“I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent,” read the badge on a big teddy bear physician Naomi Amir gave her young disabled patients to cuddle. The sentiment reflected her medical philosophy, which made her a pioneer in pediatric neurology.
One of Israel’s foremost scientists and immunologists, Professor Ruth Arnon is the incumbent of the Paul Ehrlich Chair in Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
Margaret Gene Arnstein was a principal architect of the American nursing profession. Renowned for her work in public health, Arnstein also advanced nursing education and research.
Like many mothers of celebrities, Sadi Muriel Baron might be considered famous because of her child, rather than because of her own personal accomplishments. Baron was the mother of Dr. Richard Raskind, who became one of the most famous American male-to-female transgender personalities when he was transformed into Dr. Renée Richards in 1976. However, Baron was herself a success story. Baron was a pioneering neurologist and psychiatrist who maintained her own private practice well into the 1950s.
Rachel Sassoon Beer was the first woman to edit a national newspaper when she simultaneously owned and edited both The Observer and The Sunday Times in England in the 1890s.
Of the three Jewish communities in India—the Bene Israel, the Cochin Jews, and the Iraqis or Baghdadis—that of the Bene Israel of Maharashtra in western India was by far the largest. Numbering perhaps twenty thousand at its peak in the early 1950s, the majority of the Bene Israel have since left their homeland—most going to Israel—so that only about five thousand remain in India.
Therese Benedek was among the pioneers of psychoanalysis, first in Germany and then in the United States. She developed expertise in psychosomatic medicine, sexual dysfunction, and family dynamics, but she is best known for her work on the psychosexual development of women.
A courageous, motivated pioneer in medicine, in the late 1800s Fanny Berlin became one of the first Jewish women to practice surgery in the United States and the respected chief surgeon of a major hospital.
Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, actor, director, poet and translator, was born in Kishinev in 1895.
The dedicated commitment of great numbers of American Jewish women to their country’s long and controversial crusade to legalize birth control had its origins in 1912, when the movement’s formidable pioneer Margaret Sanger—baptized a Catholic, and married to a Jew, but by then calling herself a socialist—was working part-time as a visiting nurse in the immigrant districts of New York City’s Lower East Side.
For more than four decades geneticist Batsheva Bonne-Tamir has studied genetic markers and diseases among different population groups in Israel.
A dentist by career, Anna Pavitt Boudin is remembered for her prominent role in the American’s Women ORT. While maintaining her own private dental practice, Boudin became the founding president of Women’s American ORT, an organization that grew to be one of the largest Jewish women’s organizations in the United States.
The Brazilian Jewish community is the second largest Jewish community in South America and one of the ten largest in the world.
Hilde Bruch was recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on emotional problems relating to eating, thanks to her research on obesity in children and her innovative approach to the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
German-born scientist Edith Bülbring was renowned for her work in smooth muscle physiology, which paved the way for contemporary cellular investigations. She pursued this work through a large and flourishing large research group at Oxford University, which she led for seventeen years. In 1958 she was elected to the Royal Society.
Shulamith Cantor not only directed the Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem (later the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing), but was a leader and founder of the nursing profession in Palestine during the Mandate for Palestine given to Great Britain by the League of Nations in April 1920 to administer Palestine and establish a national home for the Jewish people. It was terminated with the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.British Mandate Period (1920–1948) and the first years of statehood.
“Insert M.D. after her name.” This annotation to the 1888 admission records of Touro Infirmary illustrates the thirty-year struggle of the first woman physician in Louisiana to be recognized as an equal by her male colleagues.
While Jews have traditionally placed a great deal of emphasis on education and learning, in the past they reserved the privilege of education primarily for their sons. Religious and cultural ideals assigning women’s place to the home and family combined with societal sexism and antisemitism to make the course charted by Jewish women in pursuit of a college education rocky and in many cases inaccessible. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, Jewish women in America achieved parity with their male counterparts on college campuses, but only after many decades of struggle. Indeed, the obstacles facing all American women who sought to enroll in college institutions in the decades surrounding the turn of the last century proved numerous, imposing, and at times, defeating. For Jewish women, antisemitism posed an added challenge that they had to conquer in order to receive the college education they sought.
Immortalized in drawings by French modernists Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and in Gertrude Stein’s essay “Two Women,” Dr. Claribel Cone was well known in her day as a charming, dignified, well-informed, self-assured, idiosyncratic, and highly independent woman with two passions, medical research and collecting art and artifacts.
Ray Karchmer Daily was a leader in Texas in the struggle for equal opportunities for women. She was born in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 16, 1891, to Kalman and Anna (Levison) Karchmer. The youngest of five children (Jack, Alex, Sidney, Nathan, and Ray), she immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was age fourteen. The family settled in Denison, Texas, where her father operated a business. In 1913, she became the first Jewish woman to graduate from a Texas medical school. After much difficulty, she found an internship at Women’s Hospital in Philadelphia, the only hospital/medical school with a dormitory for women. Throughout her career she crusaded for adequate housing for female medical students. Her chosen specialty was ophthalmology, but there were no residence positions available in the United States for women. She finished her training in Vienna, Austria.
Frances Allen de Ford chose the nontraditional route for women of medical school and medical practice to continue her paternal family’s tradition of philanthropy. As a physician, de Ford pioneered hygiene measures in the Kensington section of northeast Philadelphia, a heavy industrial and malaria-ridden district.
Naomi Deutsch, a leader in the field of public health nursing, was born on November 5, 1890, in Brno, Moravia, the second child of Rabbi Dr. Gotthard and Hermine (Bacher) Deutsch. With her parents, her brother Herman, and her sister Edith, she immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where her brothers Eberhard and Zola were born. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1908 and from the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in 1912.
In the medieval period, Jewish women doctors were found in most of the countries of western and central Europe, i.e., Spain, France, Provence, Italy, Sicily, and especially in Germany. Slawa of Warsaw (1435) is the only one who has so far been found from eastern Europe, but others will probably come to light when the records are examined more thoroughly. Evidence of women doctors in Egypt and Turkey comes from the beginning (ninth to twelfth centuries) of this period and from its end (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), although evidence for women healers is scattered throughout the sources.