Congregant Michael Getlan brought the mitzvah of “Caring Clowning” to Temple Israel. “Caring Clowning” fulfills the mitzvah of bikur cholim, visiting the sick, in a joyful way. The Smiling Hearts Clown Squad is a group of volunteer clowns and entertainers that perform for patients and their families at hospitals and nursing homes in Westchester County. These visits provide a distraction for patients from the routines of the hospital stay, and engage and involve many of the hospital staff as well.
In addition, the squad members perform at events in association with other groups such as Make-A-Wish of Hudson Valley, Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Gilda’s Club. The Smiling Hearts Clown Squad consists of adults and teenagers from the local area, many of whom receive clown/improvisation training in classes taught by Michael at Temple Israel.