In the first honor of this kind that it has bestowed, Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth has named a wing in honor of the late Sol Kramer and his wife, Clara. The couple, both Holocaust survivors, settled in Elizabeth a few years after coming to the United States.
Accepting the honor at a private ceremony on Nov. 3, Clara Kramer was emphatic that the support she and her husband gave the hospital was inspired by the treatment they received there. Aside from the expert medical care Sol received, she said, the “caring and compassion” shown to both of them by the nurses and doctors “will never be forgotten.”
The dedication was attended by over 60 donors. In addition to Kramer and her son Eli, speakers included Gary Horan, president and CEO of Trinitas; Dr. Leon Pirak, chair of anesthesia, who attended the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth with Eli Kramer and his brother Philip; Dr. Bernard Schanzer, chair of neurology; and Nadine Brechner, the hospital’s vice president and chief development officer.
Sol joined the Trinitas Health Foundation board of trustees when he was 88, after spending a long stretch at the hospital as a patient in 2007, accompanied much of the time by his wife. He passed away in September 2011.
Brechner got to know the couple at the hospital and became a close friend. She said at the ceremony, “Sol told me many times how we saved his life and that he would not be able to enjoy his beloved Clara, and his family, or any other part of his life if it wasn’t for Trinitas.”
Brechner summed up the couple’s charitable endeavors, ending each step with a “dayeinu,” “That would have been enough.” She said, finally, that they helped “build the Jewish Educational Center, chaired the Jewish Federation [of Central NJ], volunteered at the JFS [of Central NJ], helped build the Central NJ Jewish Home for the Aged, chaired the YM-YWHA board, and donated to Trinitas.”
She concluded, “Naming this wing, where Sol spent so much of the end of life with his beloved Clara by his side, is a befitting tribute to two wonderful philanthropists and concerned humanitarians.”
Eli Kramer provided a historical perspective. He said, “Trinitas Medical Center — and its predecessor hospitals, St. Elizabeth, Elizabeth General, and Alexian Brothers — has always maintained a strong tie with the Union County Jewish community, tending to their special needs. This includes the installation of a Shabbat elevator and the kosher pantry maintained in the emergency room.
“It is fitting that the first wing ever dedicated at the medical center is in honor of two leaders of the Central Jersey Jewish community.”