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!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.