From the desk of Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank, MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
December 23, 2021

*Humility, Wisdom, Brilliant, Caring, Well Known Physicians
with Tremendous Yiras Shamayim.

*Pride with Kiddush H-Orthodox Jewish Men and Women Reaching Lofty Heights.

*A remarkable video for Rebbitzens- the transformation of a scientist in her Yiddishkeit
and why she prepared her Shabbos chicken soup in her science lab.
{The video is right below her biographical}

*This scientist was a role model andwas the first Orthodox Jewish female to win the Nobel Prize having a kosher home was of great importance. [Continue reading for amazing additional information, her biographical and her name].

*The importance of understanding the medical team on behalf of a patient and family
for a Rav guiding them with decision making al pi halacha.

*The Orthodox Jewish Healthcare chaplain, member of the interdisciplinary team.
*HIPPPA and confidentiality.

This past Sunday December 19th, Rabbi Doniel Kramer, Rabbi Simcha Silverman and I attended the seminar “Spiritual Growth While Working in Medicine” (see the flyer to this seminar below). The presenters Dr. Michael Zelefsky, Dr. Edward Reichman and Dr Judah Weinberger addressed fellow doctors, a scientist, Orthodox Jewish medical students and others with tremendous brilliance, and humility. Dr Reichman also shared very interesting and meaningful historic insights “Jews and Medicine- A Longstanding Traditon” from the 15th century and on .There will be a link of this seminar which Rabbi Kramer will be sending to the RCA Chaplaincy Committee and the Orthodox Jewish Healthcare Chaplains Listserv and I via the RAA Chaplaincy Commission. Rabbi Silverman attended not only as a Rav of a shul, but on behalf of the RAA Chaplaincy Commission. We not only absorbed the essence of what was presented, but gave us opportunities to meet with the presenters including members of the Jewish Physicians Network and other medical organizations present. Rabbi Yossi Sprung presented the importance of the halacha and medicine. One of the main thrust was the importance of those in the medical profession who have important and often urgent sheilos and to know which poskim to discuss them with. Also to have complete and accurate information about their patients with serious decisions they have to make – often a matter of life and death- Pikuach Nefesh sheilos. It is interesting to note, that at our Orthodox Jewish Healthcare Chaplains conference “Halachic Challenges of the Orthodox Healthcare Jewish Chaplains” April 26, 2021 via zoom with Rabbi Welcher and Rabbi Dr. Glatt, amongst the many topics and questions from the chaplains they addressed were situations when or should a chaplain recluse him/herself. Physicians also discuss with their poskim situations whether of not they should or could be involved in. Physicians are often called upon by the patient, care giver, family members for their expertise and knowledge of the patients condition, their opinions regarding treatment and procedures to assist in decision making. Physicians are also consulted by rabbonim on behalf of family members and caregivers to help with their decision making al pi halacha. Orthodox Jewish Healthcare chaplains are often asked for their advice and guidance. They will recommend the patients, their family members or caregivers the importance of feeling comfortable discussing with their doctors all the facets of the patients condition and decision making. The chaplain who is a member of the interdisciplinary team is not only present for family meetings with the team, but often is requested to be a liaison between the rabbi, family and physicians. However, it is vital for a rav to clearly understand what the medical team is sharing with him. There is no question of the importance in matters of life and death, of pikuach nefesh to seek the guidance of a posek. Understanding medical terms, the depth and breadth of treatments and procedures is very important to help guide the family or care givers.

I would like to stress as I have mentioned in previous articles, due to HIPPA Requirements and regulations (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) there is confidentiality which must be adhered to by all medical facilities. Therefore, it is important for whoever is the designated healthcare proxy or representative of the patient to notify the medical staff or social worker that their rabbi( including his name and any contact information requested) is authorized by them to discuss the patient with the medical team. However, if the patient is deemed capable of making his or her own decisions, then the authorization should come from that patient. Unless the patient who is capable of making his/her own decisions makes it known to the medical team and social worker that he/she requests the healthcare proxy or designated family member or caregiver to be included in patient and interdisciplinary meetings and or discussions to help the patient with his/her decisions. There are situations where family does not wish for the patient to know his/her medical condition for whatever reason they might have and should be discussed with the patients doctors, medical team and social worker as to what their concerns are. Unfortunately, there are often times when there is machlokes amongst the children of a patient with more than one who feels only their rabbi should be consulted with and only their decisions should be respected. Such machlokes, can be a deterrent with such descent and different options making a serious situation for the patients care. It is vital for a family to come together in the best interest of the patient.

