Further to the many Jewish psychiatrists from Manitoba

Evas bookBy BERNIE BELLAN Elsewhere on this website you can read an article by Gerry Posner about all the Jewish psychiatrists who have come from Manitoba (http://jewishpostandnews.ca/8-features/785-what-s-with-the-jews-of-winnipeg-and-psychiatry). In his column, however, Gerry explained that, for reasons of brevity, he did not include the names of Jewish women psychiatrists. Their names were actually given in Eva Wiseman’s book, “Healing Lives - A Century of Manitoba Jewish Physicians”.


Here are the names, as reported in Eva’s book:
Drs. Sheila Cantor, Marcia Fleisher, Adrian Kettner, Alla Kirshner, Cara Kroft, Gail Lavitt, Debra Lander, Mirtha Lopez-Fisher, Sara Rusen, Fran Steinberg, and Rivian Weinerman.

As well, other names that might have been included in Gerry’s article are: Gary Rodin, Allen Berkal, Leon Mowchun (brother of Neil), Marvin Shane (brother of Fred), Allan Rosenbluth, Lewis Pullmer, Grant Chernick, Neil Kraitberg, Dennis Kussin, and Peter Rosenthal. (Thanks to Dr. Adrian Kettner and Alan Levy for contributing those names.)

Of course, once you unleash an attempt to provide a categorical list of just about anything, others are quick to point out deficiencies in your list.

Gerry Posner himself has been on the receiving end of many emails and phone calls from individuals adding to his original list, including: David Gratzer and Tom Gratzer, Rex Kay, Ken Schwartz and Harold Spivak

We’ve also been receiving emails from individuals adding yet more names to the list. Here are two emails we received:

Hi Bernie,

I’ve been following your last two issues naming Jewish psychiatrists from Manitoba over the years. Unless I missed it, I haven’t seen Ed Chodirker’s name. He practised for the first few years of his career in Winnipeg but spent most of it in Vancouver. He is related to Dr. Nathan Wiseman who is married to Eva the author of the referenced book. I can’t imagine she missed him but its possible. He even came in for her book launch some years ago.

Fred Switzer

And this one:

Our son Joseph Bebchuk graduated in Medicine from U of M in 1988, took his training in Psychiatry in Toronto, and is now practicing in Minneapolis after a career in research in North Carolina and Detroit. So the influence of Manitoba continues. By the way the connection to Psychiatry even goes back to women cousins of mine in Russia who were a generation before mine. Also Rivian Weinerrman and Murray Schachter are my niece and nephew who also graduated from U of M. What a collection of Psychiatrists in one family with roots in Manitoba. I’m now retired and am very proud of having had the opportunity of playing a part in the teaching program in Psychiatry in Manitoba for 53 years. 

Regards,  Bill Bebchuk

So, to try to set the matter straight, we emailed Eva Wiseman herself to ask her how she apparently missed adding a fair number of psychiatrists to what was an extraordinarily comprehensive list of Jewish doctors from Manitoba.

Here is what Eva wrote back:

Re: Jewish psychiatrists

Hi Bernie,

Thank you for your email. I was able to write only about the physicians I knew about. I myself, and several research assistants combed the internet, professional organizations and journals, and interviewed colleagues for 3 years. If nobody told me about a doc or nothing was written about him/her,they weren’t mentioned in the book. I feel bad about it but it couldn’t be helped. I couldn’t write about them if I didn’t know about them.  In any case, I made it clear at the beginning that the book is not an encyclopedia. I did my best but I knew from the beginning that some Jewish docs will be unfortunately missed.

One of the prerequisites to appear in the book, also mentioned in the beginning, was for a doc to practice in Manitoba for five years. If he practiced in the province less time than that, he wasn’t mentioned in the book. There were too many docs who spent a short time in Manitoba and then left. Nathan’s cousin Ed Chodirker, a psychiatrist in Vancouver fell into this category as did my brother-in-law DAVID, a radiologist in Calgary, and my own son Sam, a cancer surgeon in Vancouver. I don’t know which of the docs in your list on page 6 fell into this category as I didn’t keep track of the ones who stayed in Manitoba a short time only or not at all after graduating from medical school in Winnipeg.

However , LEON MOWCHUN and MARVIN SHANE ARE ON PAGE 436 of Healing Lives. Bill BEBchuk’s son JOSEPH AND RUSSIAN COUSINS, mentioned in the letter below, are on p. 429 and RIVIAN WEinermann And MURRAY SCHACTER ON P.436.

Could you please put these corrections and my  explanation for selection criteria  into the next issue? I don’t want these people to  feel overlooked or believe that I was negligent.

I hope this explains the content to you.

Thank you for your interest. 

All the best,