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#1
Old 01-11-2004, 02:12 PM
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Why is "Jewish" in many hospital names?

Up here in Western Canada I've read newspaper articles referring to American hospitals with "Jewish" as part of the name. Have Jewish donors contributed funds to build them? Why haven't I read about "Moslem" hospitals?
#2
Old 01-11-2004, 02:34 PM
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The history of Harvard teaching hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center explains that Beth Israel Hospital (one of the original hospitals) was founded by Jews to treat the local Jewish community. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has largely the same history. In fact, the CSMC donor list reads like a "Who's Who" of the L.A. Jewish community.

These hospitals do treat non-Jews; many of them have since become teaching hospitals affiliated with medical schools. The likely reason that you haven't heard about "Muslim" hospitals is because there's no real need for them. If there were, or if there were a larger Muslim population in the US, there would probably be Muslim hospitals.

Robin
#3
Old 01-11-2004, 04:09 PM
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There are also plenty of Methodist hospitals, and the Catholic ones are usually called "St. Somebody." It's the same process, really. A group of folks in the same church pool their money and clout to fill the community's need for a new hospital.
#4
Old 01-11-2004, 04:16 PM
JHW JHW is offline
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In the late 19th and early 20th century, as the Jewish population in North America increased, many institutions (hospitals, universities, etc.) set up quota systems that limited the number of Jews that could attend or work in them. In cities with a large enough Jewish population, the community would often set up their own hospital to enable Jewish doctors to practice without being subject to the quotas. Here's an example for Louisville, Kentucky (about a quarter of the way down the page):
http://wku.edu/kentuckyfolkweb/P...fe_Jewish.html

Also, you don't have to look to the US for examples of Jewish hospitals -- there's a big one in Montreal: http://jgh.ca
The reason why there aren't any in Western Canada is probably because the Jewish communities there were just too small to support them -- by the time they were large enough, the era of institutionalized discrimination had passed and so the need for them was less acute. Contrast this to Montreal, which has had a significant Jewish community from the 19th century on.

This also explains why "Muslim" hospitals are not prevalent in North America. Muslim immigration to Canada and the US is much more recent than Jewish immigration, and young Muslims seeking to practice medicine here don't encounter the kind of discrimination that Jews did in the 1930s and 40s.
#5
Old 01-11-2004, 05:14 PM
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For the same reason that:
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • St. Name one
is in the name of so many other hospitals.
#6
Old 01-12-2004, 09:07 AM
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Go to Buffalo, and you'll find that all hospitals that aren't secular are Catholic. Nothing Methodist, Jewish, Lutheran or otherwise.

Buffalo had a good-sized Jewish population in the 1930s and 1940s, but they didn't face the discrimination that they faced in other cities.
#7
Old 01-12-2004, 04:44 PM
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Besides the discriminatory policies that JHW mentioned, a more serious issue was that in the 19th century it was common for hospital personnel (chaplains and nurses) to try proselytizing among the patients in Christian hospitals. Another impetus for the founding of "Jewish" hospitals was that they would be able to guarantee the availability of kosher food for the patients.
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#8
Old 01-13-2004, 02:57 PM
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When I was a baby lawyer my firm represented Presbyterian Hospital here in NYC - interesing history. I understand that in the 19th century it was pretty typical for hospitals only to admit patients of a certain religion. Protestant hospitals, such as Presbyterian, would often admit other Protestants, but discrimination against Catholics and Jews was rife. I was not, however, aware of proseltyzing - not that I find it exactly surprising.

We really have made progress in some ways....
#9
Old 01-13-2004, 03:44 PM
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Re: the prostletyzing

I don't know that there were ever any formal policies, but in Catholic hospitals the sisters would try to obtain deathbed conversions and "secretly" baptize newborns of parents of other faiths. This hasn't happened in any large-scale manner for some years, but used to be more common. Currently, most Catholic hospitals are not run & staffed by Sisterhoods, and the religious nature has become less overt. Also, there are now state and federal laws about healthcare access that now remove the impetus that lead to the formation of different hospitals for different communities.

Case in point: In Hartford, CT, the Jewish hospital (Mt. Sinai) merged into the Catholic one (St. Francis), which is now run by a secular CEO and Board of Directors. At one time, however, it was very important for the Jewish community here to have it's "own" hospital.
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