Trail of the Magic Bullet

The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960
February 26 - August 12, 2012

Surgery, Newark Beth Israel Hospital, early 20th century, Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey

Contact:  Michael Kaminer, 212-260-9733 michael@michaelkaminer.com

-My Son, the Doctor?- 

Jewish ENCOUNTER WITH Modern Medicine GETS EXAMINED IN YESHIVA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM EXHIBITION 

New York, NY (April 16, 2012)Through original medical instruments, artifacts, images, and documents – from a 1492 medical license and a Rembrandt etching of a Jewish doctor to the first syphilis cure and rare 1920s health posters - Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960 explores the indelible and multi-faceted impact of Jews on modern medicine against the medical establishment’s treatment of Jews.

Developed in conjunction with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine – which itself plays a key historical role for Jews in medicine – Trail of the Magic Bullet is the first museum exhibition to illuminate the profession’s modern Jewish role and legacy, from trailblazing doctors to Jewish hospitals to game-changing medical breakthroughs.  Among the pioneers spotlighted:  Dr. Paul Ehrlich, who discovered an early cure for syphilis, Lillian Wald, founder of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and Dr. Joseph Goldberger, a Hungarian-Jewish physician and epidemiologist who studied connections between disease and poverty.

The exhibition also explores the role medicine played in the development of Jewish communities around the world. Beginning in the 19th century, Jews began to train as doctors in universities and Jewish communities created uniquely Jewish medical institutions. Many Jews saw practicing medicine as a way to integrate into the larger society, to improve the health and economic conditions within their own communities, to blend Jewish traditions and modern identity, and to benefit mankind.

“Medicine was an attractive and relatively open profession for Jews, and medical faculties were frequently more ready to accept Jews than many other disciplines,” said Yeshiva University Museum guest curator Josh Feinberg, who oversaw development of Trail of the Magic Bullet. “Medicine was an entrée into the modern world and Jews entered medicine in large numbers. They blazed trails in a number of new medical specialties such as psychiatry, dermatology, microbiology, and pathology.

But as Jews began studying and practicing in disproportionate numbers, many medical schools instituted quotas, as one letter on display reveals.  The applicant in question was “probably Jewish, but there is no unpleasant evidence of it,” wrote an admissions official of Columbia University Medical School in 1933.  The exhibition also explores the breaking of quotas against Jews in the medical field in the 1950s.

Among artifacts on display in Trail of the Magic Bullet:  An early x-ray of a tubercular human lung; original postcards from Jewish hospitals around the world; a homemade vial of Compound #606 from Dr. Paul Ehrlich, an actual “magic bullet” for syphilis; period nursing costumes; and a papal decree from 1598 forbidding Catholics from consulting Jewish doctors.

A concluding film, Heal, You Shall Heal, produced for the Museum by award-winning filmmaker Ilana Trachtman [Praying with Lior], presents up-to-the-minute perspectives on bioethics and Jewish tradition.  The film is also viewable at vimeo.com/yumuseum/healyoushallheal.

“Visitors will come away from the exhibition vividly aware that many of the medical and bioethical issues and challenges we face today are part of a long trajectory in which Jews and medicine have been in steady dialogue,” said YU Museum Director Jacob Wisse.

Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960 is presented in collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and made possible with the support of the Leon Levy Foundation, The David Berg Foundation, the René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation, Anonymous, and The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

SHARE YOUR STORY - JEWISH EXPERIENCES WITH MODERN MEDICINE

First in your family at med school? Only Jewish doctor in your community, a la Northern Exposure? Or overcome anti-Semitism from the medical establishment? YUM wants to hear from you. Share your story at trailofthemagicbullet.tumblr.com

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

April 18, 4-5 PM: Curator’s Tour with Josh Feinberg, exhibition curator

The Museum will present a series of public programs and curatorial tours in association with the exhibition:

April 23, 6-8 PM: Jewish Women Encountering Modern Medicine. Renowned historian Rakefet Zalashik discusses the myriad effects 150 years of modern medicine had on Jewish women as patients and professionals.

May 9, 4-5 PM: Curator’s Tour with Josh Feinberg, exhibition curator

May 17, 6-8 PM: The Jewish Medical Ethic. A panel of medical and religious experts debates Judaism’s approach to bioethics historically, and the impact of recent medical advances on Jewish medical ethics.  

Images from the Exhibition

Pediatric Ward, Newark Beth Israel Hospital, early 20th century, Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey.



Colorado Sunshine Helps in the Treatment of Tuberculosis Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society, ca. 1930, Beck Archives, Special Collections and Archives, Penrose Library and Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver

 

A nurse saves steps between patients in the tenements by crossing over roofs, 1910, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences, Courtesy of Visiting Nurse Service of New York



Exterminate Flies. They spread diseases. Keep your home and yard clean. Cover your food!, OSE Poster  Printed by Paul Schöpf, Berlin 1926, with the aid of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and distributed in Eastern Europe by OZE, Collection of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research 


Trail of the Magic Bullet

The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960
February 26 - August 12, 2012

Surgery, Newark Beth Israel Hospital, early 20th century, Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey

Contact:  Michael Kaminer, 212-260-9733 michael@michaelkaminer.com

-My Son, the Doctor?- 

Jewish ENCOUNTER WITH Modern Medicine GETS EXAMINED IN YESHIVA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM EXHIBITION 

New York, NY (April 16, 2012)Through original medical instruments, artifacts, images, and documents – from a 1492 medical license and a Rembrandt etching of a Jewish doctor to the first syphilis cure and rare 1920s health posters - Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960 explores the indelible and multi-faceted impact of Jews on modern medicine against the medical establishment’s treatment of Jews.