Rabbi Kramer has been disseminating important information to the Orthodox Jewish Healthcare Chaplains Listserv and RCA Chaplaincy Committee. He is to be commended for his continuous follow ups and encouragement in professional chaplaincy. I in turn am grateful to offer various programs, webinars and presentations for rabbonim, rebbitzens and chaplains via the RAA. Doniel and I are colleagues who collaborate with each other, seeking meaningful and wonderful opportunities for the furtherance, continuity and appreciation of professional chaplaincy. Rabbi Kramer is also the Clinical Chaplain at Hudson Valley Veteran Affairs Healthcare System. He is also quoted in the video about Dr. Yalow (from Jew in the City) Orthodox Unexpected.

I mentioned in my first paragraph one of the attendees was a scientist. It is not always that I get to meet a scientist let alone an Orthodox Jewish female scientist. I was in awe of her humility. There are Orthodox Jewish men and women achieving many lofty heights in almost every professional field. They are Mekadeish H in many ways. When I mentioned to Rabbi Kramer of the presence of this scientist who was attending the seminar, he brought to my attention about Rosalyn Sussman Yalow PhD, the first Orthodox Jewish female Nobel Laurate. “The first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1977 in Physiology & Medicine for inventing Radioimmunoassoy (RIA) and whose father in law was an Orthodox rabbi. “When she majored in chemistry and physics at Hunter College the first person to do so even after hearing she could not make it in science as a woman and a Jew. She became the second woman to receive a PhD in physics from the University of Illinois in 1943. She married Aaron Yalow an Orthodox Jewish rabbi’s son with whom she created an observant home”. (from Jew in the City Orthodox Unexpected)

Rosalyn Yalow – Biographical (

“I was born on July 19, 1921 in New York City and have always resided and worked there except for 3 1/2 years when I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois. Perhaps the earliest memories I have are of being a stubborn, determined child. Through the years my mother has told me that it was fortunate that I chose to do acceptable things, for if I had chosen otherwise no one could have deflected me from my path. My mother, née Clara Zipper, came to America from Germany at the age of four. My father, Simon Sussman, was born on the Lower East Side of New York, the Melting Pot for Eastern European immigrants. Neither had the advantage of a high school education but there was never a doubt that their two children would make it through college. I was an early reader, reading even before kindergarten, and since we did not have books in my home, my older brother, Alexander, was responsible for our trip every week to the Public Library to exchange books already read for new ones to be read.

By seventh grade I was committed to mathematics. A great chemistry teacher at Walton High School, Mr. Mondzak, excited my interest in chemistry, but when I went to Hunter, the college for women in New York City’s college system (now the City University of New York), my interest was diverted to physics especially by Professors Herbert N. Otis and Duane Roller. In the late ’30’s when I was in college, physics, and in particular nuclear physics, was the most exciting field in the world. It seemed as if every major experiment brought a Nobel Prize. Eve Curie had just published the biography of her mother, Madame Marie Curie, which should be a must on the reading list of every young aspiring female scientist. As a Junior at college, I was hanging from the rafters in Room 301 of Pupin Laboratories (a physics lecture room at Columbia University) when Enrico Fermi gave a colloquium in January 1939 on the newly discovered nuclear fission – which has resulted not only in the terror and threat of nuclear warfare but also in the ready availability of radioisotopes for medical investigation and in hosts of other peaceful applications.

I was excited about achieving a career in physics. My family, being more practical, thought the most desirable position for me would be as an elementary school teacher. Furthermore, it seemed most unlikely that good graduate schools would accept and offer financial support for a woman in physics. However my physics professors encouraged me and I persisted. As I entered the last half of my senior year at Hunter in September 1940 I was offered what seemed like a good opportunity. Since I could type, another of my physics professors, Dr. Jerrold Zacharias, now at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, obtained a part time position for me as a secretary to Dr. Rudolf Schoenheimer, a leading biochemist at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S). This position was supposed to provide an entrée for me into graduate courses, via the backdoor, but I had to agree to take stenography. On my graduation from Hunter in January 1941, I went to business school. Fortunately I did not stay there too long. In mid-February I received an offer of a teaching assistantship in physics at the University of Illinois, the most prestigious of the schools to which I had applied. It was an achievement beyond belief. I tore up my stenography books, stayed on as secretary until June and during the summer took two tuition-free physics courses under government auspices at New York University. In September I went to Champaign-Urbana, the home of the University of Illinois. At the first meeting of the Faculty of the College of Engineering I discovered I was the only woman among its 400 members. The Dean of the Faculty congratulated me on my achievement and told me I was the first woman there since 1917. It is evident that the draft of young men into the armed forces, even prior to American entry into the World War, had made possible my entrance into graduate school.

