World AIDS Day falls on Dec. 1. In 1988, it was declared by the U.N. General Assembly to commemorate those who have died of AIDS and to acknowledge the world’s continued commitment to people who are affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The HIV virus knows no geographical, ethnic, religious or socioeconomic boundaries and for those of us in health care, the responsibility remains the same – to educate and inform the public about the risks of the disease and to provide the highest level of care for those who seek treatment. This Thursday at Sinai Hospital free rapid HIV tests will be offered to employees from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Occupational Health office, (5th floor Hoffberger Building). If you have questions, please call the HIV testing team at X27356.
Dec. 10 was established as International Human Rights Day by the United Nations in 1950. Observed by the international community every year it celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was the first global statement on human rights drafted by the member states of the United Nations and is one of the world’s most translated documents. On Human Rights Day, all of us are called upon to stand up for each other’s rights and to reaffirm our commitment to common humanity. Also, on this day annually, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to recipients in Oslo, Norway.
Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that will be celebrated this year starting the night of Dec. 24 for eight days and nights. Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for “dedication,” and this ancient tradition commemorates the rededication during the 2nd century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. According to legend, the Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. When they entered the temple, they found only enough lamp oil to last one night; surprisingly the oil lasted eight days, long enough to rededicate the Temple. This miracle is celebrated with lighting one candle on a special menorah each evening until all eight lighted candles stand together on the last evening.
More than two billion people around the world will celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25. An annual holiday, Christmas is a Christian holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is preceded by the season of Advent and concludes on Jan. 6 with the Epiphany, the revelation of God in his son Jesus Christ as human. People of different Christian faiths and cultures embrace the holiday’s message of hope, faith and peace.
Kwanzaa is secular festival observed by many African Americans from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.The word Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase "first fruits of the harvest." The weeklong celebration was created in 1965 to celebrate the seven basic values of African culture: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The seven-day holiday is a reminder of the enormous contributions of African American culture, heritage and traditional values to the United States, and it’s a time for meaningful reflection and recommitment within the African American community.
New Year’s Eve, also known as Old Year’s Day, falls on Dec. 31 and is the oldest of all public holidays celebrated in most every country around the world. First observed in ancient Babylon some 4,000 years ago, it is a time of sharing with friends, remembering the past and hoping for good things in the future. It is often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the New Year begins in each time zone and includes traditions such as making resolutions.
At LifeBridge Health we celebrate both what makes us diverse and unique, and what makes us the same – our shared purpose of caring for communities together.
— Written by Neil Meltzer, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.