About Bikur Cholim D'Satmar

Satmor Bikur Cholim “SBC” (Ladies Bikur Cholim D’Satmor)

Our Mission: To help Jewish hospital patients heal by delivering wholesome home-made food to hospital rooms.  SBC also provides food for family members, so they can spend the maximum time with their loved ones and not have to worry about food. 

SBC was founded in 1952 by the late Satmar Rebbitzen Feigy Teitelbaum, of blessed memory, in Mrs. Kahan’s kitchen.   Satmar was then a small community, most of whom were refugees from the Holocaust, many having lost their families at Auschwitz.   What started out in that kitchen has grown to be a major component of the Jewish social service safety net that the entire Jewish community takes for granted.   These weren’t ladies of leisure and there wasn’t time for meetings to come up with a motto. But when the time the first phone call was answered with “Satmar Bikor Cholim, Ken’ Ich Helfen? (can I help you?), the phrase stuck.  It has served as their guide ever since. 

At first Rebbitzen Tietelbaum and Mrs. Kahan cooked all the meals and brought them via subway to the hospitals of Manhattan.  In those days they would also feed the patients.  With time others volunteered, and the mission expanded to provide food for family members as well.

Some hospital may have limited kosher food in their cafeterias, but the hours are typically limited hours, and this is not an option for the Sabbath. 

From the very beginning, Satmor Bikor Cholim offers assistance to anyone who calls.  There has never been an application form asking about affiliation, income, or other resources. The only request is that families call when the patient is discharged.  No funds are ever asked from patients or their family.  

Over the years our organization has grown.  We have outgrown Mrs. Kahn’s kitchen and now have a dedicated 1500-sqare-foot facility.  But the model that R. Faigy set has continued. SBC is still largely a grass roots volunteer organization.  On a typical day 40 volunteers will come do the cooking.  We only employ one full time cook and two assistants.  These remarkable volunteers are remarkable–whether a mother with eight children of her own at home and one on the way or a grandmother, or a great grandmother who volunteers the day of her grandchild’s wedding. The dedication and sacrifice exemplified by R. Faigy continues. 

Another 40–50 women do their baking at home and bring cakes and challahs to SBC.  Only those whose kashsrus has been verified can bring food from their homes.  

The days of the Rebbitzen and the other ladies shlepping hot soup and chicken on the subway are past.  SBC has it’s own bus.  About 30 other women volunteer to take the food to hospitals starting downtown with Beth Israel and continuing on to New York, Lenox Hill, Cornell, Sloan Kettering, and Mt Sinai Hospitals in Manhattan, and Montifiore in the Bronx.