On the first day of graduate school I met Aaron Yalow, who was also beginning graduate study in physics at Illinois and who in 1943 was to become my husband. The first year was not easy. From junior high school through Hunter College, I had never had boys in my classes, except for a thermodynamics course which I took at City College at night and the two summer courses at NYU. Hunter had offered a physics major for the first time in September 1940 when I was an upper senior. As a result my course work in physics had been minimal for a major – less than that of the other first year graduate students. Therefore at Illinois I sat in on two undergraduate courses without credit, took three graduate courses and was a half-time assistant teaching the freshman course in physics. Like nearly all first-year teaching assistants, I had never taught before – but unlike the others I also undertook to observe in the classroom of a young instructor with an excellent reputation so that I could learn how it should be done.

It was a busy time. I was delighted to receive a straight A in two of the courses, an A in the lecture half of the course in Optics and an A- in its laboratory. The Chairman of the Physics Department, looking at this record, could only say “That A- confirms that women do not do well at laboratory work”. But I was no longer a stubborn, determined child, but rather a stubborn, determined graduate student. The hard work and subtle discrimination were of no moment.

Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 brought our country into the war. The Physics Department was becoming decimated by loss of junior and senior faculty to secret scientific work elsewhere. The campus was filled with young Army and Navy students sent to the campus by their respective Services for training. There was a heavy teaching load, graduate courses, an experimental thesis requiring long hours in the laboratory, marriage in 1943, war-time housekeeping with its shortages and rationing, and in January 1945 a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. My thesis director was Dr. Maurice Goldhaber, later to become Director of Brookhaven National Laboratories. Support and encouragement came from the Goldhabers. Dr. Gertrude Goldhaber, his wife, was a distinguished physicist in her own right, but with no University position because of nepotism rules. Since my research was in nuclear physics I became skilled in making and using apparatus for the measurement of radioactive substances. The war was continuing. I returned to New York without my husband in January 1945 since completion of his thesis was delayed and I accepted a position as assistant engineer at Federal Telecommunications Laboratory, a research laboratory for ITT – the only woman engineer. When the research group in which I was working left New York in 1946, I returned to Hunter College to teach physics, not to women but to returning veterans in a preengineering program.

My husband had come to New York in September 1945. We established our home in an apartment in Manhattan, then in a small house in the Bronx. It and a full-time teaching position at Hunter were hardly enough to occupy my time fully. By this time my husband was in Medical Physics at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. Through him I met Dr. Edith Quimby, a leading medical physicist at P&S. I volunteered to work in her laboratory to gain research experience in the medical applications of radioisotopes. She took me to see “The Chief”, Dr. G. Failla, Dean of American medical physicists. After talking to me for a while, he picked up the phone, dialed, and I heard him say “Bernie, if you want to set up a radioisotope service, I have someone here you must hire.” Dr. Bernard Roswit, Chief of the Radiotherapy Service at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital and I appeared to have no choice; Dr. Failla had spoken.

I joined the Bronx VA as a part time consultant in December 1947, keeping my position at Hunter until the Spring Semester of 1950. During those years while I was teaching full-time, I equipped and developed the Radioisotope Service and started research projects together with Dr. Roswit and other physicians in the hospital in a number of clinical fields. Though we started with nothing more than a janitor’s closet and a small grant to Dr. Roswit from a veterans’ group, eight publications in different areas of clinical investigation resulted from this early work. The VA wisely made a commitment to set up Radioisotope Services in several of its hospitals around the country because of its appreciation that this was a new field in which research had to proceed pari passu with clinical application. Our hospital Radioisotope Service was one of the first supported under this plan.

In January 1950 I chose to leave teaching and join the VA full time. That Spring when he was completing his residency in internal medicine at the Bronx VA, Dr. Solomon A. Berson and I met and in July he joined our Service. Thus was to begin a 22 year partnership that lasted until the day of his death, April 11, 1972. Unfortunately, he did not survive to share the Nobel Prize with me as he would have had he lived.
During that period Aaron and I had two children, Benjamin and Elanna. We bought a house in Riverdale, less than a mile from the VA. With sleep-in help until our son was 9, and part-time help of decreasing time thereafter, we managed to keep the house going and took pride in our growing children: Benjamin, now 25, is a systems programmer at the CUNY Computer Center; Elanna, now 23, is a third year doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology at Stanford University. She has just married Daniel Webb and is with us on part of her honeymoon.

But to return to the scientific aspects of my life, after Sol joined our Service, I soon gave up collaborative work with others and concentrated on our joint researches. Our first investigations together were in the application of radioisotopes in blood volume determination, clinical diagnosis of thyroid diseases and the kinetics of iodine metabolism. We extended these techniques to studies of the distribution of globin, which had been suggested for use as a plasma expander, and of serum proteins. It seemed obvious to apply these methods to smaller peptides, i.e., the hormones. Insulin was the hormone most readily available in a highly purified form. We soon deduced from the retarded rate of disappearance of insulin from the circulation of insulin-treated subjects that all these patients develop antibodies to the animal insulins. In studying the reaction of insulin with antibodies, we appreciated that we had developed a tool with the potential for measuring circulating insulin. It took several more years of work to transform the concept into the reality of its practical application to the measurement of plasma insulin in man. Thus the era of radioimmunoassay (RIA) can be said to have begun in 1959. RIA is now used to measure hundreds of substances of biologic interest in thousands of laboratories in our country and abroad, even in scientifically less advanced lands.

