Sinai Hospital Nurses

Posted on June 11th, 2013 by

Elaine Hall

A blog post by summer intern Elaine Hall. Elaine is working in our exhibitions department with curator Karen Falk.

This summer I am lucky enough to be an intern doing research for an exhibit at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. I specifically applied to this position because of my interest in the topic of an upcoming exhibit on Jewish Health and Healing. Due to my background in both anthropology and biology as well as my future in public health, this topic seemed like a perfect way to put my education to use and gain some interesting experience relating to health.

The exhibit is in its very beginning stages, which gives me an interesting opportunity to be involved in the design of the overall concepts to be included. However before I can really dive into planning and brainstorming it is important that I become familiar with the topic. I am attempting to get to know this subject by looking through the related collections at the museum, articles that have been gathered on the subject as well as on Jewish doctors, and interviews that the museum and others have conducted. I especially enjoy reading through the interviews of prominent Jewish doctors, nurses, and community members that have been collected. Listening to individuals tell their personal stories always ends up being both emotional and educational, in the best ways.

The women of the Sinai Hospital nursing school from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s were facing discrimination and limitation of opportunities because they were Jewish AND because they were women. They describe going into nursing as a natural choice, since there were not many other options as far as higher education and good career opportunities were concerned and because they were drawn towards service.

Tobi Mower, a former Sinai Hospital nurse gave her stories of Nursing School in an interview conducted by the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Tobi Mower graduated from Sinai Hospital Nursing School in 1963 and is a fascinating and passionate woman. She is well known for her pursuance of women’s rights and her rule-breaking attitude. The Sinai Hospital was created in the mid 1800’s to provide a place where Jewish patients could eat Kosher food, be a part of holiday rituals, and be given appropriate care. However it also served as a place for Jewish nurses and doctors to do their internships and residencies in a time when they were blocked from many opportunities.

Nursing School graduating class of 1963.

Nursing School graduating class of 1963.

“It was more or less like sink or swim, and if you didn’t swim, you sunk, and you were kicked out.” Tobi Mower

Instructor and student nurses around 1959.

Instructor and student nurses around 1959.

“I was picked out as a troublemaker early from my training… Because I was an older girl and I thought some of the rules were really, really stupid” Tobi Mower

 A nurse, possibly Molly Roseman, pinning a cap on a student nurse in a capping ceremony.

A nurse, possibly Molly Roseman, pinning a cap on a student nurse in a capping ceremony.

“If you had a wrinkle in your uniform, you found out about it from Molly, or if you had a scuff mark on your white shoes, you found out about it from Molly, or if your starched nursing cap was disheveled, you found out… she scared everybody, except me…She was screaming at the top of her voice. And I just looked at her, and I said to her, ‘Ms. Roseman, are you finished?’ And she said ‘yes,’ in a very harsh voice. I said ‘fine,’ and as nice- as polite as I could be, but as forceful as I could be, I said, ‘Don’t you ever do that to me again. I don’t allow my mother to yell at me like that anymore, and I will not allow you to do that to me anymore.’ And she just looked at me like I slapped her in the face, but I never had another problem with Molly after that. She loved me, and I think that’s the way when we stood up for ourselves, those of us that felt comfortable with it, we were treated with more respect.” Tobi Mower

Student nurses and doctor with a patient.

Student nurses and doctor with a patient.

“And I remember one doctor asked me for scissors, and I gave him a scissor, and he threw it across the room. And I started crying- well, I wasn’t about to let him see my tears. And he said ‘Young lady, didn’t anybody ever teach you that when we do a breast, we use a [curved or straight] instead of what you gave me?’… And I said ‘no sir, I’m here to learn and be taught.’… While we were waiting for the results of the biopsy, I walked away from the table and broke scrub… ‘I’m not going to have that man [meaning the surgeon] abuse me anymore.’ … And never had a student broken scrub on a private doctor … That doctor did come over to me and apologized, and asked me if I’d rescrub. Yeah. Once again I stood up for myself.” Tobi Mower

Student nurse and doctor with a young patient.

Student nurse and doctor with a young patient.

“And then there was- you know, there was a lot of sexual harassment in those years… But in those years it wasn’t considered sexual harassment. In fact, I reminded this guy, who’s now an old man, that if he had done the same thing 20 years later, he would’ve had his rear end hauled to court a lot of times.” Tobi Mower

References:

  1. Kellman, Naomi. “The Origins of Health Care for the Hebrew Poor.” Generations (Spring 1988): 13.
  2. Mower, Tobi and Morton. Interview By Barry Lever. Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, 2001.
  3. Umansky, Paul I. “The Story of Sinai Hospital, 1866 to 1959.” Generations (Fall 1998): 12-16.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




MS 203 Borden Family Collection

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by

Borden Family Collection

n.d, 1895-1953

 MS 203

The Jewish Museum of Maryland

ACCESION AND PROVENANCE

The Borden Family Collection was donated to the Jewish Museum of Maryland by Neal Borden in 2009 as accession 2009.051.  Jennifer Vess processed the collection in March 2012.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.  Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.

Ketubah for Nathan Bordensky and Sadie Nachlas Bordensky, June 29, 1911. 2009.51.20

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Nathan Bordensky (also spelled Bordenski) was born July 15, 1885 (or possibly 1887) in Eastern Europe (possibly Polandor, Ukraine).  He graduated from the Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons (later merged with the University of Maryland Medical School) in 1907.  Bordensky practiced in southwest Baltimore at offices on Pulaski Highway and Wilkens Ave. In 1911 he married Sadie Nachlas, born in Maryland in July 1893.  Their oldest son, Melvin was born June 16, 1913 and a second son, Jesse, followed about three years later.  Nathan died in 1926.  After he died the family changed the name from Bordesnky to Borden and for a time lived with Sadie's mother, Rose.  Sadie died in 1976.

Sadie’s father Harris Nachlas (born 1867) and mother Rose (born c. 1877) immigrated to the United States from Russia some time before October of 1892.  Harris and Rose had several children and Sadie may have been the oldest.

Melvin Borden married Edith Silberg (born c. 1915), the daughter of Abraham Silberg (a tailor born c. 1884 in Russia) and Lena Silver Silberg (born c. 1888 inRussia).  Melvin became a doctor and the couple had two sons Neal D. Borden and John S. Borden.  Melvin served in the military during World War II.  He died in 1984 and Edith died in 2003.

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Sources: Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 – http:///www.mdhistoryonline.net/mdmedicine/index.cfm?action=search; US Census 1900-1930

Melvin N. Borden seated at a desk during World War II. 2009.51.14

Uniform jacket worn by Melvin Borden during World War II. 2009.51.8a

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Borden Family Collection consists of documents, photographs and objects related to multiple generations and branches of the Borden family.  The archival collection consists of certificates, diplomas, books, booklets, etc. related to Harris Nachlas, Nathan Bordensky, Sadie Nachlas Bordensky (Borden), Melvin Borden, and Edith Silberg Borden.  The documents are organized chronologically.
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Melvin N. Borden after he retired from being a doctor. 2009.51.15

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Posted in jewish museum of maryland




MS 100 Abramovitz Medical Papers

Posted on August 4th, 2011 by

Dr. Morris Abramovitz's office sign. 2001.26.8

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Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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