Establishing Hospitals

The Glorious Work of Restoring Health

Jewish hospitals emerged in 19th–century America to answer several needs. They helped to provide medical care for the destitute, and, when possible, they made available a rabbi, religious services and kosher food. They were also an answer to the recent increase in deathbed conversions among Jewish patients in non–Jewish hospitals. Philanthropists, community members and organizations gave these institutions crucial financial support.

Providing excellent medical care became even more important to Jewish communities in times of deadly cholera outbreaks. Cincinnati’s Jewish Hospital—which was the first Jewish hospital in the United States—opened in 1850 in part to respond to the dangerous spread of cholera.

Touro Infirmary was named for its founder, Judah Touro. Created in 1852, it was the first not–for–profit and faith–based hospital in New Orleans.

Jews’ Hospital was founded in New York City in 1852. It was supported by contributions to the Hebrew Hospital Fund, which held charity balls and other events to raise money. In 1866, Jews’ Hospital changed its name to Mount Sinai Hospital. The name–change underlined the hospital’s commitment to treating not only Jews, but all people in need. In fact, during the Civil War, the hospital treated many soldiers regardless of their religious affiliations.

  • Daguerreotype of philanthropist Judah Touro.

    Mid-19th century

  • Minutes from a Jews’ Hospital board meeting about planning a ball to raise money. These are perhaps the first board minutes in the hospital’s history.

    1852

  • Order of the services at the inauguration of Jews’ Hospital.

    1855

  • Honorary Member Certificate to Jews’ Hospital.

    1858

  • Admission to a banquet and ball held at Niblo’s Saloon to benefit Jews’ Hospital.

    1858

  • Prayer for aversion of cholera. Jacques Judah Lyons, minister of Congregation Shearith Israel.

    Mid-19th century

  • Proceedings for laying the cornerstone of Mount Sinai Hospital.

    1870

  • Dedication program for the New Jewish Hospital and Home for the Aged and Infirmed.

    1873

  • Letter from Touro Infirmary thanking the Purim Association for donating money to support the hospital.

    1878

  • Railroad trip to aid the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia.

    1878

  • Image of the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia building.

    Turn of the 20th century

  • Photo of the operating room of the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia.

    Turn of the 20th century

  • Photo of the solarium of the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia.

    Turn of the 20th century

  • Section of a ward of the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.

    Turn of the 20th century

  • Invitation to the laying of the cornerstone of Mount Sinai Hospital.

    1901

  • Program and admission ticket to the laying of the cornerstone of new Mount Sinai Hospital buildings.

    1901

  • Scenes from the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia.

    1930s

  • Children’s ward of the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia.

    1930s

  • Request for funds to support the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati.

    20th century

  • Lawrence B. Buttenwieser, Board member of Montefiore Medical Center and key figure in UJA-Federation, speaks on the Jewishness of Montefiore.

    1982


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