The Jewish Doctor: A Brief History

For the Public
Sunday, February 1, 2015
4:00 PM

National Museum of American Jewish History
101 S Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106

For many Jews, the Jewish doctor personifies success, but most don’t realize the central importance of medicine in Jewish modernization. Physicians were important to politics as well as health in the nineteenth century, especially in Germany. Medical advice about such things as Jewish diet, childcare, and burial practices helped narrow the cultural gap between Jews and the rest of society, just as Jews were on the cusp of attaining equal rights. This talk will explore how medicine helped bring science to German Jewry, and, more broadly, how it shaped modern Jewish culture.

Pre-registration strongly recommended. Reserve your free tickets now at


John M. Efron


John M. Efron is the Koret Professor of Jewish History in the Department of History and Director of the Institute for European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Efron’s research focuses on the German-Jewish engagement with medicine, anthropology, and anti-Semitism. He has also written on Jewish political and popular culture in Central Europe, on Yiddish political satire in Poland and Israel, and on the role of sport in the modern Jewish experience. He is author of Medicine and the German Jews: A History (2001); and Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and Race Science in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (1994). He is coauthor of The Jews: A History (2012). He is currently at work on a new book, provisionally titled Orientalism and the German Jews in the Age of Emancipation, a study of modern German Jewry’s attraction to the aesthetics of medieval Sephardic Jewry.

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