Medicine

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Nursing in the United States

Early in the twentieth century, trained nursing was not considered a suitable profession for a young Jewish woman. The many and varied accomplishments of Jewish women in nursing are finally being chronicled.

Nursing as a Female Profession in Palestine (1918-1948)

Nursing’s struggle to hold its own as a profession was part and parcel of the activity of the women’s movement in the United States, mainly from the nineteenth century to the 1920s. The struggle of women who also wanted nursing to gain professional recognition in Palestine took place within that context.

Anna Braude Heller

Dr. Anna Braude Heller was born on January 6, 1888 in Warsaw to Aryeh Leib Broddo of Grodno and Tauba Litwin of Bialystok. She was the oldest of four daughters. Her father was a well-to-do merchant, and her mother assisted him. Heller was raised in an open, traditional household. Her father was religiously observant but very liberal in his outlook. The parents spoke Yiddish between themselves and Polish with their children. Heller was an excellent student, highly independent in her opinions, with special sensitivity to the needs of others.

Health Activism, American Feminist

American women have been the “perennial health care reformers.” According to Carol Weisman, professor of Health Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health: “Activism around women’s health has tended to occur in waves and to coincide with other social reform movements, including peaks in the women’s rights movements.” At all of those pivotal moments, Jewish women have played central roles.

Women's Health in the Ghettos of Eastern Europe

One of the main effects of ghetto life on individuals was the deterioration in their health. The state of women’s health in the ghetto was dictated in most cases by the unusual circumstances under which every ghetto existed.

Martha Wollstein

Responding to the public health crisis of the early twentieth century with a declaration that the current generation of women physicians had “entered societies and laboratories for the benefit of all,” Martha Wollstein had an exemplary career in pathology and the experimental study of childhood diseases.

Charlotte Wolff

A pioneering German-Jewish lesbian and feminist physician, Charlotte Wolff became interested in sexology, psychotherapy, and chirology while working as a physician in Berlin’s working-class neighborhoods. Soon after the Nazis came to power she fled to France and then to England, where she began researching and writing books on chirology. In the 1960s she turned her research to homosexuality and published a landmark study on lesbianism.

Vera Weizmann

A Zionist and a physician, Vera Weizmann was also Israel's first "First Lady."

Rosa Welt-Straus

In 1878, she received her medical degree and was one of the first women in Europe to practice medicine. Rosa Welt, together with one of her sisters, immigrated to the United States, where she worked for many years as an eye surgeon in New York in the eye hospital and also in the eye clinic at the Women’s Hospital. In addition to her professional work, Welt-Straus was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage in New York and a partner in forming the International Woman Suffrage Alliance founded by Carrie Chapman-Catt.

Marie Pichel Levinson Warner

Warner pursued that health problem, as well as infertility, in research and in practice, as assistant medical director at Margaret Sanger’s Clinical Research Bureau from 1927 to 1936, and medical director of the Family Planning Clinic in Harlem (beginning in 1933), run in conjunction with the New York Urban League. The bulk of Warner’s professional commitments focused on the birth control movement.

Rosa Zimmern Van Vort

A member of Virginia’s first generation of trained nurses, Rosa Zimmern Van Vort devoted her career to the training and education of nurses.

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Helen Brooke Taussig

Helen Brooke Taussig was one of the most celebrated physicians of the twentieth century. Through her research and teaching she was a leader in the development of the medical specialty of pediatric cardiology.

Rahel Straus

Rahel Goitein Straus, one of the pioneering women medical doctors trained in Germany, can serve as a model precursor to the “New Jewish Women” of the twentieth century. Successfully combining a career as a physician with marriage and motherhood, she adhered to traditional Jewish values, while also embracing feminist and Zionist ideals.

Hannah Mayer Stone

A pioneering physician and advocate of birth control, Hannah Stone defied both New York City police and the federal government in her efforts to make contraception legal and available to American women.

Judith Steiner-Freud

Judith Steiner-Freud, herself a graduate of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah School of Nursing, became the director of her alma mater, as well as deputy dean of nursing in the medical faculty of Hadassah and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and thus had an important influence on the development of nursing education and practice in Israel.

Lina Solomonovna Stern (Shtern)

The eminent physiologist and biochemist Lina Solomonovna Stern's curriculum vitae is testimony to her vigor and her incredible energy and immense working ability.

Bertha Kaplan Spector

Born in a Russian shtetl, Bertha Kaplan Spector became a bacteriologist whose authoritative research helped to control an epidemic of amebic dysentery during the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. Her work contributed to a better understanding of the disease, as well as to new standards of hygiene.

Rachel Skidelsky

In 1894, at a time when “working mother” was a contradiction in terms for middle-class women, Rachel Skidelsky, a Russian immigrant with a husband and two children under age ten, was a well-known physician in the city of Philadelphia.

Judith Tannenbaum Shuval

Judith Shuval is one of the main scholars in the field of the sociology of health in Israel. Her research on migration and health, inequality in health, self-care in health, the doctor-patient relationship, and the processes of professional socialization has been based in concrete life in Israel and has broader implications for such topics cross-culturally.

Mindel Cherniack Sheps

As a pioneering physician, biostatistician, and demographer, Mindel Cherniack Sheps was acutely aware of the role science could play as a powerful social force. She taught that peace, social justice, and science were inextricably bound; humanism in any field must be based on social equity and knowledge.

Sarah Shmukler

Sarah Shmukler—nurse, midwife and Second Lit. "ascent." A "calling up" to the Torah during its reading in the synagogue.Aliyah pioneer—is an outstanding example of Israel’s working women. Her death in Yesud ha-Ma’alah in 1919, as she battled a yellow fever epidemic, made her a symbol of the fate of the new woman of the Land of Israel, her creativity and her love.

Regina Schoental

Our knowledge of toxic substances in plants, of mycotoxins, and of aromatic (“coal tar”) and certain other chemicals that cause cancer owes much to the pioneering work of Regina Schoental.

Eva Salber

Using the lessons she learned as a doctor in South Africa, Eva Salber worked with poor populations in Massachusetts and North Carolina to improve public health and empower community leaders. Salber also published three books that sharing her intimate knowledge of the various communities she helped.

Hadassah Rosensaft

Dr. Hadassah Bimko Rosensaft played an instrumental role in saving the lives of fellow concentration camp inmates at Auschwitz-Birkenau and then at Bergen-Belsen. Rosensaft was later involved in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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