Please get in touch to find out more and how you can help! Marilyn Klein, 116 Woodridge Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110, 717-545-8796.

The Inspiration

Josh Klein was born on January 21, 1983 at Polyclinic Hospital. He was the third son of Joel and Marilyn Klein. At birth, Josh had a bluish color and it was soon determined that he had major heart defects. He had one major surgery in Baltimore when he was just 12 hours old. At five months, he had open heart surgery in Alabama and at 2 he had another major surgery in Philadelphia.

Because his surgeries could not fully repair his heart, Josh was always a little smaller than his friends, and did not have the energy level of his friends. However, to know Josh, was to know a bright, bubbly talkative, funny boy who was always determined to be like everyone else.

When he was in third grade, Josh learned that his younger brother was being signed up for recreation soccer. Josh announced that he too wanted to play soccer. His parents tried to explain that he really didn’t have the energy level to participate, but Josh said, "I can do anything I want to." Josh played defense on soccer, for one whole season, with his Dad coaching him.

Josh had a passion for theater and he loved being on stage. He appeared in shows at the community theater, JCC, Open Stage and the Missoula theater at HAAC. He was an extra in a movie shot in Harrisburg. He starred in a promotional video for the Museum of Scientific Discovery. Josh also starred in a promotional video for the National Confectioners Society which was distributed throughout the country.

Josh did not sit around feeling sorry for himself, but looked for opportunities to help others. He spent two years leading the Friday night services at the Jewish Home where he greatly lifted the spirits of the residents.

In March of 1999, his doctors determined that Josh needed a heart lung transplant to replace his greatly weakened organs. He moved into Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he was confined to the sixth floor. Although it was a difficult situation, Josh made the most of his circumstances. He joked with the Doctors and cheered up the other young people. When Governor Ridge came to speak at the hospital, it was Josh who was picked from among all the other patients at the hospital to come down to the lobby to be in the very small audience and to meet the governor.

Josh died on May 12, 1999, before organs became available to him. His family decided to continue his good work on earth through the many interests that Josh had.

With a desire to perpetuate Josh’s memory, while continuing the good deeds that Josh was committed to, the following projects were established:

  • The Josh Klein Bikkur Cholim Society, which sends volunteers to area hospitals to visit Jewish Patients on a daily basis.
  • Campers at the JCC Green Hills Camp are given training in Bikkur Cholim. They create crafts which they distribute to the residents of the Jewish Home and to patients at Harrisburg Hospital.
  • Teens at Hebrew High take an eight week training course in Bikkur Cholim.
  • Children at area Hebrew Schools are given sessions on Bikkur Cholim.
  • Friday night services are conducted at the Jewish Home, using new prayer books dedicated to Josh’s memory.
  • Organ donation awareness is promoted.
  • A drama scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior at Susquehanna Township High School.
  • We have had an active participation in Mitzvah Day.

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© Josh Klein Bikkur Cholim Society