Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis
Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis took a broad and original look at the “medical record” of Jerusalem, examining the human struggle for a healthy life in the unique context of the holy city.
The story of medicine in Jerusalem is a sequence of apostasy, sickness and epidemic intersected by healing, miracles and faith. The exhibition looked at the partnerships and contradictions found in the space between miracles and medicine. It touched on the thousands of years of life in the city through the lens of medical milestones beginning with the days of King David and King Hezekiah to the modern history of Hadassah and Shaare Zedek hospitals.
The exhibition recounted the cures that have survived from Biblical times and reported on how sickness and plague have changed the fate of history. It showed how the holiness and status of Jerusalem brought streams of pilgrims, priests, scholars and travelers to its gates. Many of them needed medical services while others provided medical relief. It focused on the remedies that were invented along with wonder drugs and potions. It also narrated the wars of faith and missionary activity in the 19th century and early 20th century which ironically led to the establishment of hospitals and clinics: a sanatorium established by the London Society for promoting Christianity Among the Jews, Marienstift Children’s Hospital, Meyer Rothschild Hospital – the first Jewish hospital outside the Old City, Bikur Holim, English Mission Hospital and the Italian Hospital.
The positive outcome was the establishment of hospitals that made Jerusalem a center of advanced medicine. In a city that has always been divided by religions, today doctors and nurses of different faiths work side by side treating patients from all backgrounds.
Objects have been brought from around the world and many were being shown to the public for the first time at the Tower of David Museum. Among the artifacts are photo albums from the Rothschild Archives in England, an x-ray machine dating back to the 1920s, the door knocker from the Order of St John’s hospital (lent by the Museum of the Order of St John, London) which according to belief came from the original Crusader hospital, record books from Shaare Zedek, lotions and potions, cuddly toys from 1908 that made children smile despite their illness. Every item tells a distinct story.
The exhibition was spread throughout the Citadel – from the exhibition room in the Phasael Tower, down through the courtyard and garden and into the Crusader Hall..
Curator: Dr. Nirit Shalev-Khalif
Design, Planning and Installation of the Exhibition: Design Mill
Medical Consultants: Professor Raphael Yodsin, Professor Zohar Amar
Scientific Consultants: Professor Estēe Dvorjetski, Professor Eran Dolev
Funding for the exhibition has been given by TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.