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!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • 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.