UI Health Celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month 2024

Dr. H. Robert Horvitz
Dr. H. Robert Horvitz

This May, UI Health proudly celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month, recognizing the profound contributions of Jewish Americans in healthcare and culture. Chicago is home to the third-largest Jewish American population in the United States, following New York and Los Angeles. From historical neighborhoods like West Rogers Park and Hyde Park to monumental medical discoveries by Chicago natives like Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, Jewish Americans have deeply influenced our society.

Historically, Jewish American doctors faced significant bias and discrimination in the medical field. This prejudice led to restrictions on their ability to practice in many hospitals and limitations on their acceptance into medical schools. In response, the Jewish community established its own medical facilities, which have grown into some of the most respected institutions worldwide.  

For example, Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, initially founded as Maimonides Hospital in 1912, was named for a great Torah scholar and philosopher committed to moderation. Reorganized and renamed, it reopened as Mount Sinai Hospital in 1919. This institution served the Jewish community's initial needs and became a pioneering center for medical research and care, benefiting people of all backgrounds globally. 

Since 2006, each U.S. President has annually proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month, highlighting the resilience and contributions of this community. This tradition underscores the national recognition of Jewish Americans' significant impact on the fabric of American society. Continuing this tradition, President Biden’s proclamation for 2024 not only celebrates the cultural and societal contributions of Jewish Americans but also acknowledges their pivotal role in shaping healthcare. Read the full proclamation here

Visit jewishamericanheritage.org to learn more about Jewish American Heritage Month, explore events, and access educational materials. 

We often hear how much attendees have enjoyed participating in our Cultural and Heritage Month initiatives and events. Please consider being a part of the Cultural & Heritage subcommittee. Your ideas and insights are welcome here. Fill out our online interest form or email UIHealthDiversity@uic.edu.


Read more about the achievements and contributions of Jewish Americans in our community throughout the years.