This Canadian clown channels Judaism to cheer up hospital patients

Naomi Krajden, left, on the job as a therapeutic clown. (Photo courtesy Fondation Dr. Clown and Nathalie Choquette)

Naomi Krajden didn’t go to medical school to become a front-line health care worker, even though many of her family members work in the field. Her father and brother are doctors; her mother is a nurse. So it isn’t surprising that the Toronto-born Jewish artist gravitated toward the medical world.

Krajden—a trained theatre actor, singer and dancer—is the only Jewish professional therapeutic clown in Canada. If you’ve seen the movie Patch Adams, it’s similar to what she does. Now living in Montreal, her in-person therapeutic clown visits, which took her to hospitals and nursing homes around the city, ground to a halt when the pandemic hit. She pivoted to virtual visits, but it wasn’t the same.

Now, after 16 months of Zoom clowning, Krajden and her troupe are slowly being allowed back to resume the work she loves. She joins us today to talk about her journey, how she channels her Jewish roots in her work, and the effect her efforts have on her patients.

What we talked about:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

The best is yet to come.

This website—the one you’re on right now—is just the tip of the iceberg. The CJN is building a whole new platform, which will be launching summer 2021. Jewish Canadians will be able to find community events, listen to relevant podcasts, connect with national networks and, of course, read breaking news stories, in-depth analysis and unique perspectives that matter. Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on social media, to be the first to see our newest iteration go live.