Developed in conjunction with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine – which itself plays a key historical role for Jews in medicine – Trail of the Magic Bullet is the first museum exhibition to illuminate the profession’s modern Jewish role and legacy, from trailblazing doctors to Jewish hospitals to game-changing medical breakthroughs.  Among the pioneers spotlighted:  Dr. Paul Ehrlich, who discovered an early cure for syphilis, Lillian Wald, founder of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and Dr. Joseph Goldberger, a Hungarian-Jewish physician and epidemiologist who studied connections between disease and poverty.

The exhibition also explores the role medicine played in the development of Jewish communities around the world. Beginning in the 19th century, Jews began to train as doctors in universities and Jewish communities created uniquely Jewish medical institutions. Many Jews saw practicing medicine as a way to integrate into the larger society, to improve the health and economic conditions within their own communities, to blend Jewish traditions and modern identity, and to benefit mankind.

“Medicine was an attractive and relatively open profession for Jews, and medical faculties were frequently more ready to accept Jews than many other disciplines,” said Yeshiva University Museum guest curator Josh Feinberg, who oversaw development of Trail of the Magic Bullet. “Medicine was an entrée into the modern world and Jews entered medicine in large numbers. They blazed trails in a number of new medical specialties such as psychiatry, dermatology, microbiology, and pathology.

But as Jews began studying and practicing in disproportionate numbers, many medical schools instituted quotas, as one letter on display reveals.  The applicant in question was “probably Jewish, but there is no unpleasant evidence of it,” wrote an admissions official of Columbia University Medical School in 1933.  The exhibition also explores the breaking of quotas against Jews in the medical field in the 1950s.

Among artifacts on display in Trail of the Magic Bullet:  An early x-ray of a tubercular human lung; original postcards from Jewish hospitals around the world; a homemade vial of Compound #606 from Dr. Paul Ehrlich, an actual “magic bullet” for syphilis; period nursing costumes; and a papal decree from 1598 forbidding Catholics from consulting Jewish doctors.

A concluding film, Heal, You Shall Heal, produced for the Museum by award-winning filmmaker Ilana Trachtman [Praying with Lior], presents up-to-the-minute perspectives on bioethics and Jewish tradition.  The film is also viewable at vimeo.com/yumuseum/healyoushallheal.

“Visitors will come away from the exhibition vividly aware that many of the medical and bioethical issues and challenges we face today are part of a long trajectory in which Jews and medicine have been in steady dialogue,” said YU Museum Director Jacob Wisse.

Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter with Modern Medicine, 1860-1960 is presented in collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and made possible with the support of the Leon Levy Foundation, The David Berg Foundation, the René and Susanne Braginsky Foundation, Anonymous, and The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

SHARE YOUR STORY - JEWISH EXPERIENCES WITH MODERN MEDICINE

First in your family at med school? Only Jewish doctor in your community, a la Northern Exposure? Or overcome anti-Semitism from the medical establishment? YUM wants to hear from you. Share your story at trailofthemagicbullet.tumblr.com

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

April 18, 4-5 PM: Curator’s Tour with Josh Feinberg, exhibition curator

The Museum will present a series of public programs and curatorial tours in association with the exhibition:

April 23, 6-8 PM: Jewish Women Encountering Modern Medicine. Renowned historian Rakefet Zalashik discusses the myriad effects 150 years of modern medicine had on Jewish women as patients and professionals.

May 9, 4-5 PM: Curator’s Tour with Josh Feinberg, exhibition curator

May 17, 6-8 PM: The Jewish Medical Ethic. A panel of medical and religious experts debates Judaism’s approach to bioethics historically, and the impact of recent medical advances on Jewish medical ethics.  

Images from the Exhibition

Pediatric Ward, Newark Beth Israel Hospital, early 20th century, Collection of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey.



Colorado Sunshine Helps in the Treatment of Tuberculosis Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society, ca. 1930, Beck Archives, Special Collections and Archives, Penrose Library and Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver

 

A nurse saves steps between patients in the tenements by crossing over roofs, 1910, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences, Courtesy of Visiting Nurse Service of New York



Exterminate Flies. They spread diseases. Keep your home and yard clean. Cover your food!, OSE Poster  Printed by Paul Schöpf, Berlin 1926, with the aid of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and distributed in Eastern Europe by OZE, Collection of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research 


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YU Museum creates new ways to experience and interpret Jewish art and history. It is a source for new ideas and perspectives on historic events and cultural phenomena effecting everyone.

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