Touro University Nevada welcomed Dr. Ed Halperin, Chancellor & CEO of New York Medical College, for a special lecture on the assaults on the Jewish interns of Kings County Hospital in 1916 and 1927.
Halperin’s lecture, co-sponsored by the Clark County Medical Society and Jewish Nevada and attended by nearly 100 people, discussed the impact of the Kings County assaults and how they relate to the contemporary debate on racism in higher education.
“Sometimes time in linear, and sometimes it is circular,” Halperin said in regards to how the events of the past are relevant to the present.
Halperin began his lecture by discussing the rise of anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. After Alexander’s death in 1881, there was a rise in “pogroms” across Russia, attacks by non-Jews on the local Jewish population.
He discussed how anti-Semitism found its way into medical education in the United States, though acts of violence rarely flared up. That is until 1916, when a handful of Jewish interns at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn were taken from their beds and beaten by some of their fellow residents in the middle of the night.
As the lecture progressed, Halperin discussed the outcomes of the victims as well as their attackers, which led to a discussion about the similarities between racial and ethnic discrimination in the early 20th century and current day.
Halperin concluded his lecture by encouraging the audience to take a proactive stance on discrimination and intervene when injustices are being committed.
Shelley Berkley, Touro’s CEO and Senior Provost, called Halperin’s lecture “mesmerizing.”
“Dr. Halperin’s lecture shows the importance of understanding our history and knowing when to speak out when hatred and bigotry emerge,” Berkley said. “We were honored to host him for his incredible discussion.”