It is of interest from this brief history that neither Sol nor I had the advantage of specialized post-doctoral training in investigation. We learned from and disciplined each other and were probably each other’s severest critic. I had the good fortune to learn medicine not in a formal medical school but directly from a master of physiology, anatomy and clinical medicine. This training was essential if I were to use my scientific background in areas in which I had no formal education.

Sol’s leaving the laboratory in 1968 to assume the Chairmanship of the Department of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his premature death 4 years later were a great loss to investigative medicine. At my request the laboratory which we shared has been designated the Solomon A. Berson Research Laboratory so that his name will continue to be on my papers as long as I publish and so that his contributions to our Service will be memorialized. At present my major collaborator is a young, talented physician, Dr. Eugene Straus, who joined me in 1972, first as a Fellow, then as Research Associate and now as Clinical Investigator. Through the years Sol and I together, and now I alone, have enjoyed the time spent with the “professional children”, the young investigators who trained in our laboratory and who are now scattered throughout the world, many of whom are now leaders in clinical and investigative medicine. In the training in my laboratory the emphasis has been not only in learning our research techniques but also our philosophy. I have never aspired to have, nor do I now want, a laboratory or a cadre of investigators-in-training which is more extensive than I can personally interact with and supervise.

The laboratory since its inception has been supported solely by the Veterans Administration Medical Research Program and I acknowledge with gratitude its confidence in me and its encouragement through the years. My hospital is now affiliated with The Mount Sinai School of Medicine where I hold the title of Distinguished Service Professor. I am a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Honors which I have received include, among others: Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award; A. Cressy Morrison Award in Natural Sciences of the N.Y. Academy of Sciences; Scientific Achievement Award of the American Medical Association; Koch Award of the Endocrine Society; Gairdner Foundation International Award; American College of Physicians Award for distinguished contributions in science as related to medicine; Eli Lilly Award of the American Diabetes Association; First William S. Middleton Medical Research Award of the VA and five honorary doctorates.” From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1977, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1978
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.

Rosalyn Yalow died on 30 May 2011.
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1977
To cite this section
MLA style: Rosalyn Yalow – Biographical. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Wed. 22 Dec 2021. <;
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Being an Orthodox Jew throughout the ages is no simple task. Not compromising ones beliefs can be challenging but with our love and sincerity it is not difficult. The desire to keep ones kesher with the Ribono shel Olam in our hearts, our actions and the wisdom He gives us is strong. Keeping mitzvos, the essence of Torah, Avoda and Gemilus Chasadim is very important. There is no compromising because we do not want to compromise our religion, our emunah, our betachan, our achdus, our faith and our hopes in ourselves for others and for each other. We are grateful to H for being able to succeed, to achieve, to be able to inspire others with all of our hearts, body, soul, to sanctify and to be Mekedeish H. In the Thirteen Principles of Faith the first of the Ani Ma a Ma a mins is read by many throughout the week. This is the English translation from Artscroll Siddur with English translation. “ I believe with faith that is complete that the Creator blessed be His Name He creates and guides, all that were created, and that He alone made, makes and will make everything that is made.” The blessing in the Shemone Esrei Ataw Chonein Leawdawm Daas. “ You graciously endow man((of course women too} with wisdom and teach to a [frail] mortal insight. Endow us graciously from Yourself [with] wisdom, insight and discernment. Blessed are You H gracious giver of wisdom.” ( English translation Artscroll Series Siddur Mesorah Publications, Ltd) (Commentary Artscoll Siddur.[ This blessing begins the middle section of the Shemoneh Esrei, in which man makes his requests of G. The first plea is for wisdom and understanding-because man’s intelligence is his primary characteristic, [the one that sets him apart from animals]. We ask for wisdom and for insight, so that we can draw proper conclusions and achieve intellectual discernment (Vilna Goan).”

May the Ribono shel Olam continue to give us the wisdom, the abilities we need to be successful in life. May we continue to have strong faith and hope. May our achdus keep us all together. May we have simchas hachayim in our lives and continue to inspire others with the spirit we have for H, for each other and for ourselves. May our tefilos, our bakashos, our needs be answered and fulfilled and may we be Mekadeish H and His ambassadors and of Klal Yisrael. Amein.
Thank you. Sincerely , Rabbi Yehuda Blank

I want to thank Ariel Mirozcnik for his tremendous efforts in making my articles happen.