Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-11-2004, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 287
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?
Old 01-11-2004, 02:34 PM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between the Moon and NYC
Posts: 13,023
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.

Old 01-11-2004, 04:09 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,741
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.
Old 01-11-2004, 04:16 PM
JHW JHW is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 42
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):

Also, you don't have to look to the US for examples of Jewish hospitals -- there's a big one in Montreal:
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.
Old 01-11-2004, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pratts, Mississippi
Posts: 6,246
For the same reason that:
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • St. Name one
is in the name of so many other hospitals.
Old 01-12-2004, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 9,335
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.
Old 01-12-2004, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posts: 209
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.
Should I ever meet one of these people [spammers who send out nonsense messages], it will be difficult to refrain from sending out my fist in search of his nose. Just to find out whether it's a real, valid nose, of course.--Lileks

When data encryption is made a crime, pomz dsjnimbmt xjmm fodszqu ebub.--Malacandra
Old 01-13-2004, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: New York City Boy
Posts: 2,524
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....
Old 01-13-2004, 03:44 PM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,698
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.

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:29 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: what is m99 poster scanner fire incorporated band widmer lake niagara zaaz machine review subtle puns doublju wiki musical motif hershey bar ounces gunshots noise swallowing pomegranate seeds spiciest thing at taco bell hobby lobby dollhouse kit garmin watch calorie counter stillborn kitten what to do xfinity x1 not recording how to print my own checks according to george, in the beginning, the erstwhile leader of the beatles was what is a nomad biker end of the bed chest can you make regular waffles in a belgian waffle maker is zzzquil addictive yahoo do deer alerts work songs with hey hey hey