted by Rabbi Jonathan Berkun of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. Then, Mr. Leopold graciously introduced Ms. Rohan to the guests. In describing her accomplishments, he read a passage from a letter that had been written by Rabbi Brusowankin of the Aventura Chabad. The passage reads:
“As one of the chaplains of Aventura Hospital I have had the pleasure of interacting with Hospital CEO Heather Rohan on a few occasions. I find her to be a unique blend of professionalism and sensitivity. Under her inspired leadership, Aventura Hospital has become a very welcoming place for Jewish patients and visitors, providing vital support services for Jewish patients and their families, kosher food, facilities, Jewish books and CDs, internet access, and a calm and serene setting for a Shabbat family meal or just a place to relax. As a further service to Jewish families, the hospital boasts a Shabbat elevator enabling more people to visit their friends and families on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.”
Upon acceptance of this special award, Ms. Rohan commented, “My parents taught me at a very young age to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated regardless of race, religion, or station in life. I have carried that lesson with me wherever I go. I am truly honored to be here with you all today.”
Mr. Thomas R. Olivieri of Northern Trust Bank received the ADL’s Community Service Award, presented by Commissioner Diamond, and Dr. Rubin Salant received the Torch of Liberty Award, presented by Commissioner Joel. The luncheon concluded with a special benediction delivered by Reverend Will Keyser, Chaplain at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.