Protecting Jewish Health

Photo Essay

By Jesse Aaron Cohen

Published January 20, 2006, issue of January 20, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A new exhibit at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York highlights the history of a little-known organization called Society for the Protection of Jewish Health. Assistant Curator Jesse Aaron Cohen offers a preview of “Fighting for a Healthy New Generation,” which was curated by Krysia Fisher.

In 1912, the Obshchestwo Zdravookhraneniya Yevreyev (or OZE) was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia, charging itself with the task of preventing, detecting and treating disease among the Jewish people, with a special emphasis on the health of Jewish children. Over the next three decades, this organization, in its multiple incarnations, provided an unprecedented range of services aimed at improving the health, hygiene and quality of life of the most vulnerable members of Jewish society. These services included the publication and distribution of posters and educational pamphlets, the implementation of public lectures addressing health and hygienic issues, and the establishment and maintenance of hundreds of Jewish hospitals, nurseries and summer camps for orphans and needy children.

Through its work on the ground, often with the aid of American Jewish organizations, OZE and its affiliates succeeded in raising the standard of living of thousands of Jews across Eastern Europe, with very little government support. The story of OZE, therefore, is a lens through which to see just one of the innovative ways in which Eastern European Jews coped with the challenges of a world changing around them.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.