Eva Wiseman

Two and a half years ago, the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, in conjunction with Medical Heritage Manitoba – a branch of the University of Manitoba’s medical school, embarked on a very ambitious project: the production of a book devoted to chronicling the history of Jewish physicians in Manitoba. The project was titled “A Century of Manitoba Jewish Physicians” (CMJP for short).




Two of the principal individuals who were driving forces behind the project were Abe Anhang and Dr. Nathan Wiseman. In addition to producing a history of Jewish physicians in Manitoba, a committee made up of current and retired physicians also produced three different programs that offered audiences at the Berney Theatre “vignettes” about various Jewish physicians who left their mark in Manitoba over the years.
In describing the task that lay ahead for those involved in the production of a history of Jewish physicians in Manitoba, Abe Anhang noted that “When we went into the archive to do the book we thought we’d find tons of stuff. Unfortunately, we realized doctors were too busy to leave an archive of their work.”

As a result, Medical Heritage Manitoba, under the guidance of Jordan Bass, medical archivist at the University of Manitoba medical school library, began the process of collecting as much material as possible about Jewish physicians who had spent at least five years in Manitoba over the course of their careers.
At that June 2016 program Bass described what would be involved in collecting information about hundreds of physicians. He said it would be a form of “crowdsourcing”. Anyone who had any information about a list of physicians whose names were given on a website (medheritage.lib.umanitoba.ca) was able to click on a name and offer information about that physician, such as area of specialization or practice; name of medical school attended; any particular non-medical contributions that doctor made to the community (both Jewish and general communities); and various other items of information.
Also, individuals were invited to send any original documents that anyone thought might be of interest to the advisory committee working on this project.

Once the material was gathered, it fell to Eva Wiseman, a noted author in her own right, to put it all together and write the book that is about to be unveiled at an upcoming program at the Berney Theatre at 2:00 pm on November 3, titled “Healing Lives: A Century of Manitoba Jewish Physicians”. The launch of the book will coincide with the final day of Tarbut and the November 3 program is being co-sponsored by the Rady JCC and the Jewish Heritage Centre. (See ad on page 9 for more information.)